My 12 months as a European Solidarity Corps Volunteer with the European Wilderness Society have finished and it was again time to pack up my bags and move to a different place. The time in Tamsweg has really flown by within this exciting opportunity to work in nature conservation and live in the beautiful UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Lungau. In summary, this year was truly full of opportunities for learning and personal growth, skiing and hiking and regular dinners with the team.
The last few weeks in the Lungau passed in the spirit of finishing my tasks and transfering them to my colleagues, saying goodbye to the team and other friendly people I met during my stay in Tamsweg and packing, as well as doing the final hikes and bike explorations of the region as I took some time off just before leaving. A visit of a good friend was a good excuse to eat a lot of hut food, as Kasnocken are definitely on the list of things I will miss. In addition, we also decided to fuel the weakened post-Corona Austrian tourism by visiting the largest ice cave in the world, just about an hour’s drive away from Tamsweg. It is a very splendid cave with ice giving it a special character, and the views from the hike to the cave are equally spectacular.
I intended to use the last free week in Tamsweg to do a lot of hiking, but unfortunately, the weather was not on my side – the pouring rain forced me to spend more time inside and at least pack properly without a hurry. However, I did manage to go for a longer hike in Riedingtal on one day. There, I was unpleasantly surprised by the amount of snow that still covered the mountains, as even at only 2000 m, the lakes were still nearly frozen and I had to cross many large patches of snow. As it’s clearly not the hiking season yet, it was also an interesting experience to hike completely alone for several hours, only meeting one group of people on the way. I decided it might be better to postpone any other more demanding hikes into undefined future.
However, on the last day before leaving I managed to squeeze in another shorter hike up to Kleiner Konigstuhl, which was maybe even the nicest hike I have done in the Lungau. Amazing views all around, the feeling of serenity up on the mountain and the beautiful sunny weather definitely created a warm memory that I will keep of the Lungau in the future.
Several days before I left we had a nice dinner with the entire team to celebrate Jonas’s birthday and my departure. It was a very pleasant evening full of chatter along a delicious barbeque. That’s where saying goobye began, and continued with several drinks and meetings after both with the team and with other people I met in Tamsweg. Finally, on Saturday morning, I, positively surprised, managed to fit all my boxes in the car and drove away across the border to my homeland. There I’m intending to spend a nice long holiday before heading to a new adventure abroad again in October.