Friday, October 23, 2015

Floating in the Clouds Atop Leogang's Asitz Mountain

A good friend of mine studied abroad in Austria while we were in college. When she came back to school after living there for a semester, the thing I remember most is that she said, "Wunderbar!" a lot. (She also taught us how to wear our scarves the way Europeans do, and I still think of her every time I wrap myself up that way.)

When my eyes first saw those Austrian Alps as we drove from Munich during our summer trip, I finally understood what that wunderbar! nonsense was all about. I can't think of a better way to describe those majestic mountains. They are truly full of wonder in every possible way.

The mountain view from the top of the Asitz mountain in Leogang was without a doubt the most breathtaking landscape I've ever seen. Perhaps my feelings toward it is due in part to the fact that the morning started out wet and foggy. We thought there was a good chance we'd take the gondola to the top, only to be completely surrounded by cloud cover. Maybe there's something to the "playing hard to get" philosophy because I'm fairly certain that's what the mountain was doing to us as we made our way toward the top. But Asitz did not let us down, and the skies partially cleared just as we arrived at the summit.

In fact, the clouds and fog teased us all day as we explored. They added just enough mystery and intrigue as they floated in and out of our line of sight to make the views seem even more majestic and thrilling. Each time I looked up or aimed my camera across the skies, the view had changed and looked even better than it had moments before.

Next week, I'll write more about how family friendly the Austrian Alps are. But just to give you a taste, as if the view alone wouldn't be worth it, we got to experience a thrilling toboggan run and eat an incredible home-cooked meal at the top of Asitz. We also spent about an hour hiking through the beautiful, largely undisturbed forest there.

We then took the gondola back down halfway. At the mid-point of the mountain, there was an enormous play space, full of natural elements like a babbling brook and more, which my children easily spent a couple of hours exploring.

At the end of the day, as we sat down to dinner back at our rented apartment in neaby Saalbach, the only word I could think to describe what we'd seen in Austria and those mountains was, you guessed it, wunderbar!

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