Gourmet Travel Tips from Kleinwalsertal: “Lebensfeuer” at Hotel Gemma.

“Lebensfeuer”, literally meaning the “fire of life” … The name in itself carries something of a magic. Seductive, almost. “What do I burn for?” How am I feeling really? These and further questions are being answered by the world’s first “Lebensfeuer” destination worldwide: The Alpine valley of Kleinwalsertal in the Austrian Vorarlberg district. So what does all of this mean?

To be quite honest: I have originally had just the same question. My host & “Lebensfeuer” professional here in Kleinwalsertal, Klaus Peter of the Hotel Gemma, offers me a warm smile while encouraging me to listen: “Measuring the so-called ‘Lebensfeuer’ all started with a Viennese doctor who went on a holiday here in Kleinwalsertal. He discovered this place’s natural beauty and healing powers, especially in terms of physical and mental health. Parallel to this, the tools for measuring your heart rate through electrodes attached to your body developed to a point of easy access to and use by individual people. During the analysis, we use those tools to draw up your individual “Lebensfeuer” (fire of life), depicting your vitality score. Based on the results, we can recommend you either activating or regenerating walks here in our valley: “Lebensfeuer” holidays are always a means for you to relax and come to terms with your individual sense of wellbeing and health.”

Arriving in beautiful Kleinwalsertal: This mountain valley, located at over 1.100 metres above sea level, offers a high level of recreation thanks to its pure air and natural surroundings.

Arriving in beautiful Kleinwalsertal: This mountain valley, located at over 1.100 metres above sea level, offers a high level of recreation thanks to its pure air and natural surroundings.


My hosts, the Peter family, welcome me here at their beautiful and recently renovated “Lebensfeuer” Hotel Gemma in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal

My hosts, the Peter family, welcome me here at their beautiful and recently renovated “Lebensfeuer” Hotel Gemma in Hirschegg, Kleinwalsertal


Off we go starting the measurement of my “fire of life” on my second day here!

Off we go starting the measurement of my “Lebensfeuer” fire of life on my second day here!


In order to do this, I attach two electrodes as well as a device to measure my pulse rate to my upper body close to the heart. For the next 24 hours, I am required to fill out a protocol of my day’s activities. These notes later help to make sense of the variation in my heart beat. Now, the unique thing here is the long time span of measurement: No one is able to pretend something for more than 24 hours! My “Lebensfeuer” therefore is a solid and objective validation of my current state of health. I am just curious as to what it will reveal? 😉


Klaus Peter of the Hotel Gemma is a certified “Lebensfeuer” professional. His awareness and understanding help me to make sense of what is going on with my “fire of life”.

As part of the “Walser GenussTage” gourmet event week, I am invited to visit the Alpine summer hiking destination of Kleinwalsertal in Vorarlberg together with my gourmet travel friends, Monika & Petar Fuchs (TravelWorldOnline), Lea & Steffi (Escape Town), Clemens & Simon (Anekdotique) as well as Christina & Thomas (CitySeaCountry). This Alpine valley district is truly spectacular: It has originally been farmed by Swiss settlers, is only accessible from Germany and yet a part of Austria.

Die Faszination Kleinwalsertal spüren lernen: Beim Blick aus dem Fenster meines Lebensfeuer-Hotel Gemma.

Getting to know the fascination of Kleinwalsertal: View from my hotel room at Hotel Gemma in the early evening.


Hier laden gemütliche Zimmer zur Entspannung und Regeneration ein (danke auch für das inspirierende Buch am Nachttisch!) ...

Comfortable rooms invite us to relax (thank you also for the great book by the bedside table …!)


... bekommen alle Gäste eine Walser Card für den WalserBus sowie sämtliche Bergbahnen des Tals – eine tolle Zusatzleistung wie ich finde.

All guests here receive a so-called “Walser Card”, allowing us to use free public transport and all mountain cable cars to access the Alpine destination of Kleinwalsertal. This really is a good service in terms of value for money.


Zudem laden die köstlichen Speisen, welche von der Gastgeberin & Köchin Rita höchstpersönlich zubereitet werden, zur vollkommenen „kulinarischen Erholung“ ein: Ausschließlich frische, saisonale Produkte finden hier Verwendung. Diese stammen zumeist noch aus der heimischen „GenussRegion Wild & Rind“ des Kleinwalsertal.

Head chef Rita, the wife of the owner Klaus Peter at Hotel Gemma, likes to spoil us to traditional regional cuisine featuring “Game & Beef” as one of the top Austrian destinations for this particular kind of game and animal farming.


My “fire of life” starts burning on 13 June, 2014 at 09.23 in the morning. From now on …

… I am required to “behave as normal as possible”. To have a simple breakfast. Enjoy my visit of the local GenussMarkt as part of the GenussTage gourmet event week in Kleinwalsertal. Take one of the mountain cable cars to the top of the mountains. Go hiking. Eat something (and drink a lot). Laughing, talking, sharing and learning. Just what I normally would. And to “relax” (though what my “Lebensfeuer” and I understand by that is completely different!), as well as to sleep of course. Exciting! I spend the entire day thinking of my heart: What is it about to do? Beating, of course, but how?

I take my iPhone and type in all activities into the “Lebensfeuer” app specifically designed to match up with the variances in my heart rate throughout the day. How did my rhythm change during the hike? And how did I feel during the phase of relaxation? Am I really able to calm down and recharge my batteries in my sleep? Answers to these and many more questions are revealed by an analysis of my “Lebensfeuer“. I start the day happy and excited, constantly wondering if this will affect my heart beat during the 24 hours that follow … ?

Start in den Tag: Zur Sommersaison geht die Sonne über den Bergen schon nach fünf Uhr Früh auf.

Start into the day: During summer, the sun rises just after 5.00 a.m. here in the mountains.


Beim Frühstück im Hotel Gemma startet die Lebensfeuer-Messung: Ich gönne mir herzhafte, frisch gebackene Muffins.

My “Lebensfeuer” heart measurement starts right then & there: With a beautiful breakfast at Hotel Gemma.


Das frische Quellwasser des Hauses tut Körper und Seele gut.

Fresh source water from the mountain valley is good for body and soul


Frisch gestärkt, bin ich bereit für diesen schönen Tag. Mein Herz ist ganz schön aufgeregt, stets spüre ich meinem Puls nach: Wie wird die Aufzeichnung wohl verlaufen?

Having charged my batteries for the day, I start my exploration of Kleinwalsertal valley: How is my heart going to react to all the new impressions here, I wonder – taking a possible “leap of faith”, I wonder?


Mit dem Essen geht es schon kurz nach dem Frühstück weiter: Köstliches vom GenussMarkt im Kleinwalsertal.

Well. First of all, some excitement over this gorgeous local food served to us at the GenussMarkt gourmet market.


Zur Mittagszeit finden wir uns auf knapp 2.000 Meter Seehöhe wieder, am Gipfel der Warmendinger-Hornbahn in Mittelberg, Kleinwalsertal. Hier muss das Herz einfach höher schlagen!

A little later, we are up the mountain cherishing the fresh air at some 2.000 metres above sea level. Now that is where the heart naturally skips a beat or two, I guess!


Nachmittags schlägt mein Lebensfeuer aus: Aktiv wandern mit leichter körperlicher Anstrengung im Kleinwalsertal.

During the afternoon, my “Lebensfeuer” life fire sends up a series of burning flames: Me hiking along the valley and being naturally active out in the fresh mountain air.


Zur Rast laden Bänke, die mit dem Lebensfeuer-Zeichen des „Walser Omgang“ gekennzeichnet sind. Je nach Höhenlage und Verlauf regen diese Wege zur Regeneration, zur Balance oder zur Aktivierung an. Unbewusst steuern wir an diesem Tag bereits die ganze Zeit auf einem „gemütlichen, regenerierenden Weg“ – ein gutes Zeichen für mich, wie ich später lerne.

Depending on what the “Lebensfeuer” analysis reveals, several hiking trails of different gradients and levels of difficulty have been suggested for visitors, leading either to relaxation or activation during a holiday here. They are marked with this sign called “Walser Omgang”!


In the end, my “Lebensfeuer” analysis confirms what I already know deep down inside: Relax, dear Elena!

Pay attention to a healthy, regular diet. Make sure you do get some rest in between: Your heart will be thankful! What sounds natural in this fast-paced time we live in, is actually quite stunning when you look at the visual heart variability results, nearing a picture of “licking flames” called Lebensfeuer. At the end of my measurement period, I am told by my “Lebensfeuer” professional Klaus Peter of Hotel Gemma that my heart has beaten almost 130.000 times in just a day! I should save some of those beats really. My pulse, too, is too high – I am just too excited. 😉 My biological age is something I’d rather not talk about. I really need to find more reasons to relax.

“Take care of you and your personal rhythm. Make sure you get those breaks, such as power-napping even! You have potential to rejuvenate and regenerate during your sleep: Use this! Take care while preparing healthy, balanced and warm food for yourself”, are the most important statements of my “Lebensfeuer” analysis. THANK YOU, dear Klaus for this detailed and in-depth analysis of my “Lebensfeuer”! I am very motivated to do something with the results, and come back in order to check it again after some time. Most certainly, I will let you know here!

Ein Punkt aus dem Lebensfeuer gefällt mir naturgemäß besonders gut: Die bewusste Hinwendung zu kulinarischen Leckerbissen als Balsam für Körper, Geist und Seele – sowie den Herzschlag.

One point I really like about the results from the analysis, is that I should take even more time to enjoy good and healthy food. What could possibly be wrong with that? 😉


Meine regenerierenden Wanderwege habe ich hier im Kleinwalsertal ebenso gefunden – bzw. sie mich!

The relaxing hiking trails “Walser Omgang” have found me here – happy taking a break along the way.


Auch die GenussHütten hier im Tal bieten zahlreiche Möglichkeiten zur Entspannung ...

The local area huts also provide for some of the opportunities to relax …


... die Region hat sogar einen eigenen „Lebensfeuer-Tee“ hervorgebracht, welcher sich in seiner Kräuter-Zusammensetzung auf Aktivierung, Balance oder Regnerierung ausrichtet

… now the Kleinwalsertal even came up with the idea of mixing their own herbal “Lebensfeuer” tea for its visitors, allowing plants to take on their natural agents of healing.


Und so sieht es aus: Lebensfeuer-Protokoll für Elena Paschiger aus dem Kleinwalsertal. Sehr sehr spannend – vielen Dank für diese lebensfrohe Erfahrung!

Last but not least, a glimpse of my “Lebensfeuer” protocol. Do come and check it out for yourself: It is very interesting really!


Disclaimer: We have been invited by Kleinwalsertal Tourism Board and Hotel Gemma to travel to Kleinwalsertal mountain food district. All opinions are my own.

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