“Our main attribute for the Walserherbst Cultural Festival is the German word ‘steil’, steep. For us, this has a two-fold meaning, referring to the steepness of the v-shaped alpine valleys, but also to the ‘steepness’ of thinking of the locals. This area is truly unique, both as a UNESCO biosphere park as well as a space for artistic expression in the everyday culture. Together with Dietmar Nigsch, it is my pleasure to organise the Walserherbst Festival in the mountains of the Grosses Walsertal every two years,” Eugen Fulterer tells me during an afternoon walk in the bed of the local Lutz river.
Our walk, mind you, is anything but ordinary: Some dozen people have come together to appreciate the results of a two-day Land Art workshop with the artist Matthias Würfel directly in and along the river Lutz. The five participants present us with real works of art, which immediately make me want to join in! Our walk in the river bed triggers memories of my own wood-carving workshop at the Natura.Kreativ Summer Festival in Salzburg. It cannot be a coincidence that one of the participants is the sister of the initiator of that Creative Summer Festival? 😀
The Walserherbst Cultural Festival promotes novelties in art, culture, music, literature in a unique alpine setting.
Another novelty is actually an old hat: The local term “Mitfahrbänkle” taken from the Walser dialect has been created to promote, once again, the idea of hitchhiking in the valley. Yellow flags on recently erected poles refer to stops all over the biosphere park, inviting travellers to stop and take other people along to festival sites. I have tested this idea and have promptly hitched a ride from one side of the valley to the other, i.e. from a herbal hiking tour to a musical reading event.
You may also want to the check out the homepage of the festival, www.walserherbst.at. It has information about the festival itself, some great photographic captures of all the festival sites as well as videos of the events.
Next to the Festival, you may want to get yourself hiking, learn more about alpine flowers as well as the local biosphere park.
Do you, too, enjoy hiking, but not at an athlete’s level? Then this offer is for you. The “Kulinarische Genuss-Runde”, or Gourmet Hiking Tour around the Sonntag-Stein hiking area comes with a lot of extra time – and less altitude differences. So take this time to look at the plants along the way, enjoy the scenery as well as the fresh snacks offered at each of the alpine huts included in the package (“kilometre zero”, well and truly!).
All vouchers used in exchange for food and drinks at the huts can be booked in advance from the biosphere park centre, starting with a morning snack and finishing with lunch, cake, tea or coffee. It is entirely up to you how fast (or slow) you cover the total distance of around 12 kilometres and some 500 metres in altitude. A truly great outing if you happen to spend a sunny day in the biosphere park Grosses Walsertal!
I still have a nice tip for all flower girls (and boys). Go book a guided flower hike as part of the “BergAktiv” summer programme: There are certified mountain guides that will take you along the so-called Alpine Flower Trail every Tuesday or Saturday from June to September, i.e. at the time of the alpine blossoms.
I was lucky enough to have local botanist Günther Bischof from Damüls as my guide, who is not at a loss for a joke (or flower) along the way! Thanks to him, we basically learn to identify any plant we see, and there are still a lot of them blossoming in September! I marvel at their healing properties, too. But beware: Some of them, such as the aconite, are better left to the one specific type of bumblebee that can approach and enjoy them without difficulty …!
Welcome, luxury mountain travellers, to the Alpenresort Walsertal and their “Dream Alive Lodge”.
Last but not least, here is my accommodation tip for “any fans of upscale indulgence” in the mountains. The Alpenresort Walsertal, one of the largest hotels located by the Faschinajoch pass (the border between the biosphere park Grosses Walsertal and the Bregenzerwald district), has been given a huge, rather luxurious makeover. Spacious indoor and outdoor rooms, top cuisine (breakfast and dinner menus are simply divine), a really beautiful mountain spa including indoor and outdoor pools, and the so-called “Dream Alive Lodge” – I mean, wow!
I managed to spend a night here and what can I say: “Glamping – Glamorous Camping” at its best!
Check out even more stunning images of the biosphere park Grosses Walsertal, as well as the Walserherbst Cultural Festival:
Disclaimer: This trip has been supported by the local Vorarlberg tourism board, the biosphere park area Grosses Walsertal as well as the Walserherbst Cultural Festival. All opinions are my own.