Dave and I decided to take a beak away for our wedding anniversary -29 years on the 29th of May. We actually havent had an ‘us’ weekend for ages, when we’ve been away its been to weddings or Christmas and so on. Everytime we drive to Salzburg Airport we see the signs for the Open Air Musem and I say I’d love to go, so we did at last! We drove to a small town called Grossmain on the German border, having picked at random a Hotel from a guide book.
It was lovely, we feasted in the restaurant – I had what later turned out to be cat fish, but which was nevertheless really tasty. Then we slept so well and went down for an early breakfast. It was the best I’ve ever had in a Hotel, all the usual cereal plus freshly made fruit salad, a huge selection of bread and to my joy, smoked salmon. I feasted and Dave had sausage and bacon which was nearly as good as English!
In a lovely, sunny morning, we drove to the Museum and even before we went in, the camera was in overdrive. We went in every building and it took us five hours and it was exhausting. The farmhouses were from all the ‘Gaus’ in Salzburg,Lungau, Flachgau (the largest where Salzburg is situated), Pinzgau, Pongau and Tennengau. They were all of a similarity but localised differences. Of course we were most interested in Lungau, but almost felt we could see better examples by just driving around. We were surprised to see in the main farmhouse garden rows and rows of broad beans which we thought wouldn’t grow here. There was a special Lungau exhibition and it really brought home o me about the poverty and individuality of the Lungau. Only 15% was farmable and in the 1900s, the climate was so cold that often spring was so late that often crops didnt have time to mature before the snow came. There were large extended families, often with couples and children all living in one bedroom, a huge network of uncles, aunts and couples. There were a lot of indentured servants, who had a high rate of illegitimate children who were farmed out, and farmers often didn’t marry until their 30s as they couldn’t afford it. Oh and so much more! A bit sickening was about the ‘Sauschnieder’ who travelled around castrating sows without anaesthetic (and boars too presumably) because castrated animals are easier to look after – I would have thought the sows were for breeding. Different culture, different times.
I felt an over all sense of sadness on the place. The busy working lives of the buildings is over, they are shells of hardworking busy lives. No fires, no animals making noise and smell (!) no working of machinery. It was just too quiet. The farmhouses were furnished – kitchens and bedrooms, people seemed to have few possessions. What it needs is a working farm or enactment group to bring it to life. I imagine the buildings were those left empty after a death or a new farm was built. One mill was there because it was in the way of the motorway.
A wonderful experience, if I went again, I’d be more selective of what I see, and take less photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!