Top times in ter­rific Tirol

Gemma Ful­lam

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - PLACES -

WHEN I was six, my par­ents went on a Euro­pean jaunt. Two tra­di­tional Aus­trian dresses were among the booty brought home: my dirndl was pink; my sis­ter’s was green, and both came with puff-sleeved white blouses and match­ing aprons. Years later, my own daugh­ter wore my much-loved dirndl, which was so beau­ti­fully crafted, it looked as new and pretty as it had decades ear­lier.

And now, here we were, my daugh­ter and I, in Aus­tria, where the tra­di­tional dress is still worn with pride, and con­sid­er­able panache. Phoebe now lives abroad; we had cho­sen Aus­tria as a con­ve­nient ren­dezvous spot for a few days to­gether.

Ler­moos, our alpine des­ti­na­tion, is a pic­turesque vil­lage in the Zugspitz Arena area of the Aus­trian Tirol; it’s a ski-lovers par­adise in win­ter, but per­fect for hik­ing and cy­cling in au­tumn. It’s easy to get to from sev­eral air­ports, but at this time of year, Mu­nich is hand­i­est, and suited both of us as a meet-up point. Good old Aer Lin­gus got me there on time to meet Phoebe’s in­com­ing flight from Brus­sels, and from there we hopped on a Deutsche Bahn train, chang­ing once, and sat back to savour the choco­late-box scenery en route.

Our base for the du­ra­tion was the per­fectly lo­cated Haus Mon­tana, a de­light­ful chalet-style ed­i­fice com­pris­ing 10 self-cater­ing units, owned and run by the ebul­lient, ul­tra-stylish Erika Mott, whose warm wel­come made us feel in­stantly at home. Haus Mon­tana is self-cater­ing, but thought­ful Erika pro­vides a fresh­bread ser­vice from Gur­gltal­brot, a lo­cal bak­ery. We set­tled on a hand­sem­mel (a white bread roll) and a lus­cious schokocrois­sant each. (They were wait­ing for us in a cute felt bag, hung on our door han­dle next morn­ing; Erika has all or­ders bagged and de­liv­ered by 7am. The per­fectly ap­pointed units all have Ne­spresso ma­chines, so it’s not even nec­es­sary to shop for break­fast!) Hav­ing set­tled into our gor­geous ac­com­mo­da­tion, we made our way, on Erika’s rec­om­men­da­tion, to nearly Golfino Restau­rant, where, on the ter­race, be­fore a panorama of peaks, we lunched on de­li­cious sal­ads, and caught up on all the news. On our leisurely stroll back, we popped into the vil­lage’s Baroque church of St Cather­ine, the hum­ble ex­te­rior of which be­lies the ro­coco gor­geous­ness within. We lit can­dles and lin­gered awhile, lost in our own thoughts and prayers.

Back at Haus Mon­tana, so called be­cause of its splen­did as­pect in the shadow of the mighty Zugspitze, Ger­many’s high­est moun­tain, it was time to get party-ready, as Eri- ka had or­gan­ised tick­ets for us to a sum­mer soiree be­ing thrown by 180° restau­rant (it has a 180-de­gree alpine view), part of Pure Apart-ho­tel, a new ven­ture in the vil­lage.

The 180° Som­mer­fest was held in the open-walled base­ment of the Pure Apart-ho­tel build­ing. It was dot­ted with bra­ziers burn­ing aro­matic beech­wood, and the gaily dressed Boun­ties were belt­ing out Walk­ing On Sun­shine as we ar­rived. There were food and drink stalls ga­lore, and we in­dulged in veg­gie noo­dles (for me) and ribs (for Phoebe) washed down with gor­geous gruner velt­liner (for both of us). Re­freshed and re­newed by the qual­ity grape

‘We sat in the out­door Jacuzzi; it was the A-list life’

and grub, we bopped the night away to the Boun­ties’ Euro-pop beat.

Next morn­ing, we shook off the cob­webs with a trip up the nearby Gru­big­stein. You can walk, but feel­ing lazy, we de­cided to as­cend by ca­ble car and de­scend on foot. Erika had pro­vided us with a Z-ticket, a su­perb value sum­mer-ac­tiv­i­ties pass, which en­ti­tles the holder to dis­counted or free use of util­i­ties in the re­gion, in­clud­ing the fab out­door pool, var­i­ous ca­ble cars, buses, roller bikes, mu­se­ums, raft­ing, boat trips, golf, and ten­nis courts. A re­turn trip up the Zugspitze costs €43.50 (or €41.50 with the lo­cal guest card) so even if you just use it for that and a cou­ple of other things, you’re quids in.

Our 15-minute ca­ble car jour­ney up the moun­tain skirted over rock pines, and larch trees on the turn to golden. At the sum­mit, we popped into Gipfel­haus Gru­big­stein for an Alm­dudler, the sec­ond most pop­u­lar soft drink in Aus­tria, which tastes a bit like herbal tea. Quite de­li­cious. At the moun­tain’s peak, as at all of Aus­tria’s sum­mits, is a cross, and a box con­tain­ing a book in which you can write your name and the date of your as­cent. We’d cheated, so we didn’t, and set off on shank’s mare down the wind­ing alpine track to lovely Ler­moos, pass­ing, on our way, a house be­long­ing to one of the Swarovski fam­ily; Swarovski Crys­tal World is in nearby Inns­bruck.

Kaffe und kuchen (cof­fee and cake) is a tra­di­tion in this part of Europe, and in 180°, we fol­lowed a light lunch of pan­cake soup with punchkugeln, a pink-sprin­kle-cov­ered choco­late ball; and Mozart cake, a choc and pis­ta­chio con­fec­tion. Nei­ther dainty reg­is­tered high on the sweet scale; me­thinks Aus­tri­ans have the sugar-mod­er­a­tion thing sussed.

The weather had turned wet, but Ler­moos is not short on things to do, rain or shine. On Erika’s ad­vice,

Gemma in Ler­moos, Aus­tria, in the shadow of the mighty Zugspitze, one of the spec­tac­u­lar peaks in the Zugspitz Arena, which is a vast grassy plateau carved out of the gla­cial val­ley

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.