Into the Tyrol
Carrying on southwards from our last stop in Bavaria, the autobahn takes us across the border into Austria and the Tyrol region. Growing up, I had a very strong association with the Tyrol (and Bavaria for that matter) from my grandparents strong ties to this region. They brought to Canada with them this Alpen identity, a deep love of the outdoors, gardening and enjoying the splendors of nature. My grandmother’s (and great-grandmother’s) recipe book was filled to the brim with delicious foods from the region, and we were always lucky to enjoy her cooking and baking when visiting them in North Van, while we still lived in Calgary. Seeing these Alps and valleys, with farms perched atop the meadows way up high and the familiar comforts of the cozy architecture and warm people, filled my heart.
We drove south into the Ötztal valley, where the famous Ötzi iceman mummy was discovered, and made it to Längenfeld for the evening. Along the way, we encountered a completely magical forest — the greens were so rich even my rainforest-tuned eyeballs went overboard taking in these new hues. The meeting of the valleys reminded me of the Similkameen in BC — steep mountains cascading down to the fertile lands below, the rich soil nurturing food for the community and beyond. Clouds stuck to the peaks, occasionally opening up to water the fields of wildflowers. Sunlight dappled a mountain top, then went into hiding again only to return moments later down the valley.
We ate at a traditional Tyrol restaurant – Cafe-Restaurant Alt-Längenfeld – in Längenfeld, a place that resembled a ski lodge and family room combined. The food was excellent and of course the beer was still mighty fine across the mountain pass. Austria has a few nice radlers to try as well, including the Almradler featuring a tandem bicycle couple on the can. From there it was a must to relax in the thermal pools of Aqua Dome before retiring for the night. With the hiking and history of this valley, it’s a place one could stay for a week or more. Very relaxing, incredibly beautiful and during the shoulder season anyways a peaceful spot to rest.
Tyrol, Austria, 2014.
(click the first image to view all large – recommended!)