Tirolean Summer 8 July – 19 August, 2012
Being that this is the third tour that I have guided throughout the Stubaital Valley in Austria, one would think that I have seen it all. Truth be told, there is always something new to discover!
High level panoramic views, peaks, some scrambling, exposure, wires, big ascents and descents, Alpine meadows, glaciers and moraines, mountain lakes, cascades, waterfalls and ever rushing streams, remote valleys, Alpine sheep, goats and cows, cowbells and higher up marmots, Chamoix, red deer and higher still ibex, and unspoilt valleys can all be found. Phew!
There are long days walking but in Austria the comfort of the walker is always mediated by the network of mountain alms and huts. When luck strikes, you can find wonderful locations that are extremely welcoming and you may stumble across farms that originally only provided spare milk, cheese and limited refreshments, but now (supply chain permitting) have a wide range of food and drinks… there are ample apple strudel opportunities!
What else is there to see? Alpine flora galore! You may see edelweiss, gentians, vanilla orchids, and tiny saxifrages pushing through the highest, most inhospitable rocks. As the summer progresses, you will begin to see fungi, and a variety of wild berries including blueberries and cranberries. In addition, in the village there are folk evenings, brass band concerts, and an annual go kart race.
So here we are in August, sad to leave. Three groups have come and gone with 65 people in all. We are thrilled to say that five people came back to do the holiday a second time and we’ve had several emails from people who want to come back next year….some of the Stubai magic must have rubbed off on them!
Memorable experiences for us including being sung to by a group of incessant happy chatterers called “the Mutterers”, we’ve been sketched and endlessly teased. I’ve acquired a pink stone to give me vitality and a yodelling marmot to befriend.
We’ve wrestled with the weather (on the whole changeable this year with temperatures more in the 20s than in the 30s), recorded the walks with a GPS, filled the buses and the trams, ridden in many gondolas, eaten wonderful meals and put away a few beers: and Paul wrestled with goats, but you’ll have to get that story from him.
We’ve made many new friends, our legs may be a little weary and our faces are chestnut brown, we’ve shed a few stone between us, two more pairs of boots have been worn down, and there’s just that other recci to complete before we can have a few days holiday by the Mosel and head back home to see much missed family, the crossword and whatever’s waiting for us at home.
We’ve also been asked endless questions such as: “Just how many kilometres are we doing?” “How long will it take?” “Exactly how steep is that slope?” “How many metres ascent is that?” “What’s that in feet?” “What about the terrain?” “Just how big is this scree and how slippery is the marble?”
Surprisingly enough, all of these questions can be answered in five simple words: come with us and see!
So farewell wunderschönenes Stubaital (wonderful Stubaital), all our 2012 walkers and your never ending enthusiasm, Elisabeth and Hubert and the hotel staff, the huts and alms, the peaks and the glaciers, the beer and the schnapps, the taxi driver Annemarie and Bruce her Chihuahua, Monica in the tourist office, our friends in the valley and the Offer family.
Thanks to all you walkers, who came out here and gave us a chance to share it with you. I think we’ll just have one more seat on the terrace soaking up the views and then we’d better start packing and get marmot ready for the recci, perhaps I should take the pink vitality stone with me too. And thanks of course to RWWH for letting us lead out here.
We love it all!
Serles from Pfarachalm
Ambling through Pinnistal