Jakob and Florian have been talking about it for days now: “Mum, how many nights more to sleep before we go off to the mountains?” There was even more excitement and anticipation as we finally departed on Saturday on our family weekend – to St. Peter in Lajen at the entrance to the Gröden Valley, staying at the Haus Gabi.
Irene and Thomas Rabanser welcome us with coffee, pine water and a relaxed warmth. I don’t know where to look first: at the cheerful colours of the flowers all around the House, the modern structure stretching up against the July sky or... Yes! The mountains! Thomas follows my gaze and tells me the name of the impressive summit that will continue to captivate me over the weekend: the Langkofel.
The “Adventure” apartment – the name says it all!
Our apartment is in the new part of the Haus Gabi, built a few years ago, and has the promising name of “Erlebnis” (“Adventure”). Curious, we open the door - and instantly feel perfectly at home. The children frolic in the bedroom with its scents of wood and mountain air, while the grown-ups enjoy the symbiotic contrast of old and new, nature and culture, simple elegance and charming details!
The great outdoors – a playground with a view
Although we would prefer not to have to leave our home for the weekend, at the urging of the kids we go and investigate the playground that they of course spotted as we arrived. They try out their climbing techniques on the swing, slide and sturdy wooden tower, while the adjacent meadow is perfect for exploring. The sight of the “insect hotel” in the garden, respectfully admired by our boys, makes clear to me that this family offers hospitality to every living thing!
An exploratory tour: a storm + pastries for the Gröden feast day = happy days!
We ask Irene and Thomas for a suitable destination for the afternoon and finally opt for a visit to St. Ulrich, a village just a few kilometres away. We stroll through the narrow streets, eating ice cream in the high summer temperatures. As woodcarving has been a firm part of the everyday life of most families here for centuries, you can sense this tradition on every corner - or even window…
We round off the day with a delicious pizza and craft-brewed hemp beer in a restaurant with stunning views in Tschöfas, a hamlet a little above Lajen. A sudden storm causes us to head for home, where a plate of Gröden festival pastries awaits us. All four of us snuggle together and enjoy these poppy seed-filled delicacies and a spectacular summer thunderstorm in the mountains. Mmmm!
Yet more to enjoy…
After a good night’s sleep, our eyes almost pop out of our heads at the sight of the wonderful breakfast trays that Irene offers us with a cheerful smile. Fruit and berries, eggs, organic juices, fresh mint from the garden, Irene’s homemade cherry jam, a vast selection of rolls and so on – what a treat!
Irene and Thomas enthusiastically list several walks that are also suitable for small children: we thus bid them farewell as we set off for a day’s walking. Anticipation is mingled with regret, as it is not easy to say goodbye to our “aventöra” (adventure) at the Haus Gabi after such a short time. And, after a few kilometres, we unanimously decide that we will be coming back!