Dear Readers, I wonder if you would like to come on holiday with me? Today I am off to Obergurgl in the Austrian Tyrol, a place I’ve been visiting since the 1990’s. It’s the highest parish in Austria, at 6,330 feet above sea level, and every year we spend a day or two feeling slightly breathless and light-headed as we acclimatise. Half a dozen valleys spread out from here, and the flora and fauna are spectacular.
It’s so high up the weather can be very unpredictable – it started to snow shortly after I took the photo of the marmots. On the other hand, you can be sunburned very quickly with the high UV light. You never know what you’re going to get, so you need to pack for everything from blizzards to heatwaves. And the three real essentials are some good books, some knitting and the travel scrabble, because this is not a place with a lively night-scene. For that, you can head down to the strip clubs of Solden if you don’t mind walking eleven miles 🙂
The locals are mostly friendly…
Sadly, the village feels to me as if it is gradually closing down as a summer destination. In winter, it’s a popular ski resort and this is the time when the family-run hotels make most of their money. As the proprietor of our favourite hotel told us, during ski-season people will drink a couple of bottles of wine per table at dinnertime, but in the summer it’s a glass of beer and an early night. The hotel that we usually stay at is closed this year, and so is the biggest hotel, the Edelweiss. After all, who would want to work all year round if they could make enough money in six months? So, this year could be our last visit to this enchanted place. I would love to share it with you over the next few weeks, so that you can see why it means so much to me. I will try to make the Wednesday Weed a plant that it’s possible to see in the UK (even if not in East Finchley) but I also want to show you what makes this place so unique.
Of course, if there are technical difficulties when I get to Austria you might have to wait for the photos when I get back :-). I’ve been promised WiFi at the hotel, but who can say what will actually be available? This is the mountains, after all.
Normal East Finchley service will be resumed with the Wednesday Weed on Wednesday July 22nd.