So where's the snow?

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

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The old road to Bundschuh

This was the old road down from the mining area from Schonfeld to the furnace at Bundschuh, and then on towards Thomatal and Ramingstein. There’s also a lost castle there too. Boy, was the river full of melt water loud. There was a lot of damage from the rain and snow last autumn too. It was simply good to get back in the woods and walk by the river.


Ten out of Ten for Ramingstein!

As I’ve blogged before, sometimes we find the lack of information or maps when visiting places in Austria quite frustrating.  Especially in the mining areas where there is so much still to see. Yesterday we took a walk around the hills in our village, where we knew at one point there was a quarry and an old stone crusher. On the way, we found that the signs on this path had finally been renewed and gave loads of information -when we could understand the German.

We stopped at the crusher, knowing there was a table there, to find that not only on the board were more mining details  and a Nordic walking torture exercise board but also they had put up a history of the Marble crusher.  Under the sign was a box with hammers in it and an invitation to go in the old quarry to  hammer and chisel away and make your own sculptures!  So well done Ramingstein for information given, and a wonderful disregard for Health and Safety, allowing common sense and fun instead!

We found a stretch further on where ‘stollen’ and little mines were actually cut into the hillside to remove the ore, just left as it was when they left a hundred years ago but overgrown.  One was vertical into the ground, Dave only just missed putting his foot into it!  Further down the hill is the Silver mine that can be visited, not a trip for claustraphobic me!

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Montan Museum, Turrach

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June 16th

I have to take back some of what I said about the lack of information at Turrach village.  On Saturday we visited the Open day the MontanMuseum and were treated to a guided tour. Having failed to read the advert properly, we were too early but never mind. The guy who took us round was part of the local firebrigade, and knew his stuff.  There is a whole keen band of volunteers who run it and have done all the work. There was also an exhibition of the Predlitz/Turrach Firebrigade and he regaled us with loads of anecdotes on that. The second part of the tour was due to be in the village but he got called away to help with some setting up.  Darn, this was the bit that most interested us, we’ll have to go back again, and get all our questions answered!

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Der Hochofen in Bundschuh

Having wittered on about the lack of information about mining in the area, we had a great afternoon out at the newly restored museum in Bundschuh, just up the hill from us. 

 Enough information and they’ve restored what is possible. 

 I would have like some more maps of the area and pictures of the mines – but maybe they didn’t have cameras in the Lungau then!! So thumbs up for these guys!

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Austria and Advertising and Mining History

Following our trip up to Turracher Hoehe, we stopped in the lower village of Turrach and explored its fascinating buildings. Obviously late 18th, early 19th century and industrial, but no information. We found ovens at the back of the village, and one plaque which said very little.  Also, compare the buildings here to those up the hill! 

Obviously a town built on mining.  The village pub was shut (this was the Whitsun holiday) but loads of traffic was hurtling through the village – mostly bikes.  Yet we did see a Dutch guy taking the same photos as us.   There is a mining museum in the village which no doubt has the info – was it open?  Of course not.  It only opens once a week on a Thursday afternoon ,and it had what appeared a Guest house behind it. What a missed opportunity! Now I must state I’m an ex National Trust and English heritage member, so I’m probably a victim of information overkill but……

We did look at the Website of the Museum but a lot of the information was two years out of date and the photos there had no information with them. How completely stupid.  At the minimum they could have a leaflet about the village and buildings on the council offices with an honesty box.  There’s so much passing trade they miss out on. Don’t these guys want visitors?  Bring trade into an almost ghost village,  In England there’d be an information centre, trails, tours, and open hours.  This is so typical of Styria and Karnten.  Up in the hills are so many mining works, in Schonfeld they’ve even restored miners accommodation, any signs to tell you? Not on your life!

Ramingstein  in contrast has a wonderfully marked way around the old mine workings in the valley and Tamsweg has just opened a way in the woods where witches and a werewolf were burnt -not exactly my choice for an afternoon out but at least they’re trying to inform and encourage people. Of course, the Lungau is an area of gimmicks,silliest of all was the ‘Family friendly council’ lots of signs on posts,  but it means squat – the Mayor isn’t out  welcoming people, ok, there s a playground but you see what I mean.  The Lungau’s  also a Biological park because of the good air and water, but apart from a few signs and stuff on advertising, no one is actually doing anything! Of course, it won’t remain so clean etc when all these visitors turn up in their cars and spread litter! There’s also the neglect, for example  a footpath with sculptures of the planets along it needs restoring but no one is interested.

Come on Austria, get your act together, learn about advertising and marketing and maybe there’ll be more jobs and money in the region and people wont have to leave to work elsewhere.

Postscript:  We visited the newly rennovated mining museum in Bundschuh (Salzburg of course), and were talking about Turrach to the Guide.  He said the difference is that Bundschuh has a Verein or club, and they have organised the rennovation and preservation of the mining artifacts around Ramingstein. (Not quite up to UK standards but brilliant nevertheless).  Turrach is owned by the Schwarzenburg family who have no interest in promoting anything which is why nothing is done.  Funny, I thought most people liked a chance to make some money!