Erhard Plosky is what you call a friendly giant. “I weigh over 110 kilograms”, he laughs looking into our incredulous faces only lit by the dim light of the torch he is carrying. We are standing inside a snow-covered mountain forest in Mühlbach am Hochkönig in Salzburg, it is about 10 p.m. and we read animal tracks in the fresh snow: Deer, rabbit, fox, maybe a wolf? “You really need not be afraid”, Erhard smiles while all of a sudden he starts taking his shoes and socks off. Ana, Máximo & Antonio, my lovely travelling companions from Spain, have fallen silent.
What is happening here?
Erhard Plosky is Austria’s (most) famous ‘barefoot hiker’. Today, he takes us on a special tour of his own – a lantern hike at nighttime.
Here in Mühlbach near Bischofshofen & Saalfelden, renowned as a top ski resort for its perfectly shaped Hochkönig mountains, (winter) dreams come true. “You do not have to pay anything for the lantern hike, our local tourism board organises these tours every year free of charge for our guests.” Pleasantly surprised, we insist on tipping him at the very least. After all, the four of us enjoy the exclusive company of great Erhard, knowledgeable and kind, during the two-hour winter hike with torches, an experience we all love. Only the light of our torches mixed with the occasional blabber of English, local Austrian German & Spanish pierce the snow-covered night. Until finally that too stops. For a full ten minutes, Erhard walks around barefoot in the snow. “My very own spa moment”, he beams. Being used to hot saunas followed by icy showers, I get what he is aiming at. The Spaniards have by now fallen completely silent. Must be the culture shock!
Travel tips for those young (at heart): Hochkeilhaus & snow boot hiking at Hochkönig winter mountain resort.
I am usually a happy, optimistic person. But to get accommodation for a group of 11 during Christmas & New Year? Even had to admit I was doubtful. Thanks to my wonderful (festival) travel companion and darling brother Julian, though, we managed to get something going: “Elli, they have still got shared rooms at Hochkeilhaus am Hochkönig in Salzburg complete with half board at € 43,- per person and night. Wouldn’t that be something?”
Shared rooms with friends, playing cards & partying till late – this recalls faint memories of school ski trips only that now of course drinking is legal for us outgrown teenies. Nice! It was always a lot of fun, certainly, and so we all went along. And really, I must say this for Hochkeilhaus: The breakfast buffet is rich and fills you up with fresh rolls, cheese & muesli for a whole day. Each night, three courses were being served to us that tasted delightful after a long day out in the fresh air. Local lady Christl together with her son are wonderful and rather happy hosts, especially at New Year’s! We can definitely recommend you to stay here as a group of friends travelling together.
“Happiness is when you go …
snowboarding. Skiing. Whatever. If you know the feeling of carving down a hill, dashing up perfect powder snow, under the splendid mountain sun, framed by awe-inspiring nature scenery and breathing in the freshest of airs, laughing with your friends in delight then … There is really nothing more to say. Really. THANK YOU to my parents who have taught me how to ski pretty much after I learned walking, at only three years old. Today, I would not want to imagine my (winter) life in Austria without boarding & carving at least once a season. I’M LOVING IT!
Happy New Year to all of you!
May 2014 fill you with many more happy, informative & inspiring travel moments here on my Creativelena Travel Blog. “Prosit” – So it may be!