Posted on June 29, 2010
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir
Saturday, we hopped in the car and set off for Austria, for a day of hiking the Alps. To feel the colors, breathe the views, experience a moment in paradise. As I sit now in my writing chair, the views we saw, the whole Alps experience seems surreal and impossible, in the grandest sense of both words.
Dreaming up driving to the Alps from Prague just for the day sounds like the old saying: “You can’t get there from here.” But we can. And did. I’m so glad I brought my camera to prove it to myself.
The difference between Austria and Czech could not be more stark, though they are neighbors. Compared to Austria and its sunny disposition, Czech Republic still frowns from its years under Soviet communism. Austria’s optimism seems to bring an extra sunshine at the border. We ventured to the Salzburg Lakes region, near Wolfgangsee to the town of St. Gilgen.
From there, we rode a cable car to the next peak, high above St. Gilgen. With some of the world’s most amazing views, we ate at the Hut. Clouds scraped our heads as they passed, and cowbells clanked from the herd grazing on the steep meadow below.
At the peak meadow, paragliders took flight in throngs around us.
And we hiked trails winding among peaks, and stood in awe.
My belief still stands that the Austrian Alps are the closest place to paradise I’ve ever experienced. Where else does heaven meet earth in such a grand fashion, where humans and nature have coexisted for centuries … where paragliders fly, and sailors grab at wind, and hikers may tread among clouds and meadows?
Can the Alps be more beautiful?
Truly, we not only gained the impossible view of the world, from Austria’s eternal beauty, but gained hearts filled and refreshed. These images will have to remind me until the next time we venture … to the Alps.
Starting the Conversation: Do you have a favorite place to hike, walk, or experience nature?