Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Have I Been Here Before?


I love old postcards of the Alps, and this one is particularly appropriate because it captures a glimpse of the region that we’ll call home for the next few days. As I mentioned yesterday, we’re hiking our new Heart of Austria tour, and tonight we rest our feet in the village of Gosau, surrounded by the impressive peaks of the Dachstein.

The country home in this postcard is the Gasthof Gosauschmied, and although we’re not staying here, I know it well. This house is characteristic of the small homes that dot this enchanted countryside. This particular guesthouse celebrated its 310th anniversary in 2005, and the family that runs it is 5th generation. They continue to welcome weary travelers with warm meals and a comfortable place to sleep.

Old images like these stir something exciting my blood, and I feel like they rekindle deep-rooted memories of the past. I like to think that a person can actually remember their ancestral history because it would to help explain the reason that I’m drawn to images like this one, with its dark forests, clear running streams, and lonely mountains looming in the distance.

I can almost smell the hot soup bubbling on the open hearth. I can feel the smooth, well-worn and almost waxy texture of the long wooden dinner table. I can taste the cool mountain spring water and see my shadow dancing across the hand-hewn timbers in the flickering firelight. I can even hear the faint din of laughter and song from the hearty wayfarers that passed this way centuries ago.

I find this region enchanting. Do I have an ancestral memory of this place? I like to think that I do. People settled this region more than 7,000 years ago; maybe my ancestors walked their own paths through this mysterious land.

Check out more images of Gosau and the Dachstein by clicking today’s Twitter link, or visit gosau.org.

No comments: