Isn't It Supposed to Be Winter ..........

Vandans Travel Blog

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Taken from the Pension Garden.
As skiing trips go, most might consider this one a bit of a disaster, (me included for the first 24 hours, you'd have thought Austria in February is a pretty snowsure thing but either El Nino has spread it's wings or there really is some inconvenient truth in this global warning thing, thanks Al Gore!

You may not have heard about the Montafon Valley and wonder why I chose there, well basically because I read an article about it in The Independent, a little off the usual  ski trails, and therefore a little quieter, and I believe everything I read!  Traveling with a non-skiing friend Marilyn, we flew into Salzburg, and having a minor epic trying to confirm my car hire ('You want how much for a deposit?')  Stayed the night in Salzburg, at the Lasserhof Hotel, then caught the train to Vandans, where we were actually staying.
This is Rosemontag festival in Gailenkirch.
  Passed through St Anton on the way, up to our axles in snow, feeling really very optimistic, but unfortunately there wasn't a sniff in the town of Vandans.  I was slightly miffed to put it mildly having lugged a huge ski bag and my boots half way across Europe, but M had a smile a mile wide!

We were staying in a cosy little private Pension (guesthouse) in  Vandans near Schruns.  When we arrived at the station I telephoned the Pension and the friendly owner came out to pick us up.  The place was really very nice, Nichtraucherhaus (non-smoking) Emmi Gastehaus.  They were extremely friendly and helpful, didn't speak a word of English, which made it even more fun!  The rooms were comfortable, clean with a balcony and ensuite shower room.
Actually Vandans, and I'm using the sun to hide.
  Breakfast was included, and a typical continental style, but plenty of it and they responded intuitively to our tastes.  If we left something it didn't appear the next day, anything we ate appeared in abundance!  At 30 euros a night for the room very good value. On the last evening they opened a bottle of red wine and invited us down for a chat, something you don't get in the average hotel!  They did give me their business card, but I've misplaced it, if it turns up, I'll add the details.

There was snow on the slopes higher up, and a few lifts were working, I went up for an afternoon on the first day, but by the evening I skied out all the available slopes, which were a little tame due to the lack of any real snow and was bored, so that was the end of my season for skiing!

The weather was really fantastic though, basically it was an early spring and we were wandering about in t-shirts and getting a tan!  We spent the week exploring the valley, the local towns and trails through the hills.
Tigers on parade, Rosenmontag festival.
  My loss turned out to be Ms gain, as she didn't have to spend so much time in the local bäckerei alone drinking hot chocolate, eating apple strüdel which incidentally was exceptionally good, and reading her way through enough books to stock up a small library.  To be honest I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet little area too.

There are a number of picturesque little towns apart from Vandans itself, they are strung all along the rail track and road that follow the base of the valley.  Starting with Bludenz, the not so pretty town at the beginning of the valley, trust me it gets better! St Anton Im Montafon, Tschagguns, Schruns, St. Gailenkirch, Gaschurn and at the head of the valley Partenen, they seem to get better the further you travel along it. It's possible to travel by train obviously, there's a ski bus running, but the weather was pleasant and quite a few of them were easily within walking distance of our base in Vandans.
There is always time to text home

There are also a number of mountains in the area, skiing without much snow maybe problematic, but without mountains it's nigh impossible without some scaffolding and artificial snow making machines!  They may not be the highest mountains on the Planet but  what they lack in height they more than make up for in pretty views, none too shabby at all.  Golmer Joch, Hochjoch are fairly straightforward walks on strenuous but easy to follow trails and there others which I didn't manage to fit in Zimba, Schwarzhorn, and Valisera, which are very accessible.  Those who are a little more ambitious might want to attempt a trip over the Silvrettahorn and Piz Buin, part of the Silveretta, Hochenalpenstraße both over 3000m and accessible from Bielerhöhe, a day trip with more attitude than altitude, a worthwhile day out all the same.
The climate suits her

Evenings were spent in quiet but pleasant bars and restaurants in the villages around Vandans.  It provided me with ample opportunity to pursue one of my favourite pastimes; finding restaurants that serve great gröstle (a traditional tiroler farmers dish made of sautéed potatoes, onions, speck/bacon served in a pan and topped with a fried egg).  I intend one day to write the definitive guidebook on the best places to find good gröstle, germknodel and possibly gulasch suppe ;).  Actually I make a pretty good gröstle myself, my modesty knows no bounds.

We were there over the Rosenmontag festival, which is celebrated throughout Germany and Austria.  The weekend was really great fun the village centres were amass with colour and music.  Children and adults dressed up in fancy dress, local bands in full regalia, food and drink stands and a chance to enjoy a glühwein or a even a feuerzangenbowle with a bit more of a 'kick'.
Looking chilled

It was a very relaxing week, although some may not consider a trip over the Silvrettahorn and Piz Buin not the most relaxing way to spend a day!  We enjoyed an extremely pleasant last evening sharing a bottle of wine and some rusty german conversation with our hosts, most of which seemed to concentrate on me trying to prise our hosts excellent recipe for apple strüdel out of them, even resorting to opening a special bottle of Blauerburgunder which I had been intending to bring back with me.  they dropped us off at the station again in the morning for our train journey back to Salzburg.  The next day after waking early up with a slightly fuzzy head and a mouth as dry as Ghandi's flip flop, we were dropped off at the station to make the journey back to Salzburg and our onward flight to Liverpool John Lennon airport.

Looking for somewhere in Austria a little off the normal travelled routes?  Try googling Montafon or go straight to you might find just what you're looking for.
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Taken from the Pension Garden.
Taken from the Pension Garden.
This is Rosemontag festival in Gai…
This is Rosemontag festival in Ga…
Actually Vandans, and Im using th…
Actually Vandans, and I'm using t…
Tigers on parade, Rosenmontag fest…
Tigers on parade, Rosenmontag fes…
There is always time to text home
There is always time to text home
The climate suits her
The climate suits her
Looking chilled
Looking chilled
Vandans Hotels & Accommodations review
A Defining Guesthouse
I promised when I originally posted my notes on my trip to the Montafon Valley that if I found the details about the little guesthouse I stayed at the… read entire review
251 km (156 miles) traveled
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photo by: Real_PeaceWarrior