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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?

Gesäuse National Park in Styria, Austria: Experiencing the local nature & culture combined.

Standing in front of the national park centre “Weidendom”, I draw a deep breath and close my eyes, allowing the rushing river Enns behind me to fill me with its thundering noise. Ah, the clean air, the merry colours of nature, timeless it seems, yet touching us with their every fibre. As my gaze follows the sharp rock lines upwards, I am reminded of the shape of soaring mountain tops I know so well from my recent trip to the Rocky Mountains. Hello, Canada in Austria, and welcome everybody to the so-called “Gesäuse“.

“Our visitor centre ‘Weidendom’ is a natural piece of art”, Barbara Bock explains, working for the national park services in Austria’s youngest one, “Gesäuse national park” of only 15 years. Indeed, my friends and I find ourselves being welcomed under the roof of giant willow branches & leaves, tied together to form a dome, much in the style of a north-American tipi. We go on a little hike to explore the immediate surroundings only to stop in front of a maze formed by hedges. Inside, a game testes us to finding our way out by guessing at our “ecological foot print“. It’s a lovely way to entertain the kids, and teach them and us adults about the importance of nature protection. Check this out.

Willkommen im Nationalpark Gesäuse! Neben dem Besucherzentrum in Admont bietet der "Weidendom" die nächste Anlaufstelle für Natur- und Ruhesuchende ...

Welcome to the national park Gesäuse! Apart from the visitor centre in the town of Admont, the so-called “Weidendom” is the visitor centre right inside the park …

 

... von hier aus geht es mitten hinein ins "grüne Labyrinth", zur Erkundung des "begehbaren, ökologischen Fußabdruckes" nämlich ...

… off we go exploring our “ecological foot print” through this entertaining hedge maze …

 

... der uns auf heitere und zugleich eindrucksvolle Weise vermittelt ...

… an installation that’s meant to teach and share …

 

... wie sehr wir die Umwelt mit unserem modernen Lebensalltag belasten, und welche einfachen Möglichkeiten der Einsparung es gibt.

… about how we can better ourselves in reducing our cost to the environment, in areas such as transport, consumption, or food.

 

Die anschließende, kurze Wanderung zum Fluss Enns, deren "Sausen" namensgebend für den Nationalpark Gesäuse ist ...

Love our little hike across the river Enns later, whose gushing noise is a name-sake to the national park, “Gesäuse” meaning rushing river …

 

... ist so kraftspendend, wie Demut gebietend : Gewaltig, die mächtige Naturlandschaft hier.

… and rushing it is. Amazing to sit here and contemplate in stillness, the sheer force of nature beyond.

 

If you want to go for a (half) day hike inside the national park, we can recommend you a typical Austrian hut as your goal: Mödlingerhütte at 1.523 metres above sea level, offering food and beds to stay the night.

Well, my dear readers. I must admit we flunked it a little. We haven’t done the full ascent to the Mödlingerhütte, which is about two to three hours, but shortened it down to twenty minutes by taking the toll road near Gaishorn first. I know I know, not the same, but “Gesäuse” national park offers so much, we simply had to choose – and immediately realised, that just a few days were far too little time to spend here. It’s reassuring to know, though, that even though you may visit only for a short time, breathtaking scenery awaits you at every corner.

Der Anstieg zur Mödlingerhütte ...

Hiking up to the Mödlingerhütte …

 

Das mächtige Gesäuse in den nördlichen Kalkalpen Mitteleuropas ...

… rewards us with views like these …

 

... zugegebenermaßen wirklich sehen lassen. Vor allem, wenn wie hier die Hütte am Horizont winkt ...

… and offers comfort in the typical Austrian sense …

 

... gemütliche Schlafzimmer, modern ausgestattet ...

… including nice little dorms inside the hut, which have only recently been refurbished …

 

... sowie kulinarischen Komfort in Form von traditionellen "Kasnocken" (Käsespätzle) bietet. Herrlich.

… as well as delicious Austrian mountain fare, cheese spaetzle in this case.

 

Die Mödlingerhütte ist übrigens Teil des Österreichischen Umweltzeichens und achtet auf eine sorgfältige Recycling- und Wasserschutzanlage.

The Mödlingerhütte hut is part of the Austrian Alpine Association, as well as part of a major hiking trail network. Be assured, you can’t get lost up here, and there is lots and lots to see.

 

Then, there are the “national park partners”: Countless local farms and producers in the nearby surroundings, that is. Be sure to visit both the cider farm Veitlbauer, as well as the horse farm Laussabauer on your trip here.

Fortunately for you, both farms are very close together so that you can ideally combine a visit between them, at only about half an hour’s drive from the main town Admont, itself the gateway to “Gesäuse” national park. At her Veitlbauer farm, Susanne Weissensteiner welcomes us together with all her sheep, cats, horses, dogs & children, as well as a superb tasting of all the local products they make out of apples, including ciders, juices, schnapps and sparkling wines! It’s moments like these that really mark our trip, sitting down with the locals and in the end, even being whisked away by them to a fairy-tale like castle nearby ..! But more about this in my next article for your. For now, let me take you to meeting the locals who have tended to the cultural landscapes around Gesäuse national park, for centuries!

"Willkommen daheim" ...

“Welcome home”: Veitlbauer farm is open for tastings and visits every Tuesday to Saturday in the afternoon …

 

... schon hat uns Susanne Weissensteiner "ganz im Griff" ...

… and within minutes of arriving, Susanne has put us under her “apple spell” …

 

... und heißt uns auf ihrem Hof, der verschiedene

… the apple farm where they manufacture juices, ciders, sparkling wines, schnapps, even vinegar from their apples.

 

Bei der anschließenden Verkostung fühlen wir uns richtiggehend als Teil der Familie : Vielen Dank für den überaus herzlichen Empfang, liebe Susanne!

Thank you so much for making us feel at home with you, dear Susanne!

 

Ähnlich willkommen geheißen werden wir auf dem benachbarten Laussabauerhof ...

Right next to her, is the farm Laussabauerhof …

 

... hier laden die gemütlichen Hütten ...

… which has built very comfortable huts indeed …

 

... Renate und ihre heiteren Gänse (!) ...

… and welcomes us with their geese in tow (!) …

 

... sowie die umliegende Landschaft mit Pferdekoppel, Rinderweiden und Wiesen zum Verweil ein.

… including a look out to the surrounding mountains, what with the happily grazing cows and a paddock for the horses in the front.

 

Both farms are very active online, and you can check them out on their respective websites: http://veitlbauer.at/http://www.laussabauer.at.

 

My dear friends have also published about their visit to Gesäuse national park, including a lovely video:

 

If you, too, wish to explore more of this particular place on Earth, then check out my photo album on Flickr:

 

… or how about enjoying this little travel video to get your “nature taste buds” going?

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited on this trip to Styria by Hotel Spirodom & Gesäuse national park, supported by the Austrian Eco Label. 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!
Welcome to the Austrian Rocky Mountains: Hello, "Gesäuse" National Park in Styria!
Around Gesäuse National Park : Admont Abbey, Kassegg Castle & the eco-friendly Hotel Spirodom

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