Monday, 25 July 2016

Haflingers & Schnapps

Schwendau is a beautiful little village in the Zillertal region of Austria lying in the middle of a fertile valley. It is criss-crossed by pathways through flower strewn alpine meadows and completely surrounded mountains.
one of several panoramic views from our balcony
The nearest shop was a 30 minute walk - a farming community whose men would meet in our chalet hotel most evenings to drink and socialise. Apart from the hotel, there was a young man making schnapps, fine brandy and sweet liqueurs from the local fruit.
Needless to say a bottle of delicious Apricot liqueur travelled back home with us.
 There was a breeder of Haflingers nearby. Do you know what Haflingers are? I know that my blogging friend Gina does.  
Apart from the Haflingers he also breeds these lovely big friendly dogs called Bernese mountain dogs. This is mum and these are her eight adoreable puppies.
Tyrolean Haflingers are beautiful mountain horses - pale chestnut in colour with flaxen manes and tails. The breed traces its uncertain ancestry back to the Middle Ages.  There are two main theories - the first is that they descended from horses abandoned in the Tyrolean valleys by Goths fleeing from Byzantine troops after the fall of Conze in 555 AD. The second theory is that they descended from a stallion from the Kingdom of Burgundy sent to Margrave Louis of Brandenburg by his father, Louis lV, the Holy Roman Emperor.  
the foals have curly manes and tails which become straight as they mature
This Tiroler Bergschaf sheep was the young distillery owners pride and joy - that is apart from his beautiful wife. A strange looking Tyrolean mountain sheep, but this is no ordinary sheep for he is a big prize winner. He would tower over other sheep as he has very, very long legs
Living all alone whilst waiting for another competition show day, he has five rabbits to keep him company. He wanted us to keep stroking him and was reluctant to let us go but.....















the mountain views from our other balcony were calling. This is the Ahornspitze rising to 2976m which conjured up fond memories for H. He went to Austria as a teenager with a walking group. However, on arrival he met an older experienced German climber who invited H to join him climb the Ahornspitze. They spent two days together getting to the top and back which included a night in a climbing hut. H recalls that in the hut was a long raised platform made from rustic wooden boards which everyone spending the night slept on whilst using their rucksacks as pillows - there were at least 12 others bedded down on the rack for the night. Today I imagine that the facilities are rather more sophisticated for the weary tired climber, but we wouldn't be checking them out for ourselves. The chair lifts would take us up and the long valley walks suffice. 
Thank you for your thoughtful comments on the previous post which I enjoyed reading on my return♡

42 comments:

  1. Oh yes, Austrian countrylife has only genuine things to offer.Riding on a haflinger, tasting a homemade schnapp, breathing the fresh Alpine air and enjoying those spectacular mountain views, what a marvelous way to spend the summer holidays. Austria is the country of my childhood vacations, I flippin love it!
    Thank you for those gorgeous pictures and interesting information Rosemary!

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    1. We used to take our sons to Austria, Switzerland, or Bavaria every year when they were young to walk and climb in the Alps - happy times

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  2. Wow, such a visual treat, your post has quite made my morning.
    Jean

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    1. Thank you Jean - glad you enjoyed it

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  3. Oh, you have been in Austria, Rosemary - what a special place. Not only is it very beautiful, but you have given us lots of interesting information as well. The horses are so unusual with their attractive fair hair, and the scenery is incredible. It made me think of the time when my (then) young self and HB appeared in the chorus of a production of the show White Horse Inn, pretending we were Austrians for weeks!

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    1. I can picture you now Patricia kitted out in your dirndl and HB wearing lederhosen!

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  4. Austria is very beautiful, have been there many times too, even had an Austrian born mother in law. Living in a flat country I am always excited to see mountains.

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    1. I love the sea but deep down I am mostly a valley and mountain person

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  5. Looks so cool - just what I need today. Bernese Mountain dogs are my favourite breed. If they could adapt to high temperatures I'd bring one out.

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    1. It was hot and the radiation from the sun was very strong high up in the mountains.
      The Bernese Mountain dogs are now firmly number one with me too. I could have scooped up those lovely puppies and carried them back home with me.

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  6. Dear Rosemary, what a wonderful trip you must have had. You did take one of those cute puppies home with you. didn't you?
    What a wonderful group of photographs you have shared with us. You always see the world with a different eye, a different angle. We have been to that part of the world many times and always are astounded at its beauty.
    I was wondering where you were off to. You picked a special place to visit at these turbulent times.

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    1. Dear Gina - if only I could have taken one of the those appealing puppies home in my bag.
      You are right it was an excellent place to escape - the news at the moment seems to be in continual turmoil. The TV in Austria is hopeless so we are only just slowly catching up with world affairs.

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  7. What wonderful photos. It's been many a year since we've been to Austria. Love the Bernese Mountain Dog, if we should ever get a dog that's just the sort we'd want.

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    1. We have visited many areas in the Alps but it was several years ago now. It was lovely to be reminded of just how beautiful Austria is.

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  8. Rosemary you made gorgeous photos of Austrian countrylife. I have been to Austria several times when our children were younger. At this moment my daughter is on walking holidays in Switzerland with her husband and children. Your mountainviews are beautiful but as an animal lover I'm fond of the Berner Sennen dogs (actually I see them often here in our neigbourhood) and then the Haflingers, beautiful mountain horses which we also see in our neighbourhood, but nevertheless I just love these cute faces of them. And what about that prize winning sheep, is n't he beautiful.....
    Thank you for sharing photos of these cuties.

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    1. Dear Janneke - I am very touched by your kind comment - I do hope that your daughter and family are enjoying a lovely holiday in the Swiss mountains too.
      I loved those cute little puppies, and would have really liked to bring one home with me.

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  9. Rosemary, it was definitely worth the wait to find out where you went, such a beautiful part of Austria. Love all the photos of the scenery and handsome animals, and those pups are adorable and of course we all would like one, haha!
    The sheep is very unusual and must be lonely - fancy him wanting you to pet him - and such strange bedfellows, bunnies!!! Looked like great weather to view the majestic scenery - know you enjoyed it all.

    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Dear Mary - Getting away from the awful world news to a place without 'proper' TV really was escapism for us - we have been shocked at what has been happening in our absence.
      Coming across unexpected delights is what often adds to a holiday for us, and I will never forget that strange but rather delightful sheep.

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  10. I'm pleased you had an enjoyable vacation. The village where you stayed looks idyllic with breathtaking mountain scenery. Those puppies are adorable. I'm glad the sheep who needed some human company got your attention and the horses are beautiful. The horse and carriage looks like a good way to get around the village. A lovely photo of the family from the village with the scenery in the background where I'm sure there must have been some good trails for hiking.

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    1. Wonderful to hear from you Linda, and do hope that things have been going well for you during my absence. Yes, you are right we had some wonderful treks and enjoyed our lunchtime bread rolls on various different mountain tops.

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  11. Ah, the wonders of the internet and the variety Bloggers bring to the computer screen each day! My previous read was about Mississippi and now these wonderful photographs from Austria. Superb scenery and beautiful horses.

    Ms Soup

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    1. Thank you very much Ms Soup, and I couldn't agree with you more - the wonders of the internet are magnificent to behold.
      I too was delighted to have an introduction to these gorgeous Austrian animals, but from our previous visits knew how magnificent the scenery is.

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  12. There is no flower arrangement quite like Austrian and German balcony planters. The colours, from both ends of the spectrum, are so wonderfully vibrant. I once asked a neighbour how she kept her balcony planters so lush and gorgeous and she responded 'guano'. It's not something readily available in Canadian garden centres!
    What a lovely holiday you must have had. The views reminded me of past holidays in the Pongau region.

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    1. I kept my eye on the owner of the first balcony photograph shown here - he watered daily but I was surprised at the small amount of water that he actually dribbled into them - the weather was extremely hot too. I am only aware of guano being used in agriculture here.

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  13. HI Rosemary...
    Hope you are enjoying your Summer...and by the looks of these beautiful photographs, I think you are!
    You sure take a lot of beautiful trips...
    enjoy the rest of your Summer...we are melting over here...for weeks!!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Hello Linda - it is lovely to hear from you - my SiL will be very happy that you are having very hot weather in Toronto.
      I will pop over and see you soon, I have missed seeing my favourite little Canadian - Miss V ♡

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  14. The Haflingers have a proud lineage. They look so pretty with those pale blond manes. Your photos of Austria's mountains have me almost sniffing the fresh alpine air. What a wonderful place to escape the horrors of the real world for a short time.

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    1. Yes, you are right Lorrie, returning back to reality was something I could have done without - whatever is going on in our world today? all the values I grew up with seem to have been turned on their head.

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  15. Dearest Rosemary,
    Indeed, that is a very lovely region and it offers lots of special things.
    Glad you enjoyed it!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Thank you Mariette - it was a delightful week filled with beauty.

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  16. Yes, I know what a Haflinger is - but never saw them so beautifully photographed! And the dogs: cute!! They have the ideal surroundings to live in. I am sure you with think back with glee when drinking an Aprikosengeist.

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    1. Dear Britta - the TV in Austria is so awful that we had no idea what had been happening in the world whilst we were away - it was a shock to discover on our return from this paradise.
      I should have guessed that you would know what a Haflinger was♡ - I knew about the breed but had never seen then in the flesh.

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  17. What a treat to see those lovely flowers cascading from the chalet balconies, as well as the beautiful Austrian countryside. Everything has such clarity. You must have enjoyed the clean fresh air and sunshine.
    Thank you for sharing these lovely scenes of the country and beautiful animals.

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    1. Thank you Betty - I am so pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos.

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  18. What an enjoyable post. I seem to always come away with new knowledge Rosemary when I read your blog. thank you.

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed it Janey - do hope that things are improving with your husband.

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  19. I haven't been to Austria for many years and your photos are beautiful - so clear. I love the flowers on the balconies and all the animals of course. The dogs really are gorgeous and the prize-winning sheep looks quite a character. I love the idea of walking in mountains, although I haven't done this for such a long time I'm not sure how I'd get on. Still, I like to think about climbing up easily!

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    1. We used to go to the tops of the mountains, but the lower slopes suit us better
      these days. It is always possible to go up on a chair lift and then walk down, or just wander up into the valleys and forests.

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  20. Oh so beautiful, just love Austria!
    Titti

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  21. One of the countries I've always wanted to visit. Thanks so much for this little tour. I'm sharing this over on my Facebook page.

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    1. Glad that you liked seeing these photos from Austria Yvette - if you can ever manage to visit I am sure that you would enjoy it too.

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