So where's the snow?

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

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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We did look at the Website of the Museum but a lot of the information was two years out of date and the photos there had no information with them.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!



Weekly Photo challenge: Summer

I’ve already done one challenge on summer in;

so now I’ve had to think a bit.  I’ve found five photos, to me iconic for our five summers in Austria


As we began to explore the Lungau, we made our first trip up Grosseck Speireck near Mauterndorf in a Gondola, and found horses at the top


My dream job, teaching riding at a Hotel with a riding school in St Michael.  Me, six Haflingers and loads of kids, I had a ball!


Before Lois’ s riding accident, and seven day a week working, a trip to Prangsten in Zederhaus, I think I’ve talked about it in another blog!


Working at Burg Finstergruen, I sneaked my camera in while on duty!!!


When Edith and I won the Tu Was award, we worked with Asylum seekers with Equine Assisted learning, despite the language barrier, we had fun!


The river Mur

Before - picture swiped from

 The local power company, Salzburg AG wants to install a power station on the river that flows past our house, the Mur.  The river has already near its source near Zederhaus, two stations.  A gravity one with turbines and  a power station with a reservoir.  Further down the valley, near Murau there is another power station right across the river with turbines, so I guess there is a precedent.


The river begins in the Lungau and is the second biggest river in Austria, and runs through Graz and then into Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary then into the Danube and the Black sea.  In Austria there runs a 365km bike path alongside and locally much is made of the main Lungau river and its beauty and natural ness and so on and so forth. This year, Lungau becomes what I roughly translate a Biological Park because of its pure water, air and land…..

The Mur runs past our house with a waterfall on a bend and in the summer we hear the screams of white water rafters as they go down.  Earlier, there was a small water power station here for the large paper factory, which now makes wood and concrete building blocks.  It consisted of an open leat which then went into a pipe just where the Thomotalerbach river joins it.  Kids used to swim in it despite the danger, but now you can just see the footings of it, since the road has been widened. When it was built, the paper factory was innovative in that it offered its workers accommodation,  childcare and support.  Our house in one of the two accommodation blocks built in the 1930s.

So maybe there is a case for another power station. They want to build this at Kendlbruck at near us, piping the water through the hill from Tamsweg, using turbines I suppose. The local upcry is huge and the meeting in Ramingstein  made the ORF news last week. It seems most of the politicians are against it to.

Now, I’ve never wanted to be a NIMBY, but when Linda came round with a petition, Dave and I realised we needed to decide. I’ve always felt the water power here could be used more, but they don’t seem to think of small units powering a few houses or a village but these big ones which do have an effect on the environment.  Maybe the small ones aren’t cost-effective but there are abandoned old mills all through this valley.

As  you know, I spend too much time looking out my window at the Mur, and even I can see that most of the year, the river (except when flooding, or with snow melt), runs at a lower level than earlier, because of the patterns in the stones and on the banks. Maybe its climate change (No, I’m not getting into all that stuff) or possibly  further up the reservoir takes out too much, maybe this should be addressed.  If they take water out here to fill the tunnel, even I can see that the river level will drop considerably, with effects all the way down the length – what will they do at the power station at Murau?

So in the light of this and we think that it should be small mills that just divert the water, Dave and I have signed the partition. On travelling to Keep fat last night, I suddenly felt if I had said I was for the station, I would have been chucked out the car and told to walk, local feelings are running high!

For those who can read German