Bludenz/ Silbertal/ Tschugguns : Return to Lake Silbertal?

Bludenz Travel Blog

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WARNING! : This entry may contain semi-nudity, photographic pointlessness and  traces of (being) nuts.


Deeper into the Tyrol region today.  A morning train to Bludenz where I encounter my first Tourist Information Office angel.  Within 10 minutes of arriving in Bludenz I have an affordable private room booked for the night, my train times to Schruns in the Montafon region (about 12km south) and the connecting bus times from Schruns to a mountain village called Silbertal where I hope to make a return to an important scenic slice of family history.

  Lake Silbertal!


The Montafon region of Austria is where on two or three occasions as a young family the Weselbys would come and spend a couple of beautiful summer weeks sizzling in the alpine sun amidst the beautiful Tyrol scenery.  So today is quite a return.  It’s been at least 16 - 18 years since I was last here.  I’m really not sure.  For good measure whilst waiting for the Montafonerbahn (train) to Schruns I purchase my ticket to Davos, Switzerland for the following day.


I arrive in Schruns JUST in time to get the next bus out to the village of Silbertal and arrive in Silbertal JUST moments before the final cable car ascends Kristberg before the mittagspause (lunch break)… “I love it when a plan comes together!!!”… but waiiiiiit a minute!  Something just doesn’t quite feel right here.

Montafon mountains.
  I have a splinter in my mind as I ascend in the Kristbergbahn and it’s itching. I KNOW it was a long time ago when last we as a family sought to stroll around Lake Silbertal (a large milky expanse of water caught high up in the Montafon mountains) but this particular ride up the mountain just ain’t ringing any (cow)bells in my memory whatsoever and I somehow feel it should even after all these years.  Everybody nodded at me reassuringly when I pointed up the mountain and asked “Lake Silbertal?” but I fear now something’s been lost in the translation both of my memory and my words.


The map at the top station of the Kristbergbahn (at a mere 1,430 metres) suggests no significant bodies of water anywhere near here and a quick enquiry of some fellow Kristbergbahn hikers later and I am able to unravel this poor riddle of memory.  Despite the fact my sister and I have ALWAYS fondly remembered stories and viewed photographs of a mountain lake we referred to as ‘Lake Silbertal’, in fact no such place exists to my dismay!  Somehow the village and the lake have become conflated through the prism of our distant childhood memories.

  Studying the chap’s map I am now fairly certain it is ‘Silvrettasee’ (Lake Silvretta) that was supposed to be the focus of my efforts today and that’s forkin’ miles away on the other side of the Montafon region 2,000 metres up a whoooooole different chunk of rock!  Ah man!  “What-a-mistake-a-to-make-a!”


Oh well, maybe that can wait ‘til tomorrow?  But I already have my ticket outta town to Davos!  Hmmmm?…  anyhow, for the time being no point moping about this cruel trick of collective memory.  That’ll teach me for not researching things properly!  There are many walks fanning out from the top of the Kristbergbahn and I opt for a safe, sensible 2 and a half hour stroll gently back down through the valley to Schruns.

Which way to go (being as I started at the wrong frickin' place anyway! LOL
  It’s ANOTHER sunny scorcher of a day although the slight milky mist haze of Innsbruck & Salzburg persists here also.  I have learnt my lesson from yesterday though (I was right royally roasted despite the sun barely making an appearance through the clouds!) so although the top comes off ("Calm yourselves ladies!") the sun-block slap comes on in large quantities.  Oooo just look at my milky-white, greasy magnificence as I descend into the vale! Aaaaanyway


It’s a beautiful, beautiful walk back to Schruns.  Memories, sensory or otherwise come flooding back.  The sound of cowbells clanging.  That fresh, clean Alpine air.

A view down to Silbertal.
  The fresh but not so pleasing aroma of fly-swaddled cow crap.  The woodpiles. The grasshoppers and flies and summer blooms.  The waters that run down the mountainside and are caught temporarily in manmade troughs before spilling over and being permitted to continue their way down into the valley.  The bright, bright hazy sunshine and pine cones to be kicked over the edge into oblivion (or onto someone’s head) by fidgety inconsiderate boys (like me).


Once back in Schruns at 700 metres (via Innerberg 1,151m and Bartholomäberg 1,087m) I do some proper questioning at the tourist office and come up with a plan that could see me comfortably back into the Montafon tomorrow, up to and around Lake Silvretta, back into Bludenz and STILL make a train to Davos tomorrow!  Ambitious and slightly crazy yes, but I reckon it’s gonna work.

  The man in the office warns me though that in the coming days bad weather is forecast.  Rain and even snow (!?!).  The Sunshine Kid is not phased by this!  Still the walk around Lake Silbertal…”alright, alright already!”… LAKE SILVRETTA right from the word go has been almost the most important destination of the early itinerary on my world trip.  A genuine family pilgrimage that I feel I must complete whatever the weather.  But tomorrow is another day, so we shall see.


For now I hop one stop  by train from Schruns to the next village along, a quiet little place called Tschagguns and it is right here just up the road from the Spar shop (that remains almost entirely unchanged!) that the Weselby Clan would stay in a flat facing the mountains that belonged to Austrian friends of the family all those years ago.

  A real moment of deep nostalgia for me.  It’s hard to be 100% sure that this is the place (and today has been a day for fickle memories) but in my heart I know we were here.  There’s the low-lying curb stone wall that runs along the length of the car park.  Dad, sat upon it once fixing a bike for Katie or I was bitten so darned hard by a red ant as he worked that he leapt right up and I just about thought he was going to swear and curse until The End of Days!! His leg swelled up almost as red and angry as he.  “Ho Boy!” could my dad swear if the situation suited - usually induced by frustrations from minor D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) tasks around the home. “Just Jobs” as they used to be called.  If not entirely going to plan these could draw forth frankly inspirational constructions of expletives from my father’s mouth.  A real Poet Laureate for the four letter word!  A master of the creatively conjured curse.
  To some extent I have followed in this vein, and I occasionally refer to myself as possessing certain words of the angels, but the tongue of a devil.  Yes, I avoid D.I.Y!


I sit in town and have a beer.  A toast to my family in times past, when we were an unbroken circle.  I write a postcard to my grandmother whilst sat with a bunch of the middle-aged local soaks who joke that I’m writing to a sweetheart back home.  I muster just enough German to explain it’s only to my granny, and not a beautiful young lady that I’m scribbling to (although Granny of course you are beautiful in your ways).  I’m not sure what they say next, but the eruption of laughter indicates something bawdy at my expense no doubt.

Brits abroad. Always ruining the aesthetic appeal of anywhere they go ;D
 And why not :)


As I sit and wait for the train home from Tschagguns, as if to prove the words of the Tourist Office, large clammy fingers of moist mountain fog and cloud are beginning to clutch the tops and midriffs of the mountains and claw their cumulous way down towards the village threateningly.  Dark clouds glide swiftly into place, right before your eyes as if orchestrated or directed in some 2D dramatic Japanese anime, Manga movie and literally as I scribble these very thoughts a solitary lightening bolt cracks into the mountainside to my right and thunder reverberates throughout the valley.  It rains heavily for the remainder of my journey home and for the not insubstantial walk from Bludenz station to my bed for the night.  But I had my day in the sun.  The weather talisman is broken yet the Sunshine Kid sleeps soundly all the same.

Stevie_Wes says:
LOL, yep I reckon so :) I forgot about the fact that the storms used to clatter in at night back in the day. Good memory sis. I must have had my head in a mole hole ;D
Posted on: Oct 15, 2008
Ladywes says:
Wow... what a day for memories. Wish I'd been there with you. I miss the sound of cow bells on the mountains.
Sounds like you had the perfect Tschagguns day...the sunshine was always chased away by storms in the evening. We used to love watching them at night. The lightening bolt was just waving to an old friend ; )
Posted on: Oct 14, 2008
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Montafon mountains.
Montafon mountains.
Which way to go (being as I starte…
Which way to go (being as I start…
A view down to Silbertal.
A view down to Silbertal.
Brits abroad.  Always ruining the …
Brits abroad. Always ruining the…
Stop lookin at my butt! (f**king…
"Stop lookin' at my butt! (f**kin…
More Montafon mountains.
More Montafon mountains.
A river runs through Tschagguns.
A river runs through Tschagguns.
A view of the car park/ flats wher…
A view of the car park/ flats whe…
Tschagguns church.
Tschagguns church.
Some threatening clouds head our w…
Some threatening clouds head our …
Awaiting the train back to Bludenz…
Awaiting the train back to Bluden…
photo by: Stevie_Wes