I suddenly find myself with a lot to say about the Lungau. To us, such a special place and I want to tell people about it so they visit here, but no more in-comers please, we’ve already got 4 English couples in this parish, although only we’re here full-time. I have a thing against holiday homes, it’s happened so often that they turn villages into ghost towns, ruining the place for the locals. There are a few here, Salzburgers, Italian and Dutch. The village of Thomotal is such an example, no shop any more, one guest house and the school. So I believe if you want to have a house in another country, go and live there, integrate, joining in, assimilate, don’t bleed the place dry. Some councils have even sold land here with a prohibition on non locals buying to build or selling on, good thing too!
Each area has its identity, Edith tells me the people in Mariapfarr are very proud and one up -manship, while Ramingsteiners are more laid back. nevertheless, everyone is linked family wise, if you know one person, you no doubt will know their Aunt or Nephew too. People are always telling me who is related to who and so on. They’s all part of big village clans, such as Lankmeyers, Mosers and Paggitiches. One might say they are a tad inbred , I’m told it used to be a major prize to find a wife out of the Lungau!
Some things strike me, and of course, I can’t say if these things are particular to here or over all Austria. Here there are many small, one man businesses apparently making a living. There’s been a boom here in building after the financial crisis, people now rather than saving building a new house or putting the new roof on. However, most young uns leave here to work in the bigger cities as there isn’t a huge amount of work, unless you’re in the tourist industry. In winter the number of foreign workers are capped so that there isn’t an influx. Yet saying that, the Hotels in Obertauern are filled with workers from Eastern Europe…..
In Ramingstein there are a lot of empty derelict properties which are just being allowed to decay, often as a newer,warmer house has been built. I understand that sometimes no one knows anymore who even owns them if you are interested in buying. As I said, hence the influx of foreigners buying these places and doing them up, none of the locals want these places. So a bit of a catch 22 really. Some places do get bulldozed eventually and so of course there goes a bit of Lungau history!
However, there is a great sense of pride in property as seen in the flower filled balconies in the summer, which in winter are often filled with dried flowers. I’ve wondered why there isn’t a best kept village competition here!