Our last day here in Hermagor and on the hiking portion of our trip. We spent the day on a bus tour to the Lesachtal Valley in the Tyrol area. It is referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Alps. The scenery was just amazing. We stopped in Maria Luggau for a tour of a farm there, plus visited the Basilica.
The farm tour was another of those all German things, so little comprehension on my part, but Kier found it quite interesting that the farmers could do so much with water power back in the day. I could have stayed down at the beginning of the tour and played with the mother and her 2 baby goats. And I would have understood every bit as much of what they said as I did the tour guide.
The current church structure is over 300 years old and there are 2000 miracles believed to have happened there. People from all around the world make pilgrimages to this church annually. And I’m usually good for one church per holiday, so this was it.
What I did find interesting was how every community...and by community I mean a small number of homes in a specific area...has a church. Every church has a similar steeple. Every steeple has a clock imbedded in it. I have to wonder...why to Austrians bother with watches, cause you can’t drive anywhere without seeing a church tower displaying the time. And every one I’ve seen was accurate! Amazing!
Another odd tradition that I learned about around some of these community churches and it’s to do with the first of May. Some of you readers are familiar with the lively North American saying “Hurray, hurray, it’s the first of May....”, you now the rest. Especially Shelley, Kim and Sue M, who all DEFINITELY know the rest! Well, the tradition over here is a bit different and goes something like this...”Hurray, hurray it’s the first of May...finding a tree and sticking it way up in the air on a pole, starts today!” Nowhere’s near as catchy as OUR saying...but perhaps their’s loses something in the translation!
We covered a lot of ground today on the bus. Down mountains, back up mountains, down again, and back up again. I’m not a person that gets car sick. Certainly not since my old partner at the London Police Service used to occasionally make me sick when he drove like a madman...and you know who you are...Chris! Well, I’ve gone through a ton of Gravol this past week and today was particularly bad because there were 2 mountains to do ups AND downs on. The switchbacks are killers! Only 1 more trip down the mountain tomorrow morning and then I shouldn’t need anymore Gravol for awhile.
Our last stop of the day as to a cookie factory called Loacker. I gotta admit, I’m not real certain what the attraction was here. There was a ‘free’ tour which you followed arrows and read signs and displays in 3 different languages, one being English. So finally, a tour we could actually understand, but yet, not the purpose of the trip. Everyone just raced through the tour, start to finish, to get to the factory store. These Europeans were leaving that store with huge shopping bags of these cookies. Kier and I each bought a tiny bag just to try to understand the craze. They are just wafer cookies with creme filling...nothing special by my measure.
We were back at the hotel for the huge Friday night fish buffet. There was every kind of fish and shellfish you could imagine. Myself, I wasn’t into trying all these unique to the area delicacies. I went straight for the lobster claws, pasta with shrimp and scallops. No salted herring, smoked salmon, or pretty much any fish on display with his head in tact. Nope...not gonna do it.
After dinner was casino night. The only game available was Roulette. I love that game! I gave it a try, but there were far too many kids around the table to make it fun. I bailed after loosing about 10 euros. Time to get packed and ready for departure tomorrow.
The hotel has kindly offered to shuttle us back down the hill for our train in the morning. The level of service here has been phenomenal. We’ll certainly miss the cuisine and the 5 star facilities.
But tomorrow, it’s on to Salzburg...alone...with no schedules to keep and no forced socialization. Can’t wait!!