Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Saalbach's Kohlmais: Where Mountain Dreams Come True

It was hard to gauge how family friendly our summer trip to Austria was going to be. I thought my kids would be in awe of the mountain landscape, something very foreign for this Midwestern family. And they were. (Read my post about our time on Asitz Mountain in Leogang here.)

But I also figured that moment of wonder would last about 30 seconds, and I was right.

What would we do after the enthusiasm died away? I knew we'd still hike... we always do on outdoorsy trips, and we always manage to find a way to keep the kids' legs moving and spirits up, though sometimes we have to get creative so motivation doesn't wane. As we made our way up the Kohlmais Mountain in Saalbach via gondola, we pointed out interesting sights to the kids, trying to get them excited about discoveries they'd want to make as we made our way back down on foot.

But we needn't have bothered, because lucky for us, the mountain did all that work for us by creating the most engaging and fun children's trail we've ever experienced, called Montelino's Adventure Path.

Not only we were treated to some of the most magnificent views of my life all along the trail, but we got to enjoy play area after activity station after sports challenge, on and on and on as we made our way down the mountain.

The stops along the way weren't the least bit intrusive. Rather, they blended in nicely in a natural way. For example, at one station we threw pine cones at a rope target, and then collected our cones back into beautiful baskets for the next hikers to have a turn. No obnoxious neon colored plastic slides or rubber padding in sight. In fact, they blended in so well that we never even noticed them when we peered down at the mountain from the gondola.

Also, I'm a sucker for lunch with a view.

(What I love more than anything in this photo is that it showcases Little Arrow's undying love for spaghetti bolognese, which he ordered every single time we went out to eat on this week-long trip, no exaggeration.)

If I had to craft my perfect family travel day, it would include views like this, crisp mountain air all around, whiffs of weiner schnitzel and freshly baked pretzels floating by. I can't see how it gets any better than this for families.