A Spring Walk in the Austrian Alps


April 2018

A beautiful day for a walk. We decided to venture up into one of the valley spurs. Impossibly verdant pasture with carpets of almost vulgar yellow flowers. 

The incline was steep but sure and we ascended slowly, leaving the lake and tourist chalets below. 

Conifers of all greens grow on these vertiginous slopes and brilliant snow tips the peaks. It is so very pretty, just like a picture postcard in fact. But being here beats looking at a photo, of course.

We find a rhythm and stride into the vista. 

A breeze cooled us but in shelter I got a sense of the heat of the sun as it pricked my reddened skin. 

We walked and walked but there was little feeling of time passing aside from the white noise of the mountain stream, full and effervescent, and the occasional flirty orange tipped butterfly. I remember those but it’s years since I saw them at home. At least they thrive here. That thought cheered me and we pressed on. 

Just as I had hoped Alpine air is wonderfully fresh; deep inhales revealed a sickly floral scent infused with warm pine and a feint hint of dung. 

Lost in my thoughts, I come to realise Im way ahead of David, now just a small figure below. I slowed my pace and waited, kicking at the dust. Impatient, I explored a little . A diversion along a farm track brought me to some baby goats (or chamois?) . A foot tall and unutterably adorable with tufts of brown and white fur, sporting miniature horns. Their parents, however, were far less fetching. Large orange eyes and menacing lozenge shaped pupils belie their mood. Something of Beelzebub about goats I always think.

My attention broken by the soft clang of cow bells in the distance. As romantic as they might sound I recall reading that cows can find the persistent toll stressful so I think of them less fondly than I used to. But I can forgive Mahler’s use of cow bells to accent his first symphony. His epic work certainly conjures this place perfectly. A fecund landscape partially tamed and worked upon whilst a wild beauty always pervades.


David caught up and we stepped across the stream which had bifurcated across our path. For a time the water flowed either side of us; the sound of the rushing water in stereo. 

It was otherwise peaceful – and my head was filled with the music this landscape has inspired; that and the persistent chirping of chaffinches. They punctuate all country walks it seems. I like them though: pretty little rusty coloured birds and gregarious with it. 

Nearing the end of our walk, a professional looking cyclist passed us slowly, up and up, thickened thighs and mahogany sun-baked skin betrayed his years of experience. Despite his obvious fitness it looked like hard work. 

Experiencing the picturesque valley at walking pace seemed preferable to me but I’m sure I would have enjoyed the thrill of a two-wheeled descent. 



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