Flower Power – a nature walk on the doorstep

IMG_3690Various flowers have been emerging recently – in the undergrowth, around the trees, alongside the river and pathways near our house and around Lake Hallstatt.  As we take Leo on his (at least) twice daily walks, it’s been interesting to notice the subtle changes in the surrounding woods and pathways from one walk to the next.  Now, I’m sorry to admit that I do not know much about flowers – especially the Austrian varieties that could be emerging at this time of year in the Salzkammergut area.  So – how fortunate we were to have a lovely guest who happened to mention that she saw an abundance of flowers on her walk at the weekend.  We chatted for a while about her walk and then she kindly volunteered to write down the names of the flowers … and as a bonus, she added a little picture and description too, so I would know what to look for …

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So armed with this knowledge I felt a bit like a mini-adventurer on our next walk …  I had a purpose of not just walking the dog and moving a bit – but to see if I could track down some of the flowers as well.  Admittedly we did not go on exactly the same route as our guest – but we did come across some of the flowers and I started to photograph them.  As time when on, however, it was not only the looking for flowers that made the walk so special…

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We are pretty familiar now with the route that we took … and the scenery is absolutely spectacular (we have to pinch ourselves regularly to remind ourselves how incredibly fortunate we are to have such dramatic scenery on our doorstep!)  But during this walk I was looking both at the stunning scenery, appreciating the warm sunshine – and also keeping an eye out for things I could capture in a picture.  I started just looking for the flowers that we had spoken about – but there were so many other interesting things that I wanted to capture as well!  So … our nature walk started with a search for flowers – and ended up being about just noticing (and often capturing on camera) anything that seemed potentially interesting.

IMG_3768I’m still on the hunt for the other varieties of flowers and look forward to exploring again soon on future walks.  But a big thank you to our lovely guest for this gift of knowledge about flowers … it’s amazing what a little chat over breakfast can lead to!

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Skiing with a VIEW! at Gosau

ValentinesSkiingWe spent Valentines’s Day together on the slopes at Gosau … and what a brilliant day! great snow – and some delightful sunshine too.

We did manage to do our chores beforehand – and of course – we were just here checking the snow conditions for our guests who arrive for half term next week 🙂

It’s our first winter season living here and the weather has been rather ‘random’ this year (as it seems to have been in many other parts of the world!)  Last season we visited Obertraun and went skiing in Gosau in January and again in March and the snow was plentiful and there was a massive amount of fabulous snow on the slopes.

It’s not quite the same this year as there has not been the same level of general snowfall in our village of Obertraun and around Lake Hallstatt – however, we’ve been fortunate enough to have had good skiing conditions on the slopes at Gosau. The snow has been cared for and moved around and groomed and this makes for happy skiers 🙂

This year, when we have had a big snow fall – then Paul will enthusiastically get out the snow blower (his new ‘toy’) and clear the pathways and parking spaces.  Then the Fohn wind (think of the winds of a giant hairdryer, coming from the south) has arrived and melted the snow around our house – sometimes literally overnight!  We hadn’t expected to see quite so little snow in our immediate vicinity … but it is fortunately still great on the pistes.  Today we had beautiful sunshine and the occasional flakes of snow to keep things topped up.

Half term is traditionally a busy time and are looking forward to welcoming our guests next week … We hope they have great snow, sunshine, fun and have time to appreciate the stunning views that we’ve enjoyed today!

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Balloon Week – in Gosau

BalloonEve_Gosau6This week has been ‘Balloon Week’ in Gosau, a village located in the neighbouring valley, where we go to enjoy the skiing of the Dachstein West ski region.  Hot air balloons have been floating around Gosau during the day …  and we have even seen the balloons come over the tops of the mountains and float into our valley and on towards Lake Hallstatt.  They have had a good week weather-wise too … mostly beautiful clear blue skies, not too many clouds – and some sunshine as well!

This evening, at the end of Balloon Week, Gosau hosted an evening display of the bright and multi-coloured hot air balloons again … as balloons of various shapes and sizes stood out against the night sky.  At one point they even ‘waltzed’ (or perhaps more accurately gently ‘twirled around’) to music from Strauss – fabulous!

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