European Wilderness Volunteer DiaryThe Diary of the European Wilderness Society Volunteers

Dashing through the snow… and driving through the Lungau

Although I was able to see a lot of the Lungau since arriving in October, we hadn’t yet had an extensive tour through the region. That was about to change…

Over the fields we go…

A real treat was awaiting us after lunch last Thursday – a horse-drawn carriage, complete with sleighbells! Max and Anni had organised a tour around Tamsweg for us. As it had snowed heavily the day before, it was the perfect time. We sat in the back as the driver took us around Tamsweg and the surrounding villages. It was a lovely new way to experience the area.

We were very lucky with the weather. There were blankets for all of us, but it was a sunny day so we definitely didn’t need them. At one point I had to take off my jacket as the sun was beating straight down onto the carriage. It was a strange feeling, riding across snow-covered fields dressed for spring weather!

Driving in a winter wonderland

On Friday, Max granted us the official Lungau tour. Lungau is the cultural region where the town of Tamsweg is located; although confusingly, the region is officially called Tamsweg as well! Only going outside of Tamsweg do you get a real sense of how sparsely populated the area really is. Although it’s around the size of Budapest in area, the whole Lungau only has around 20,000 people, a quarter of whom live in Tamsweg town. This leaves plenty of space for nature, however. Wherever we looked, we saw snowcapped peaks and blindingly white valleys against a pure blue sky. It was stunning.

Apart from the natural beauty, we got to see some of the picturesque villages dotted across the region. Mauterndorf in particular stood out due to its impressive castle and charming houses. We also passed through Mariapfarr, where a local priest wrote the lyrics to the Christmas carol Stille Nacht (Silent Night). In the village priory, a museum is dedicated to the famous tune.

Eventually, we stopped for lunch at a traditional Stube and treated ourselves to hot food and drinks. We tried Lungauer Kasknödelsuppe, a delicious local specialty consisting of a hearty broth with cheese dumplings. The meal ended with warm Austrian Strudel. Sitting outside, we were able to watch the ski-tourers drifting down the slopes to get something to eat at the little hut. Maybe that’ll be our next trip…

Lunch with a view
Inside the Stube

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