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Alpine Pasture Stories: Fallerschein Alpe in Lechtal Valley/Namlostal
Fallerschein is a great place to visit, and very accessible in every way: A road with a gentle grade meanders through forest. Suitable for strollers, the road crosses a brook over a tiny bridge after about 45 minutes and you have reached your destination. Really?
Maybe you still feel stressed out and can’t forget your worries. But then you realize that a scenic hike through a beautiful wooded area like this calms your nerves and lifts your spirits. Being out in nature, away from the business of our daily lives and technology, allows you to connect with yourself and nature in a way that brings about peace and a sense of well-being. John Muir was onto something when he said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
40 sun-bleached timbered cabins: Up to the early 17th century, Fallerschein was inhabited year-round.
Situated at an elevation of 1,300 meters above sea level, Fallerschein is the largest Alpine Pasture Village in Tirol. Actually, it is also one of the largest in the Alps. This area of awesome natural beauty is dotted with 40 rustic and sun-bleached log cabins and invites visitors to explore its lovely details up close and personal: Typical cottage panelling with wood shingles, delicate lace curtains, balconies and window boxes bedecked with flowers and elaborately carved Edelweiss flowers. Having marvelled at this meticulous attention to detail, you can gather new strength and refuel at one of two inviting inns. Treat yourself to a refreshing drink at the sunny outdoor patio and forget your worries for a while. By the way, they serve more than just milk fresh from the cow…
You can either opt to stop by “Sennerstüberl“, which is operated by the family of Hans Greuter, or by “Michl’s Fallerscheinstube“, which sensationally achieved second place in a TV ranking of Austria’s best loved mountain inns. Innkeeper Michael Knitel and his wife Melanie from Holzgau know why their guests feel so at ease here: “The mountain scenery and the beauty of nature here are amazing. There’s an ample playground for little ones to romp about and they can caress animals. And everyone can refuel over our hearty homemade food.” Well, that’s true! Their traditional Tirolean staples are mouth-watering. Knowing that Fallerschein is a place without connection to a power grid—instead, generating sets are used to generate electrical energy—it is really astonishing that you can feast on such culinary delicacies here.
Little ones can romp about the spacious playground; big ones can explore the surrounding peaks and mountains.
A Look Back Into the Past
Asked whether time passes by faster or slower up here compared to the valley, Michael’s answer is immediate: “Time flies faster up here!” – “Why?” – “When you do something that you really like or get involved in something very deeply, you forget about the world around you and you feel that the time has gone faster!”
On the other hand, it also seems as if time stands still here at this Alpine Pasture Village. You really get a feeling of what life used to be up here in earlier times: The simple furnishings and amenities, the grazing cattle and the old farming equipment that is still used… It’s a welcome respite from everyday life for visitors. The farmers, however, also see the hard work and the hard times people had up there.
In earlier times, Fallerschein was part of the tiny commune of Namlos. The local people were so poor that they had to sell their Alpine pastures to the village of Stanzach in the early 17th century. At that time, Fallerschein was inhabited year-round. By 1612, most residents left the place for the severe dangers of avalanches. The last farmer moved out in 1629 and went to Stanzach. The families used the cabins in the summer, when they spent eight weeks up there to mow the steep mountain slopes.
A Spiritual Stop with Saint Mary
By the mid-1950s, the first inn opened its doors in Fallerschein and some of the cabins were refurbished in order to accommodate visitors. Today, some of the log cabins are rented out permanently. Five cabins can be rented by guests and the rest are used by the owners themselves. Fallerschein is also home to a beautiful chapel that was erected in 1844 and is dedicated to “Maria zum guten Rate” (“Our Lady of Good Council”).
However, nowadays people tend to get counsel from a therapist instead of Saint Mary. But maybe it’s a good bet to combine the two in order to relieve stress and forget your worries? German neurobiologist Gerald Hüther put it like that: “I’d rather spend a summer up on an Alpine Pasture than a life on Ritalin.” Saint Mary in the chapel seems to nod in approval. That’s what she would tell people too, if asked. After all, she’s an Alpine Pasture Saint.
A Spiritual Stop: The tiny chapel is dedicated to “Maria zum guten Rate” (“Our Lady of Good Council”).
Photo Credits: Jörg Koopmann
Living in the Here-and-Now
It seems as if Saint Mary has also counselled right in the case of Hans Greuter’s family from Tarrenz-Strad, who has been spending their last twelve summers in Fallerschein. The Greuter Family took over from a herdsman in 2005, who quit after two weeks because the work and life up here was too much for him. In 2006, Stefan Greuter leased the Alpine pasture hut with the “Sennerstüberl” Inn. His herd of 61 cows grazes on the lush Alpine pastures together with cattle from local farmers. The fresh milk is driven to Stanzach each day, from where it is taken to the Wildberg Dairy at Reutte.
Stefan’s mother, Rosa Greuter, never had intended to spend so many summers up here on the Alpine pasture hut. By now, she likes it although she spends most of her time in the kitchen as she is busy cooking for guests all day. Asked about how life on the Alpine pasture is, her first answer is a shrug of the shoulders. Then she adds: “If you are here, you are here.” Talking about that state of simply just being, just living in the moment, which comes quite naturally up here where you are removed from the world and experience life in the most simple way. Living truly in the here-and-now that is.
The Alpine Pasture Village of Fallerschein is easily accessible within a 50 minute walk along the road that links Stanzach and Namlos. Learn More.