I met up yesterday with another local tourism official, Cornelia Kriegner, at my hotel, and we didn’t go out to her car, as I would expect. Instead, we waited for the local bus and rode it up a few miles past the village to a trailhead.
Conny was taking me on a breakfast, lunch, and dessert Culinary hike, a twist on the idea of table hopping to enjoy courses at different restaurants for dinner.
But this time, I’d have to hike at least 5 km between any bites. And this being beautiful Austria, that wasn’t hard to resist.
Our first stop was a roadside restaurant for a hearty Alpine breakfast.
The network of trails in Bregenzerwald is vast, thousands of kilometers with great signage and easy parking. This is such a hiking/skiing culture it rivals Colorado, but instead of spandex and yoga pants, we get walking sticks and jolly men and women in hats with feathers.
OK, a little of the former, but it feels like people truly LOVE to hike here, and do it any chance they can.
The trail was well-marked and up and down, they designate trails by the degree of difficulty, so you always know what’s ahead of you.
We passed by a cute little box on the side of the trail and I learned that it’s full of books, and there’s a bench. Why not sit down a read a bit?
After our morning hike, we arrived one of Austria’s many mountain restaurants, which always offer a menu of filling and delicious meals…like Krutspätzle, (cheesy noodles), Wiener Schnitzel, and sausages. With a Radler beer, (half lemonade, half beer), a perfect accompaniment to keep me ready for the rest of the hike, it was just about perfect.
We continued our pace, down hills, up slopes, and past farmers bringing in hay for their cows. Hay is the only crop grown by farmers in this part of Austria, and nearly every farm is quite small, with a dozen or so Swiss Brown cows, who get to spend their summers up in the Alps until they are brought down with great ceremony in September.
Our final stop was at a cafe in Schwarzenberg for some delicious cake and coffee. We handed over the vouchers that come with the prepaid program, and savored the cake while we sat in the late afternoon sun.
If you ever have a chance to visit Austria, forget about the Sound of Music and Salzburg. Come to Vorarlberg and avoid crowds, and hike in tremendous places like this instead!