Although new adventures await us over the next few days, today marked the end of our Italy experience as we were heading off to Austria. With the German influences in Lake Garda, this transition would be smoother than we’d imagine. We’d both grown very fond of Italy, particularly the Tuscan lifestyle and were sad to be leaving. Having said that, we were moving on to a very special place in our hearts, a small village in the Austrian Tirol called Alpbach, where we were married 4 years ago.
Another beautiful sunny day waved us off from the tranquil waters of Lake Garda and we were back on the road again. Three hours of driving took us through more lush, green mountain passes and snow covered mountains. We soon passed seamlessly into Austria where my first mistake was to say “Grazie” to the Toll lady, oops!! It wasn’t long before we started spotting signs for familiar Tyrolean towns and villages and then finally, Alpbach.
Arriving into the village, it was just how I’d remembered it, but this time so much more beautiful. This was my sixth visit to Alpbach (and Sonja’s 14th) but my first outside of the ski season. You can instantly tell why Alpbach has won numerous awards for its picturesque appeal: Lush, green mountains sprinkled with snow left over from the winter, wild spring flowers grow on the meadows, beautiful flowers line the balconies of all the houses, bell-ringing cows roaming the hillside. It’s truly like something out of a fairy tale. In 1958 a local law was passed decreeing that all new houses in the village be built in the same traditional style as all the others. This has ensured that Alpbach has kept its individual Tyrolean look intact where other villages have failed. It really is a place time forgot.
Our apartment had stunning views overlooking the village and mountain across the valley. Seeing snow left on the mountain top and the gondola in the distance we felt like donning our ski kit and going for a board, but not this time. We went for a stroll around the village taking it all in. With the sun still beaming down on us, each corner we turned took us back to previous visits and to memories of our wedding. The village was very quiet (being out of season) but that’s how we wanted it. To have it to ourselves, just for a few days.
After a shower and change, we headed into the centre for our evening meal. The Romantik Hotel Boglerhof, where we held our wedding reception beckoned, but not tonight. Tonight we kept it simple and went to one of our favourite places, the Jakober. A bar/restaurant that has been serving Alpbachers for hundreds of years. This is where we held our pre-wedding party. Without even looking at the menu I ordered the Tiroler Grostl. Bacon, onion, potato fried up with a fried egg on top. Healthy it is not, delicious it definitely is. When in Rome as they say. Sonja couldn’t resist either and we both tucked in with a local beer to wash it down.
Off to bed feeling so pleased we’d chosen to return to this lovely place.