The weather is finally getting (marginally) warmer, so it’s now the time to think of (or, at least, daydream about) summer holidays. Weeks on the seaside are all well and good, but, for me at least, nothing beats – the title kinda gave it away – a summer in the Alps.
I must confess, I have not been particularly adventurous in this regard; for years I’ve always came to stay in the exact same village in the Austrian Alps. In my defense I want to say, that this place, going by the name of Neustift (about 40 min. drive from Innsruck) is really worth it.
The landscape is as brilliant, pulsing with colour, as we usually only see on postcards. The scent, the heady aroma of herbs and flowers, is impossible to describe; suffice to say, if I could bottle it up and hid it in my drawer, I would never suffer from winter spleen again. The mountain summits are blazing with snow against the deep-blue backdrop of the summer sky, and the slopes are covered with a blueish haze like with a veil of gauze.
The village itself is, of course, brimming with spa hotels for the leisurely travelers and sport hotels for the more frugal ones. Some of them are clustered straight around the base of the Elfer lift – a gondola track, conveying the travelers to the quiet forests and winding mountain paths above. The paths in question are carefully drawn, mapped and dotted with unmistakable yellow markers. I am, however, often guilty of straying from these tracks, lured by the promise of tiny, wild red strawberries in the grass.
The strawberries make a meagre lunch for someone, who measured mountain kilometers with her steps, so at the first opportunity I usually descend upon the local hűtte – literally huts, actually hiker cafes. The schnitzel portions served inside are monumental, but I was certainly never the one to complain about that!