Friday, June 1, 2012

Top of the Mountain

It was Tessa's last weekend with us, so we wanted to spend some special family time together. Our 2-hour car trip took us to Mariazell, a little town and well-known pilgrimage site in Styria. As it was the weekend of Pfingsten (Pentecost), we saw large groups of people on their spiritual journey. We did enjoy the peaceful atmosphere by the basilica amongst the pilgrims. You could sense their feeling of accomplishment, friendship and contentment.  

However, our main reason for us to come to Marizell was the mountains. The first day we cheated and took the gondola up the B├╝rgeralpe (1266 m) instead of walking. As this doesn’t fly for two consecutive days, we climbed to the top of the Gemeindealpe (1623 m) the next day. From both places the view was spectacular, it feels like you are flying up there! The landscape underneath keeps on changing depending on the shadows of the clouds. And you can see soooo far. Also the nature in the mountains is beautiful, everything so fresh and green. The kids discovered lots of little treasures along the way (snails, rocks, leaves etc.) and learned the names of different flowers and trees. The cool, crisp air feels great on your skin when you take the quite strenuous hike up the mountain. To our surprise, Pascal teamed up with Tessa and lead the charge up the mountain! He chose to take the steepest section (the pictures under the chair lift) and barely needed to stop to rest. 

Other highlights of our weekend-trip were the traditional Pirker Lebkuchen (gingerbread), in the summer also served in the form of ice cream, the fantastic flower meadows, and the scooter ride down the Gemeindealpe, which is almost as fast as going down the lift - if you dare. And of course the random stuff that you could never plan but which actually are always such fond memories of any vacation: playing on the bike racks with an adventurous toddler, finding a 'Bine' sign, and bringing home a bouquet of wild flowers.


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