Since spending our very first Christmas and New Year here together in 1985, Filzmoos - 70km south of Salzburg - has become a regular travel destination for us. The proximity to the Dachstein Glacier provides a reliable snow guarantee but Filzmoos is a truly wonderful place for all nature fans all year round.
Fancy a trip to the mountains with me? Okay, off we go!
As the saying goes: There’s no sin on top of the mountains…
The so-called “Wanderbus” takes you quickly up to the Oberhofalm – and of course there is also an Unterhofalm… More sporty holidaymakers can reach this little gem either hiking or cycling which will earn your a medal! Families with children and older tourists often opt for a horse-drawn carriage or one of the more rustic contraptions pulled up the sometimes steep road behind a tractor.
My tip: Don’t miss a visit to the Fiakerwirt in the heart of Filzmoos.
A Hearty Snack or “VESPER” is always popular in the mountains!
And soooo amazingly generous! We enjoyed three tasty types of local cheeses on top a thickly buttered slice of chunky bread. Usually in this region all products are organic - just the way I like it.
This is considered a small in-between snack and called Kas Jause.
What a lovely view!
And the fresh air is hard to beat, too! In Austria I learned that oxygen is actually our largest “food stuff”. We consume far more “air” than food and drink every day. Good to keep in mind.
Money makes the World go around…
Even at high altitudes people need to make a buck. This pretty and very inviting Souvenir Shop has been erected at a very strategic place. It is never too late to get a picture postcard or two...
Filzmoos is beautiful in winter and in summer. Go and see for yourselves.
The friendly managing director of the Filzmoos Touristikverband, Eva Salchegger, and her team are always happy to advise us tourists what to do and where to go. Eva grew up in Filzmoos and knows the area inside out.
These fun hot-air balloons are a highlight every January and due to my busy TV schedule I kept missing this event but a new life is looming and I'd love to go up.
I loved this great motto or little poem from the moment I spotted it on the wall of the Filzmoos School in December 1985. It’s so true and I can really identify with it. Our hotel - Haus Essl - has a good view of the school and on some mornings I could see two little Essl Boys running up the hill in the morning for their classes.
Knowledge is power!
Time flies when you're having fun!
My oh my - that’s me at 21!
Uh-oh - pretty much every photo with a cigarette… ts ts. And here in deep soft powder snow behind our Hotel Alpenkrone, which belonged to the brother of the British actress Susan Hampshire and his nice wife Rosi. We saw Susan one year arriving for a family wedding. One cannot say “nichts los in Filzmoos”… i.e. nothing much happens in the country.
It is an honour and my pleasure to introduce you now to der First Lady von Filzmoos: Brigitte Totschnig-Habersatter. She is a very charming and competent hostess. Following her successful downhill and slalom career (Brigitte was an Olympic medallist and won umpteen World Cups and races), she opened her comfy and aptly named Aparthotel Olympia right next to the Großberg Ski Lift in 1979. We always enjoy our time with Gitti (and the good food).
In the background you see an engraving by Gitti’s father who was a versatile artisan. All three Totschnig Girls were excellent skiers with Gitti as Number One!
My “Dirndl” dress was a fun birthday gift and purchased for a photo shoot for HSE24 from the lively Frau Ledl who owns a shop with traditional costume in Filzmoos. A treasure-trove - or trap! - for Alpine Chic. She had a lot of fun helping me get dressed as it takes practise and patience with all these buttons and bows… (I lacked both plus the obligatory fuller upper body parts). We had a good few laughs during this “session”.
Right on top of my culinary wish list when being in this part of the world is without doubt Sauerkraut with Semmel- or Kartoffelknödel - bread or potato dumplings. Even on a hot summer day I manage to devour these rare delicacies with gusto and a BIG smile afterwards.
Insider Gourmet Tip: At the Fiakerwirt there is a “Knödelgeheimnis” on the menu… Top Secret!
Along with a good rest you can also eat healthy and heartily at the Dachsteinruhe at Sofia's, slightly outside Filzmoos near Hachau. Here you can even catch your trout fresh from a pond - their smoked trout is famous. Within minutes of chatting we found out that Sofia and I had more in common than just foody fads. We were both diagnosed with breast cancer and hope to be fortunate enough to put this dark chapter behind us.
The quaint and quirky Pongauer Perchtenlauf is not only popular with tourists.
The so-called “Perchten” come in two groups: First the good Schönperchten you see here (schön is German for beautiful - yes, really!) and then the other lot the bad Schiechperchten. Most important implements for all these Perchten are brooms and bells. According to folklore, both will help facilitate getting rid of the evil spirits of winter and winter itself. So it's a bit like our modern day crackers and jumping jacks on New Year's Eve.
Perchten appear between Christmas and New Year Weihnachten to ensure all local rules re: food, cleanliness and work are strictly obeyed. However, while the naughty and noisy Schiechperchten only pop up in large numbers after dark, the good Schönperchten can be seen during the day wishing the villagers luck and heavenly blessings. This all ends on 5th January with the Glöcklertag (literally the "day of bells”). Then on 6th January people celebrate Three Kings Day.
Holidays are the Best Time of Year!
How pleasant - sipping a good cup of Darjeeling Tea in the pretty Unterhof Hotel gardens by the pool. There is a plaque on the older part of the Unterhof buildings reminding us of the German writer and poet Agnes Miegel. Her maternal ancestors left this farm for East Prussia as part of the Salzburger Protestants and Agnes wrote about their new home and history.
My trendy Austrian blouse is a new holiday souvenir from - you’ve guessed it - the nice shop of good Frau Ledl…
Hey, Holiday Girl - Press the Pedal!
This cute Cinque-Cento “bubble car” belongs to Hotel Happy Filzmoos - next to the Olympia.
THUNDER & LIGHTNING!
Okay, my talented travel companion and photographer has slightly modified this photo (he has an eye for detail) but it was actually taken only a few minutes before a big thunderstorm which can be fairly dangerous so high up in the mountains. We walked back to the hut through a massive downpour.
I think the landscape looks so impressive and dramatic.
Here Filzmoos is revealing a very different kind of beauty to us.
The name “Viltzmoos” is recorded for the first time in 1272. Our lively taxi-driver Veronika from
Taxi-Jäger who picked us up from Salzburg Airport explained that this name results from the many high moors in this area. Filzmoos’ picturesque little church was opened and blessed by the Bishop of Chiemsee in October 1474 and the regionally famous pilgrimage to Filzmoos’ little boy Jesus goes back to 1507. As we have learned over the 32 years of visiting, Filzmoos is a place of local history and many traditions.
Small wonder, the Mayor of Filzmoos, Johann Sulzberger, has been overseeing the well-being of his citizens for three decades now with a strong sense of duty and remarkable know-how.
We also made our traditional visit to the Fiakerwirt. For us the heart and soul of this very special place has always been Sepp, who looked after us with a great sense of humour and a charming twinkle in his eye. We were quite taken back when he told us he had retired. He will be missed!!!
I am already looking forward to coming back to Filzmoos in autumn and seeing our Filzmoos Friends.