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RAURIS, AUSTRIA IN THE SUMMER

Rauris, Austria is snuggled in a valley of the Tauern Mountains. The small village is well-known throughout Europe for its skiing facilities. The villagers formed a co-op about 30 years ago to build a chairlift on the nearby Fuschertal mountain. The village retains its charm, despite the many pensions, "Zimmer Frei" and hotels that have popped up to accommodate the skiers. I made a visit in the summer and discovered the Alpine beauty of the region. The National Forest abounds in hiking trails and the villages in the valley promote other tourist attractions.



Schnapsbrennerei

In the Alps, the natives make "Obstler" (fruit schnaps) from just about anything. Just up the road from Rauris is the Gasthof Kirchenwirt, where they have a commercial distillery. Herr Winkler invites us into his tasting room.

Obstler

Bottles and bottles of Obstler, including Pear, Peach, and even a "medicinal" product made from the roots of the Entian plant.

Distillery

Herr Winkler and his assistant demonstrate the pot still used to create Obstler.

Alpine Valley

The drive to Gasthof Ammerehof and lunch skirts this beautiful alpine valley.

Sonnblick

The weather observatory on Sonnblick (elevation 3106 meters) is the highest continuously operated weather station in the world. This cable tram brings supplies to the station from the Gasthof Ammerehof (built 1897) at the end of the road from Rauris. Visitors (and workers!) to the station must hike about 10 miles (and 1400 meters elevation) to reach the station.

Hike to Erlehenalm

We took a short hike from Ammerhof after lunch to visit Erlehenalm, the summer home of the Resch family. They live here with their herd of cows during the summer months. The milk is processed into cheese at the cabin.

Cheese Cellar

A visit to the cellar of the Resch family cabin where they age the cheeses made upstairs in the cabin. Wheels just taken from the mold are on the table; on the shelves are cheeses up to 30 days old. Some smoked meats hang from hooks.

Resch Cabin

We shared some Obstler in the main room of the Resch cabin. Lighting is from a kerosene lantern--the have neither power nor running water. Four generations of the family stay here during the summer months.

Ammerehof

Back to the 21st century, electricity, roads and a farewell to Ammerehof.

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