Bludenz/ Silbertal/ Tschugguns : Return to Lake Silbertal?
Bludenz Travel Blog› entry 21 of 268 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.