So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Getting ready!

One of first reactions on deciding to sell the flat was to look at it with fresh eyes. There then followed a couple of weeks of re-painting, cleaning, packing up some of the DVDs and books that dominate the place. Trouble is now we like it all the more, but feel someone is just waiting to come and love this place too.

The only problem is that when there’s nothing on the TV, we can’t get the DVDs out to watch!!!!!


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I’m so excited!

WOW! I’m the featured author in this month’s edition of Mom’s favorite reads, look at page 100!!!

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A Good Rotter!

IMG_0300Last Sunday saw the five yearly election of new Mayors in Salzburg and a count of party popularity.  We were here for the last one and on visits from local candidates received honey, a cookery book, firelighters and so on. So I was only joking this year when I said, would we get another free breakfast – and we did delivered on the Sunday before the election!

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Wot the other lot brought!

This time we took a little more interest, having met the Mayor and found him a good bloke.  His was the party that brought the free brekky. (Not getting into names here). He even came round for a chat this time – maybe becasue we are now going to be invlolved with Meals On Wheels in the village  – or he knew he was running into trouble!!!!!  We got a free bottle of wine – labelled with a ‘Guter Roter’ which  I translated for this title , well I thought it funny!

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So no bribery and corruption here, and not every village did freebies!  He had our vote, he has been Mayor for at least ten years, and we thought had done a good job. The other parties had nothing else to offer except to take over the policies and projects he has instigated. So it was a shock when he was narrowly beaten!  It seems that when there was all the argument in the village over a proposed Kraftwerk (power station) people weren’t too happy with how he dealt with it, and this swung the vote. It was academic because in the National elections, a new party against it came in and the idea was dropped. So a new broom. Will the new guy be so happy with us foreigners getting involved in Village life?


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Shönfeld – the death of a ski resort?

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View towards Innerkrems, the Mehrl hut in the middle of the ldanscape

Shönfeld, although not in the Lungau is one of our favourite places to walk and fall over on the skis. We discovered it in our very first year and love the high meadows and the gentle hills of the Nockberge range.

P1200528 (2)Maybe its the isolation that’s  the charm, it takes a good three quarters of an hour drive up a beautiful wibblywobbly road past the mining museum.

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Enough romanticising!  The first blow was when one of the hotels closed when the owner had cancer,it was a shame as you got really fresh trout there, despatched at order from the pond!

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First closed hotel on the left, Joseph Mehrl hut on right

A couple of years later, the river which runs down to the next resort of Innerkrems  was greatly damaged by flood water, causing landslides which undermined the road, even now no repairs have taken place as the county of Carinthia is bust – I presume!  But it means only cars can access it, which blocks off a certain amount of important through traffic, but not the bikes and cars that use the scenic Nockalmstrasse.

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All was ok though, as the big hotel which took large school parties was doing well and two lifts were opened. There seemed to be expansion.  The couple who ran the hotel were obviously close to retirement and then we saw in the paper that it had been bought and a couple were going to do it up.

P1170075 (2)When it shut for the first season maybe it wasn’t a problem. But its now the second season and its shut still. Result the lifts are now closed. The carpark isn’t cleared, when we were there at the weekend everyone was parking along the road. Great if you are a ski tourer and they still put the Langlauf loipe in, the Kassa was shut, there was only an honesty box.

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The little restaurant by the kassa is now shut too. Only the Jospeh Mehrl hut was open and they seemed snowed under by the trade – that’s not good in itself if they cant cope with demand but it was the last weekend of half term, beautiful weather and people hurtling down on the powder. It seemed the hut itself is running  the Loipe.

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Hotel Shönfeld now closed on the middle

So what will be the future? The Hotel will gradually deteriorate, it must have lost all it’s good will which justified its price of 1,000,000 euros, so someone could snap it up. The holiday houses may still be lettable. The Mehrl hut will always have plenty pf trade and has accommodation. Maybe it’ll just turn into a little lost part of Austria, a little secret. To my mind this is maybe better than being exploited and turned into a big resort,with ugly big lift housings that scar the landscape. The business as it was sat happily on it, that was enough.  I think local people hold the area in their hearts, so maybe we’ll hug it to ourselves, it’s not such a tragedy!

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The siren

Not an alien on the roof!

Every Saturday at Midday,the siren on our roof goes off in one long blast, and it’s quite deafening.  It always makes me think of film ‘The Time Machine, when the Morlocks call their victims in.  I suppose it was installed during the war years as an Air raid siren, but has remained.  When we asked Tony why it still goes, he says that although the Fire and Police service have bleepers, often there is no reception in parts of the mountains, or if he leaves the bleeper in the kitchen and where there is a siren in every village, very few areas don’t hear it.  It’s then a rush to the Fire station etc to man the wagons.

In October, there is a testing day.  Besides the normal, we get three blasts with a small pause which is calling, Fire and Police and maybe the Mountain Rescue. A long extended one means somethings really up and you need to put your tv on and find out what the national disaster is. 

It doesn’t go off that often.  We like it when we have visitors and don’t tell them and see how they react and of course the joke never palls of asking someone the time as it goes off on Saturday.  It even once went off just after we’d told some friends all about it and they weren’t really believing us.  If we don’t know what the call out was for, we can always go to the Pub on Sunday and ask Tony.  One occasion it was that someone hadn’t gone home from the pub and a search was initiated – he was found in a ditch!  Last night it went off twice in five minutes which we’ve never heard in five years, we are now wondering if no one turned up to the first one………..


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Stripey paint

What a job, going around Austria with a tin of stripey paint!

This was originally written abotu a year after we moved here, but I think it still applies, with more I’m thinking of!

Things I love about Austria and the Lungau

*Walking in the mountains following footways marked in red and white stripey paint

* Driving into Tamsweg in the early morning in winter and seeing the moutains literally pink in the sunrise

*Eating Kasierschmarrn in mountain huts

*The fields full of dandelions in May, covering the whole valley in shades of yellow

*Burg Fintsergruen, although working there was a little stessfull at times last year, the old place has got a bit of my heart – maybe because I see it out of the kitchen window everyday.

*Seeing farmers going to do their shopping on their tractors with a crate of beer in the lifter behind

* Spring flowers in the mountains and the smell of the meadow flowers below our flat

*Cows going to the Alms in spring

What I don’t like

*Smoky restaurants and Pubs

*Ice