Modern alpine life in East Tyrol
We visited in East Tyrol on our trip through Tyrol two alpine pastures, each with a very different history, combine that the hosts wanted to break out of their old jobs in big cities and fell in love with the Alps and East Tyrol, so they stayed. The range of accommodations is also different: from tasteful holiday accommodation to active yoga retreats.
First we visit the Alfenalm in Villgraten / Limestone. The concept of the Alm consists of two types of accommodation: the traditional Almhütte Alfen and the newly renovated Giatla House with four holiday apartments. On the way to the hostess Jeannette, we first drove to Almhütte Alfen to find out from the guests that we were expected at the Giatla Haus. The mistake wasn't so bad, we had the opportunity to get to know both accommodations. When we arrived at the Giatla Haus, we met the hosts Jeannette and her partner Benjamin Schaller. Benjamin took over the organic mountain farm including the Alfenalm from his ancestors and renovated and expanded it over the years.
Forest bathing and living close to nature
Jeannette takes us for a forest bath in one of the house woods. To do this, we only walk a few meters away from the Giatla house and climb the forest a good bit steeply up through trees and moss. After about ten minutes of ascent, we make ourselves comfortable on a slope and enjoy the view of the forest and the surrounding mighty mountains, barefoot of course. Meanwhile, Jeannette tells us that she ended up in Kalkstein through the harvesting aid and that she got to know and love Benjamin, which is why the move from Dresden was not difficult for her. There she had an office job in a law firm and had spent little time in nature, or only in her free time or on vacation. Her everyday life has changed quite a bit since then, there is no longer a normal weekend due to the guest care and her own farm with eight cows, but she lives surrounded by green forests and meadows of the Alps and feels much more in harmony with herself it is possible, Jeannette and Benjamin go up to their shed, a small wooden house that can be seen everywhere in the Alps. These have no windows, as they used to be used to store hay and wood. And when you make it up to your barn, you can look forward to relaxing in the hammock surrounded by wonderful tranquility.
Mountaineering and calm down
The village can be considered a real one Mountaineering village to be designated; the guests of the Alm will find all kinds of hiking routes that start directly from the Alm. The hosts are happy to put you in contact with trained mountain guides who not only know the area much better, but also know exactly where an ascent is possible and where it should be avoided. Hiking and mountaineering in itself distracts you from everyday life and stressful thoughts, but there is also the fact that the Alps often do not allow cell phone reception. Here, too, it is an advantage to have professionals with you on a hike. East Tyrol attaches great importance to gentle tourism, which is why there are no ski lifts in Villgraten. Rather, the region focuses on the preservation of nature. Since there are also less managed huts in the region to stop off at, it is best for guests to equip themselves and take their snacks with them on hikes.
Of tradition and modernity
The two houses of the Alfenalm differ in their character. The Almhütte Alfen is furnished in a very traditional way, whereas the Giatla Haus, as a former farmhouse that has been extensively renovated, can be described as a modern Alm, but without losing its Tyrolean charm. The holiday apartments were built in block construction in the more than three hundred year old farmhouse and are now completely clad in wood on the inside. It uses the latest technology and is equipped with underfloor heating and an active cavity for ventilation. The earlier, old windows can still be seen today, but new ones have been added. The conversion and renovation was deliberately designed in such a way that old elements, such as crooked walls, can be guessed or even still seen. The upper floor is an open sauna area. The apartments are ideal for a cozy family vacation or vacation with friends: inside, where you can cook together in the fully equipped kitchenette and then feast on the terrace or the wooden tables and chairs in the living room.
The story of Benjamin's family is also rich in tradition. His parents still help to this day, also in agriculture. Jeannette tells us what it is like when they drive the young cattle up to over 2.000 meters above sea level for the first time, and that the younger ones follow the older heifers because they already know where to run. Figuratively speaking, this can also be transferred to the Alfenalm: Here the ancestors paved the way and the descendants are now allowed to shape it in their own way.
The ride to MoaAlm is steep the closer you get; and gives an idea of how challenging a winter at 1.800 meters above sea level can be. But when you arrive in front of the Alm, the breathtaking view of the forests and mountains is worthwhile, as is the view of the modern Alm itself. Lottie and Ryan, who have been running the MoaAlm for five years, are waiting for us for the interview. The MoaAlm was originally opened by Xania, who lives in Croatia and another accommodation there, the WearActive, operates. She got to know Lottie and Ryan when they themselves were vacationers: were visiting; The two of them didn't want to leave the MoaAlm anymore because they liked it so much and stayed. They had previously quit their stressful jobs in London and longed for a life in nature.
One week of yoga and nature
The MoaAlm offers holidays on a weekly basis: The principle is that you can arrive as a single traveler, but you can take part in communal life in the alpine pastures. Everyday life is as follows: Every morning begins at 8 a.m. with a yoga class, followed by a breakfast (9 a.m.), which is eaten together around the large table in the living room. From 10 a.m., guided hikes or excursions continue. With the large terrace, the Alm also offers enough opportunities to switch off on site, read a book or make yourself comfortable in the outdoor whirlpool. In the early evening, all guests meet again in the Alm and end the evening together with dinner and nice conversations.
What makes the stay special is that you live in a group for a week, with people you may not even know. This creates friendships and wonderful encounters again and again. The groups are often very diverse, although the guests have the common denominator that they like to take an alternative vacation in the mountains. The hosts love being able to meet new guests every week. Their stories, motivations for a sustainable life and motivations for a vacation on the alpine pasture inspire them again and again.
Fresh food and fresh air
“Eating well helps you relax” says Lottie. For this reason, there are freshly prepared vegan and vegetarian dishes every day. The butter and milk come from regional farmers. The employees of the MoaAlm, with the exception of Lottie and Ryan, change annually or from season to season, so there is always a fresh breeze in Alm and the employees: inside can bring in their various talents.
Mediation, the tranquility of the mountains and hikes in the fresh air provide further food for the soul. It is extremely important to the two hosts that the guests can relax properly and forget the everyday stress, and not just simply follow the program. So if you like, you can stay in the Alm for a day, grab a travel guide or a coffee table book and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea on the comfortable sofa. Nobody gets bored at the Alm: The TV room, which is available, is empty most of the time because the guests do not use it, and is therefore used for other purposes. The yoga room is available to guests all day, where you can watch the neighbour's cows grazing - a special kind of mediation.
The Hohe Tauern Nature Park begins just 100 meters behind the Alm. Guests particularly appreciate this, as they can start hiking straight away without having to go anywhere by car. Lottie and Ryan are still exploring the region: For example, they were out in the Alps for four days with their tent, with them: backpacks, a tent and their dog Zora. They like to guide guests through the mountains and show them why they feel so comfortable in East Tyrol. They also offer e-bike tours. Ryan's motto is “if you're not flying, you're not trying”, we like to believe him when we look at his abrasions on his arm. Of course, the tours look less wild with the guests.
The six guest rooms can be divided into two or three-bed rooms. The furnishings were deliberately reduced to the essentials. The stylishly furnished living room can also be used. Lottie and Ryan are fascinated by the lifestyle of the East Tyroleans, who, for example, look after and cherish their window flowers and enjoy the slow lifestyle in the village.
Enjoy an active holiday in a relaxing way, that is the motto of the MoaAlm. You will meet new, interesting people and experience the nature of East Tyrol up close. The guests themselves determine the degree of active vacation: from skiing and cross-country skiing in winter to hiking and swimming in spring / summer. The family atmosphere with shared meals and yoga classes ensures a sense of well-being during your stay in the MoaAlm, which can be booked all year round.