Obergurgl Day Five – Around the Village

Edelweiss, but not as we know it….

Dear Readers, my cold is starting to improve but the weather today has been pretty appalling (though things are meant to brighten up from tomorrow). Still, there was a brief window this morning, so we popped out to have a look around the meadows and the village to see what’s new.

First up, the Edelweiss and Gurgl hotel, the oldest and arguably the most prestigious hotel in Obergurgl, has built some raised beds containing, well, Edelweiss. This is an extremely difficult flower to find around here, even on the high mountain slopes: there is said to be one location in the Gaisbergtal on some of the steep, inaccessible areas, which is just as well as it is a rare and protected plant. These days they are also cultivated for displays such as the one at the hotel. I always think that they look slightly strange and out of place if not nestled in a granite cleft, but as most people will never see one, it is at least nice to see what they look like up close.

The Edelweiss and Gurgl’s new rock garden.

The church of St John Nepomuk was consecrated in 1737 – last time we were here one of the cranes that was building the new ‘town hall’ had accidentally damaged the spire. But who was John of Nepomuk? He was a Bohemian priest who was drowned in the river Vltava on the orders of  King Wenceslas IV (presumably not the one from the Christmas carol). Apparently John Nepomuk refused to betray the confessions of the queen, which angered Wenceslas as he believed that the queen had taken a lover. St John Nepomuk is therefore designated as the patron saint protecting against false accusation and, because of the manner of his death, against floods and drowning.

The Church of St John Nepomuk

In the centre of the village is the statue of Martinus Scheiber, who built the Edelweiss and Gurgl hotel and the Ramolhaus, a famous mountain hut perched like an eagle’s nest above the glacier – he was clearly pioneer, and many of his descendants are still actively involved in tourism today. Now that the building work in the village is largely finished he is now clearly pointing towards the Ramolhaus, rather than towards a building site as he has been on previous visits.

It’s nice to see that the Tyrolean grey cattle are still kept in the village too – every morning they leave their shed to graze on the meadows, and every evening they wander back to be milked. There are pictures of the awards that the cattle have won at shows in the noticeboard outside the shed.

The cow shed

It’s easy to forget how many options for walks there are in the valley. Here is just a selection…

…and some young people were heading off for the Klettergarten, which is a series of bridges and via ferrata for assisted climbing. I admire their courage, but it’s not for me!

The meadows were looking particularly fine after the rain…

Meadow with lupins!

Damp catsear…

…and one of my favourite thistles, the Spiniest Thistle (Cirsium spinosissimum) is just coming into flower. It is most unprepossessing close up, but with the sun behind it it looks rather splendid.

Spiniest thistle (Cirsium spinosissimum)

And finally, there are a few new additions on the hotel front. There seems to be some kind of outdoor pool behind the new Grünerhof hotel, but I’m not sure if it’s for wild swimming or for plunging into after a sauna. It’s also difficult to estimate the size. I shall have to take a cheeky detour one evening to see what’s going on.

And I am very impressed with the paintings on the front of the Grünerhof too. The Grüners are another major family in Obergurgl, and I think this hotel might give the Edelweiss a run for its money!

Finally, we stop for (yet another) coffee, and I’m pleased to see that the bus drivers are doing the same. Here’s to drier weather, the passing of my cold and some more exciting walks from tomorrow.


8 thoughts on “Obergurgl Day Five – Around the Village

  1. Charlie Bowman

    It’s now nine years since I was last in Obergurgl, so these posts bring back a lot of memories. I know what a challenge it can be to find something to do on a rainy day! I didn’t know a new hotel had been constructed, although the first hotel I stayed in, the Deutschmann next to I think the Festkogel lift, was demolished and rebuilt. Time flies, but I’ll be back one day. All the best.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      They seem to be really struggling here, Charlie – there have been a maximum of 4 guests in our hotel, and others don’t seem much better. They are worried about climate change as they depend so much on the winter season. Hopefully things will pick up, and at least the endless building work has stopped, I’m sure that would have put a lot of people off in the summer.

      1. Charlie Bowman

        Today I looked at the Hohe Mut webcam and was shocked by how far the glacier has retreated.
        I remember the E & G, Jenewein, Bellevue, Alpenland, Austria, Alpenaussicht, Lohmann, Josl, and Wisental being open in the summer, but perhaps there are not enough UK-based guests for all those to open? I am sure once the Italian influx begins later this month into August then business will pick up, but I would find it rather disconcerting to be one of only four guests in your hotel.

      2. Bug Woman Post author

        The only hotels open in summer this year are the Olympia, the Alpina (just next door and mega-posh), the Alpenland/Bellevue/Austria, and the Edelweiss and Gurgl – the Wiesental is having some work done, the Jenewein isn’t open. Actually the Lohmann is open, and seems very popular with families – we’ve had dinner there a few times. At the moment (until Thursday) we are the only guests at the Olympia, but we’ve known them for years so it works ok.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      There is a national walking route from one end of the valley to the other, but I think the 12 denotes the end of one of the tougher ski routes ..

      1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

        Looks like a nice route, though, as it’s out and back, I would be inclined (excuse the pun) to just walk up the valley (picking the more interesting side of the valley, if there is one). Also, having seen your photos from this week and I know that our old valley used to get a lot of thunderstorms in August, would September be a better time to go to catch more sunshine days?

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