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Valley Life: Villgratental
Interconnected ski areas. None. Multiple star-bearing hotel palaces, indoor pool and spa facilities. No. One action-packed event after another to make sure you never get bored? Is also not offered by the “Villgrater” folk. There isn’t really anything in Villgratental. Or rather, there is everything that you actually need. And nowadays they make something extremely good and extraordinary out of the ordinary. You must only be able to withstand the fact that you yourself are an entity capable of having thoughts, the act of slowing down and be willing to enter into intensive discussions with the high alpine nature.
The Villgratental comprises of the villages of Ausservillgraten and Innervillgraten. All houses in the valley are numbered consecutively, districts and addresses are called “Ebene – Level“, “Gasse – Alley“ or simply “Dorf – Village“. Nothing more is needed. A population of almost 1,800 residents is scattered over this high valley with its steep meadows and picturesque (farm) houses, whose weathered wooden facades tell ancient stories. Stories of patience, perseverance and a deeply rooted and healthy attachment to the native soil. Stories of stubbornness and mistrust of everything new, strangers. Stories of a sense of security where everyone knows everybody and all are Catholic, and stories of almost autistic narrow-mindedness, where the unfamiliar is frowned upon in thought, word and deed.
A population of almost 1,800 resident is scattered over this high valley with its steep meadows and picturesque (farm) houses, whose weathered wooden facades tell ancient stories.
Traditional characteristics that can be either very good or quite disturbing in equal measure. Then there are the “Sons of Villgratental” – unconventional thinkers, the creative minds, the people who look beyond the aptly named Hohen Tauern. Writer, teacher and historian, Johannes E. Trojer (1935-1991), for example. Andreas Schett and his colleagues from the internationally renowned “Musicbanda Franui“ Ensemble. “Villgrater Natur“ sheep’s wool paradise by Josef Schett. And the young fashion designer, Bernd Mühlmann.
Josef Schett processes the wool from 70,000 sheep every year at his ”Villgrater Natur“ Company in Innervillgraten – equivalent to one third of Austria’s entire sheep wool production.
This summer, I wrote about the various Tirolean valleys and told stories of so much life in so little space in the series “Valley Life„. I want to introduce visitors from all over the world to Tirol and open local people’s eyes to the very special aspects of their otherwise familiar environment.