A U S T R I A
Austria with its stunning alpine scenery and hospitable people never seems to disappoint its visitors.This is the land of countless lakes, charming villages nestled in valley bottoms, lush meadow with wildflowers, vast mountains peaks, and immaculate cleanliness.
Whether its visiting the magnificent cultural city of Vienna, basking on the shores of Bondensee (Lake Constance), enjoying the music festivals in Salzburg or skiing the famous Alps of Tyrol a visit to Austria will not be forgotten.
Austria is the most mountainous country in Europe and extremely popular with hikers and skiers. People from around the world come to hike it's glorious trails and ski the incredible slopes in ski towns such as Soll, Seefeld and Kitzbuhel but Austria has more to offer than just its mountains. In this relatively small country one can also sail the Danube River, dance the waltz, indulge in apfelstrudel at a family run bakery, shop in one of the many storybook villages, visit some enchanting castles and tour a multitude of wineries.
I'm a little partial to Austria having recently returned from working at a yoga retreat house near Kitzbuhel and have nothing but praises for this German speaking country that I wish I could someday call home. I love Austria for many reasons; the cleanliness, the scenery, the sweet mountain goats, the marvelous lakes for swimming, the authentic idyllic villages, the delicious food and the friendly locals are just a few of my favorite things about Austria.
The Austrians take such pride in keeping everything so spic and span. They're also very dedicated to their heritage and celebrate their holidays with much enthusiasm. Most cities and villages host concerts and parades during certain holidays and almost everything is closed on Sundays and holidays.
I shall never forget all the sweet memories of my six months living in the tiny village of Reith (three kilometers from famous Kitzbuhel). Every morning I would make up at 5:00 am to the church chimes and walk down the steep hill where I could hear cuckoo birds singing in the forest. I would participate in meditation and chanting with guests and staff in the yoga hall and afterwards attend the staff meeting to receive my job duties for the day. A typical day for me was cooking organic vegetarian meals for guests and staff, managing the guest houses, leading hikes through the Alps, and teaching yoga classes.Working with an international clientele was quite stimulating and I was able to make wonderful friends.
Free time was spent bicycling the endless trails, hiking the mountains, swimming in glorious alpine lake Schwarzsee, and yodeling with the mountain goats. Often I would gather grass for my beloved goats who thanked me with their baa baa sounds. Oh how sweet it was!
I will share a few of my favorite things about Austria as well as recommendations and a traditional recipe for strudel in my next post.