Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Walk in the Woods - Austrian Style

By Claire
We woke to some blue sky and the promise of maybe a hike. Sadly, Lianne and Kees were getting ready to depart and they came over with a thermos of coffee to share and to say goodbye. This is the hard part of meeting new friends. It seems so empty now that their spot is vacant. They are such wonderful, genuine people and we already miss them.


Morning view

They had us over for a caravan-cooked meal last night. I am so impressed with Lianne. She is organized and so on top of things. She sauteed turkey and vegetables, made a salad and baked some potato pancakes. We finished off with Tiramisu. No, she didn't make that from scratch; but it sure tasted like it.

After they left, we walked to the little town of St. Martin bei Lofer across the road from our campground then worked our way up the mountain to Maria Kirchenthal, a 16th century church nestled in a very tiny village. This is a picture of it from 1949.

It was a fairly steep ascent but the beauty along the way made it all worth it. We followed a babbling brook, saw wild flowers, and new growth. Spring is really performing before our eyes.

The trail begins

Aghast, we found some litter: A beer can left beside the trail!

There are benches strategically placed with magnificent views. This is of the village below. Our campground is out of sight to the left.

St. Martin bei Lofer

After climbing 246 meters (807 feet), we found the church. A service was just ending and people were spilling out, many dressed in traditional Austrian formal wear, while the organ music swelled.

We waited for the church to empty then walked in and sat down to listen to the music. It is a beautiful, simple church with a long history. Unfortunately, we could not read any of the sign posts with information along the trail--everything was in German. In fact, everything in this area is only in German. It's been a challenge but I think it means there are not a lot of English-speaking tourists. This seems to be a place where Austrians come and quite a few Dutch. We have a contingent here in the campground and we see the Dutch license plates often.

Maria Kirchenthal

House in the village

The Village

Coming down, we took a different trail leading to the village of Lofer where we could stop at one of the supermarkets. It was equally gorgeous and that color green that is so new and fresh. The air is pristine and life is so good.

Trail down to Lofer

Along the path

Trail leading back to campground

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast. ~ Paul Scott Mowrer, The House of Europe


Carol said...

I love the mountaina and how green it is! Since, I'm a salad person, your description of the salad was mouth watering, and I loved the beautiful MGA car from your previous post. I can see why the lawyer was loathe to part with it. Happy Mother's Day Claire :)

Karin said...

What a WONDERFUL day you had! I do believe, you even found a moment of "falling more in love"! Ha, ha. Loved that shot and the BIG smile on Chuck's face! The scenery is to die are in wonderland....I think you should just "stay" there forever! I certainly appeals to me. I so envy you your walk in the the church.

Karin on Paros, now wanting to be in Austria!

Chuck and Claire said...

Austria has definitely moved up into second position as favorite country (just behind Turkey). What a lovely place to be. Come to Austria and stay in Karel and Lennie's apartment!