Snowy Salzkammergut winter, and I wanted to try another approach to Hallstatt. This time, over the Sarstein.
Hallstatt is usually visited quickly, coming by bus or by train and the boat across the lake. I decided to go slow, measure my approach in steps climbed and descended, following part of the BergeSeen Trail over the slope of the Dachstein. Overnight.
Feeding people during the Lent fasting season may be strange, showing love as well… but traditions are kept alive even as they change and adapt their original intentions.
One such tradition is the Liebstatt Sunday in Gmunden, a pretty little tradition now all around loving – and often, somewhat cheeky – gingerbread hearts.
If you want a big expedition, this wouldn’t be for you.
Microadventures are finally gaining in popularity, though, and if you just want to see if you can make it up a mountain, as fast or leisurely as you wish, then this may be an ideal trail for you.
If you want or need to go extra-leisurely, there’s even a cable car going up there (or down from there, if the downhill would make your knees suffer too much).
Sure, it is almost too easy a trail to describe it.
Except for a few turns, especially at the very beginning, still in the town of Ebensee, this trail just goes up to the Feuerkogel in one pretty continuous climb.
When you’ve reached the top of that mountain, where the cable car goes, you could still go on into (and even across) the Höllengebirge, but are more likely to just turn right back around. Perhaps after a little time in one of the huts up there offering food and drinks…
So, if this is your microadventure, it is very micro.
It is a very pretty little tour, or a nice mountain running session, all the same.
Perfect for me now, on my training path to the Stelvio Marathon.
It is also a trail with easier chances for rests and no problems turning around, with enough roots and rocks to demand attention but no serious climbs that present chances for bad falls.
Perfect for beginners and people you want to show around a bit, but don’t know the experience and fitness level of.
This is exactly why I went here once again last weekend, with a fan who’d taken me up on my offer to get in touch and see if we could do something together.
If you’re wondering why I’m calling this tour “From Traunsee Beach…”: Well, this is where we also went, before our train back came:
Traditions often seem quaint; the past, a bygone.
All that is all the worse when they are traditions where one grew up, but not traditions one grew up with. After all, often enough, we give up on traditions even – or all the more – when we grew up with them.
In a foreign country and culture, there is a chance that we will find them exotic enough to be interested in them, at least. (See “Chinese Family Affairs“)
When they are just a remnant of “our own” history, however, it takes something more to make us want to experience and feel that we can enjoy them.
Last year, I’d already noticed that there would be a steam train into the Salzkammergut, playing on the motif of the Kaiser’s summer visits there, one day in summer.
Old-fashioned, but at least in an interestingly quaint way.
This year, it was running again.
It was also for a special occasion, as 2016 marks the centennial of Kaiser Franz Joseph’s death – and he was just that Kaiser who used to visit Bad Ischl in the Salzkammergut for the summers, on just such a train.
It was also a bit of a gamble, as this year’s journey would take place just the day after our return flight from China, when chances were we might be afflicted by jet lag… but it also seemed just the right time for something like this, to mark our return to Austria with something playing on a return to Austria’s past.
Given we’d come back to Austria on an A380 (and in business class), it all even made for a great contrast of how things had changed in terms of technology, just (just, huh?) within the last 100 years…
The passion for exploratory living does, admittedly, profit handsomely from some studies in contrast.
My personal practice for that (as you, my dear readers, may have noticed ;) ) are trips to the Traunsee in the Salzkammergut, Upper Austria.
Gingerbread in Lent?
May seem strange, but in the Salzkammergut, for Laetare, the fourth Sunday of Lent, it’s the tradition. On that day, the so-called Liebstattsonntag, good Christians originally had received permission to “show their love” for their brethren by feeding the poor, a custom that later changed into the exchange of gingerbread hearts as show of thanks for loved ones.
Normally, as you may notice, I rather like to write philosophically (and, I hope, practically) and very nearly wax lyrically, but a part of making oneself at home is getting to know places one lives – and a part of these places, for me, is the area around the Traunsee lake where this festival is celebrated.
So, I invite you to have a look around, too.