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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

A sustainable weekend trip to Zell am See-Kaprun: Hiking, Herbal Tours & Making our own Ceramics.

“And then, when each and everyone in my group realises the untamed power of the Alpine plants, this ‘medicine’ around us, I thank God for my gift and smile …”, says Christine Sperner, who is our hiking guide for the day and a sort of plant whisperer, too. You could also call her the translator of all the “green secrets” that the Panoramaweg trail offers from Schmittenhöhe to the Sonnkogelalm high above Zell am See. Here, you have the best view of over 30 three-thousand-metre peaks in the Central Alps. Awesome. We got so lucky to see them all: On a single hiking day at the end of September, I think I have never experienced such an incredible mountain panorama. And Christine’s soft voice in our ear when she speaks of her beloved protégés along the way: yarrow, lady’s mantle, nettle, blackberry, bellflower. And many, many more.

An einem der besten Tage der beginnenden Herbstsaison überhaupt ...

What a great day for being on the mountain …

 

... locken Fernsichten wie diese, Kitzsteinhorn und Großglockner inklusive, selbst Wandermuffel auf den Berg ...

… what with views like these, including Kitzsteinhorn and Großglockner in the distance, some of Austria’s highest peaks …

 

... entführt uns die liebevolle Christine Sperner, eine Kräuterfrau der ganz besonderen Art ..

… we listen to Christine Sperner, a lady who has dedicated her life to teaching people about the plants around them …

 

... auf dem kurzen Panoramaweg von der Schmittenhöhe bis zur Sonnkogelalm ...

… she takes us from the Schmittenhöhe on this short panorama trail to the Sonnkogelalm …

 

... und offenbart uns, welche Pflanzen-, Kräuter- und Fruchtvielfalt hier auf gut 2.000 Metern Seehöhe herrscht ...

… and teaches us about whatever grows in this high alpine climate, at about 2.000 metres above sea level …

 

... vielen Dank, liebe Christine, für diese wundersamen Einblicke in Deine Welt der hochalpinen Kräuter und Pflanzen ...

… thank you so much, dear Christine, for sharing your passion with us …

 

... selbige landen dann auch gerne als „Schwarzbeerschmarren“ auf dem Teller ...

… do not miss ordering this very delicious “Schwarzbeerschmarren”, a local blackberry delight for dessert …

 

... genossen auf dieser herrlichen Hütte, der Sonnkogelalm, die übrigens auch selbst Kräuter und Blumen trocknet sowie himmlische Buttermilch kredenzt. Von der Schmittenhöhe leicht zu erreichen, geht es von dort mit dem Sessellift direkt wieder ins Tal.

… something we’ve enjoyed right here at the Sonnkogelalm mountain restaurant. Afterwards, you may take the chair lift down into the valley, or choose the hiking trail instead.

 

Zell am See itself with its splendid mountain scenery makes you want to explore it on a panoramic boat trip. From the lake …

… the beauty of the surrounding region becomes particularly clear, almost kitschy. Use the panorama boat’s “Rooftop Bar” for the 360° views: The surrounding mountain panorama is breathtakingly beautiful. “Up there,” says Anna Zembacher from the local Zell am See Tourist Board, “we can go for a walk along the panorama trail a little higher above the city.” Fantastic. I don’t know what was more beautiful: the boat trip, the hike over the city or the evening lake magic? Could you perhaps tell me if you see the following pictures?

Angesagt: Die „Rooftop Bar“ am Panoramaschiff von Zell am See ...

Check it out: The “Rooftop Bar” on a boat ride across Zell am See …

 

... idealerweise bei bestem Wetter wie diesem, mit Blick zurück auf die Stadt Zell am See.

… and what a view back over the small town of Zell am See.

 

Auch das historische Grand Hotel hebt sich gegenüber der Bergkette Steinernes Meer im Norden besonders prachtvoll ab.

The historic Grand Hotel sits there rather majestically against the backdrop of the mountain range to the North.

 

Von oben, sprich etwa Hundert Höhenmeter über der Stadt, habt Ihr abends noch diesen magischen Blick auf Zell am See ...

From a little higher up, you may still enjoy this evening view across Zell am See …

 

... der Seezauber schließlich gibt auch abends noch Anlass, an den See zu kommen, und wartet mit einer 20minütigen Licht- und Musikshow auf.

… and do not forget heading down to the lake once more at night, when the “SeeZauber” (lake magic) sets the lake alive.

 

The beauty of the region also continues beneath the surface: In numerous efforts towards sustainability in transport, mountain railways, and energy management in the entire Zell am See-Kaprun region.

But how to understand all this complex and often technical information, when like us you’re only here for a few days? We decided to ask the locals. These include, for example, Beate and Bernd Mondré, my hosts at Pension Hubertus. Since 2006, they are proud to have been awarded the Austrian Eco-label for their sustainability efforts in all areas: Solar heating, an electric gas station for e-cars and the use of organic products for breakfast, cleaning etc. add a number of further charismatic qualities to their personal charm as hosts.

Gastgeber Bernd nimmt sich gerne Zeit für seine Gäste, wie hier schon beim Frühstück ...

Bernd Mondré, our host, likes to take time for this guests, such as here during our breakfast …

 

... von außen sichtbar: Das Umweltengagement der kleinen Pension mitten in Zell am See ...

… it’s quite visible that they really care about reducing their environmental impact right here in downtown Zell am See …

 

... als wir uns verabschieden, müssen wir versprechen wieder zu kommen: Vielen Dank für die grüne Herzlichkeit hier in Zell am See, liebe Beate, lieber Bernd!

… thank you so much for your efforts in hosting us and sharing your environmental visions with us, dear Beate, dear Bernd!

 

Tipp: Gleich gegenüber liegt das gemütliche Restaurant „Kraftwerk“ mit einer tollen Weinkarte ...

A tip for you to eat out: Do check out the restaurant „Kraftwerk“ right across from our hotel, featuring a huge wine list …

 

... ein guter Lokaltipp, bei dem Ihr kulinarisch auf Eure Kosten kommt: Reservierung nicht vergessen!

… they really serve great local food! Do not miss booking your table in advance, as seats fill up quickly.

 

A trip to Kitzsteinhorn mountain can also be sustainable around here: We leave our car behind and take the (hiking) bus, which comes at only € 1,- with the local Zell am See-Kaprun Card.

Los geht’s : Für das Kitzsteinhorn und seiner 3.000 Meter hohen „Gipfelwelt“ heißt es warm anziehen ...

Do dress up for the Kitzsteinhorn mountain trip at more than 3.000 metres above sea level …

 

... dank Sommer Card ist weiter nichts für Berg- und Talfahrten zu bezahlen ...

… the mountain railways are free when using your local Zell am See Kaprun Card …

 

... der Blick auf den nackten Gletscher spektakulär ...

… the view of the glacier rather spectacular …

 

... auch in den Berg hineinhorchen kann man ...

… you can also listen to the mountain itself …

 

... sowie mit etwas Glück den Großglockner am Horizont sehen (heute nicht).

… even see Austria’s highest peak, the Großglockner mountain, from this viewing platform on a clear day (not that day).

 

Last but not least, Zell am See is also home to a creative holiday. In Martha’s Waldwerkstatt, you can make pottery to your heart’s content and have your homemade souvenirs sent home to you.

Martha Zillner is a woman you should meet while in Zell am See. Just like charming herbalist Christine Sperner or our host Beate Mondré, she is alive with the passion of being able to share her pottery knowledge in creative courses for ceramic fans. Fun! From Landhotel Martha and their restaurant “Flo’s Gastwirtschaft” (Martha’s son Florian cooks at a very high level!) it’s only a stone’s throw to the Waldwerkstatt for the pottery course. Thank you Martha: What we have produced in less than three hours, without any previous knowledge or preparations, is really wonderful!

Martha Zillner in ihrem Element ...

Martha Zillner in her element …

 

... inmitten der gemütlichen Waldwerkstatt, einem Eldorado für Töpfer- und Keramikfans ...

… right inside the comfortable Waldwerkstatt, a hotspot for pottery fans …

 

... ehe wir’s uns versehen, sind wir mittendrin im kreativen Arbeitsfluss ...

… we take to letting our creative juices flow …

 

... entstehen unter Martha’s achtsamer Anleitung ...

… designing …

 

... perfekt geformte Keramikkugeln mit unterschiedlichen, lustigen Motiven drauf ...

… perfect little bowls like these …

 

... et voilà : Fertig ist das neue Deko-Windlicht für zu Hause!

… which will see a candle inside for decorative purposes on those long winter nights!

 

Fehlen nur noch Brand und Glasur: Wir danken Martha Zillner für ihr Bemühen und sind schon sehr gespannt auf das fertige Ergebnis!!

I guess we are all looking forward to seeing the finished (burned) results! Thank you so much, dear Martha!

 

Im Anschluss lasst Ihr Euch am besten noch vor Ort verwöhnen: Mit kulinarischen Köstlichkeiten vom Feinsten begegnet Euch Florian, Martha Zillners Sohn in „Flo’s Gastwirtschaft“. Malhzeit!

Do not miss dinner at “Flo’s Gastwirtschaft” after: It’s a wonderful culinary experience to eat here, I can guarantee you that!

 

More pictures of my trip to Zell am See can be found here:

 

My friends Lisa, Christina & Martin have also reported about their experiences in Zell am See on their travel blogs:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Austrian Eco Label together with the Tourism Destination Zell am See Kaprun. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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