Hi all! My name is Lia, originally from Spain, and I’m one of the new volunteers joining the European Wilderness Society team!
I arrived to Tamsweg the 15th of March, after a long journey that started the day before in Aarhus (Denmark), where I was staying at the moment. As we all know, COVID-19 makes travelling a bit more challenging than normal. So, to be able to take my flight at 07:00h and conduct the mandatory antigen test before departure (apart from a PCR), I spend a not too comfortable night sleeping in my yoga mat in the airport. Far from being done, a six hour layover in Amsterdam followed by a four hour train from Vienna to Tamswag were waiting ahead.
Thankfully, the team arranged a cozy bed and breakfast in Tamsweg for my arrival, where I could do the 5 mandatory days of quarantine. After that period of isolation (and another negative antigen test result), I was finally free to move into the volunteer’s apartment (which by the way is really nice and fully equipped), meet the team and explore the area!
A new beginning in the mountains
During the first days in Tamsweg, I was slowly settling in the town and doing some small hikes together with Gintare and Tim who showed me the surroundings. On the weekends, we also prepared some nice common dinners with the team in the volunteer’s flat, so I quickly had the chance to meet everyone.
The team has been super supportive, and even gave me some ski lessons, so I could enjoy the last weeks of the skiing season. Skiing with this stunning landscape is definitely a must!!! I had a lot of fun sliding down the hills, and the temperature was perfect (sunshine and warm). However, snow is melting quite fast now, and even though I might have liked to practice skiing a bit more, I can´t wait to do some proper hikes.
In the office, everybody made it very easy for me. During the first weeks I have been getting used to the work environment, helping the team with small tasks and increasing my knowledge about the many projects EWS is involved.
An Austrian Easter experience
As Easter was approaching and we didn’t have any special plans, Julia invited us to spend the holidays together with her family in Carinthia. Such a great opportunity to experience a real Austrian Easter! So, without doubting, Tim, Nick and myself packed a bit of clothes and were excited to join Julia for a fun weekend.
Julia’s family was extremely nice to us, and they prepared lots of delicious food, including Reindlings, an Austrian popular easter sweet. However, my favorite part was colouring the easter eggs. Since in Spain we don’t have this tradition, I was really excited to decorate my first ever easter eggs. We used little flowers and leaves from the garden to decorate the eggs, which were then boiled in water with onion peels to colour them.
During the mornings we visited the cities of Villiach and Klagenfurt, enjoying their nice city centers, markets, people and good weather. Who doesn’t enjoy chilling in the sun while eating an ice cream, right?
Finally, on Saturday we had a pleasant walk around the beautiful Wörthensee – the biggest lake of the region. At that point, Tim was crazy enough to have a “refreshing” dip in frizzing waters of the lake! We end up the day buying a couple of beers and enjoying an amazing sunset, while talking about crazy life anecdotes.