So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog


Weekly Photo Challenge;Purple

This one had me thinking,  I’ve got flowers to do on the Travel Challenge by Ailsa, so they’re ruled out, so here goes!

Ok, so it’s not entirely purple.  This is a pattern you see on a lot of the highly decorated houses in the Lungau, this is in Mauterndorf

Its called the Running dog, I’ve tried to do it myself but made a real mess of it.  It’s also on the Getreide Kasten which I’ve already blogged about. This one is at the Freilicht Museum Salzburg (Open air museum)  and is supposed to date to the 17th century. 

Some painters travelling from Rome to Salzburg paid their way by painting, maybe not a direct route and you’d expect it to me more widespread, but maybe they ran out of money in Lungau……….

More detail

However, I’ve seen this on Roman mosaics in Time Team, so reckon it dates far further back, we have at least one villa here and loads of Roman bits left lying around!  When you live in monochrome for up to five months of the year you can understand why people love to paint their houses!

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Birds – Swallows passing through

Had real trouble getting this in focus, I suppose I really ought to put the glasses on!

We’ve just enjoyed another Bank Holiday and have Whitsun to come. Such a shame I was lame with my bad foot, we could have had a walk in the mountains, still it’s getting better.  Yet if we had, I’d have missed these Swallows passing through.  They really did look  a bit tired and manky.

It reminded me of when I worked at  the Fortune Centre of Riding therapy – maybe these guys were on their way there.  They would nest in the stables and you’d have to duck as the feeding parents would hurtle in and out through the stable doors.  I even got a disruptive student interested in counting the nests and babies.  Once the fledglings were out, they would rest on the lights in the stables, waiting to be fed, we would then have several weeks of the horses having white spotted backs.  Quiet early evenings would have the yard filled with swooping birds and then with regret we’d watch them sitting on the electricity lines to fly home in the autumn.

However, my most enduring memory is of one early summer morning when I rode my horse Monty out and across onto what in the New Forest is called a green – an open area of grass, free from other vegetation.  As we cantered, the Swallows came and flew around and through Monty’s legs, catching the insects as they rose.  Monty of course took absolutely not notice, it was wonderful!

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Yes, you’ve guessed it, a Troadkasten!

My apologies if this is misspelt!  They’re also know as Getriedkasten, maybe Troad  is Lungauerish! A poor region, with many house fires in history.  Lessach was burnt down and bits of Tamsweg  too – open fires I suppose!  The poverty meant that all food was needed.  So a remedy was sought.  They built a small house near the main building to keep food safe.  At first built from wood, people would drill into them and nick the grain inside.  So late ones were built of  stone.  They’re still here and I think are particular to this region.  Some are beautifully decorated, some falling down.  often with the local motif called the running dog – which I think is Roman, they brighten up the area.  There is a tale that the decoration came from a group of artists travelling from Rome to Salzburg who painted their wy there.  I don’t know for sure! Another bit of unique Lungau.

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Wrong information!

Still plenty of ice about!

We were travelling around the Lungau on Easter Saturday admiring the different designs of the fires that were being built around the valley.  I think this year is the first when it has rained on the day.  One was done in a complicated twirl, another looked quite lopsided.  Then someone asked me about what I had said in a blog about the children coming around with the rattles being a way of warding off evil spirits.  So I checked up and in the book of Lungau Traditions, I stand corrected. The bells in the catholic church during the sad time from Thursday evening to Sunday morning, are turned off.  The bells fly to Rome (!), and so the rattles were to tell people the time!  So who fed me the false information, or was I privvy to some Lungau secret – is this how customs or  folklore start??????

You’d have also thought that we’d learnt about shopping here.  On impulse on Saturday we went to buy some outdoor carpet for our porch, at one of the biggest home furnishing shops. We wondered why we were served in such a hurry, only to hear an announcement that the shop was shutting at One o’clock for the holiday – how have we managed not to find this out in over five years -duh!!!!!!!!

PS.  I’ve just had the spirit thing confirmed by someone else, so its both!

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The Lungau Easter fire

 I thought it good to re-blog this as a  follow on to Lungau in Spring!
Easter will start on Good Friday morning with the kids coming round with rackets, like the old football ones, saying a prayer and driving evil spirits away – another example of Catholicsm meets the old religions!   Of course the kids also then get sweets and stuff!  There is only a bank holiday here on Friday if you are Protestant!  Then Saturday night, all around the Lungau are these great fires – see picture above. It symbolises Christ rising to heaven.  There are more here then other parts of Austria apparently because Napoleon was on his way here, saw the fires and presumed they were parked troops and so went around the Lungau.   The car is parked at the foot apparently to stop people coming and burning it too early!
There is a Church service before the fire and a flame (apparently directly from Rome) is carried in procession to light the fire.  Or if you don’t go to the service, churches have a brazier outside from which you can light your own fire.  Bonfires are banned here, unless you are a farmer, so a lot of junk gets stuffed in these fires, and if there is little wind, the Lungau lies under a pall of smoke the next day, and the green party has another hissy fit.   Then on Sunday, there is a church service where people are given gifts of food such as butter and cheese but I’ve not got to the bottom of this one! Again, more paganism, very few chocolate  Easter eggs here, its all Easter rabbits. Houses are decorated with branches of pussy willow and hung with fake eggs beautifully decorated. People eat boiled eggs with shells coloured with dye – maybe another reason why the air isn’t so fresh here at Easter!!!