Good Morning Tirol
Photos: Lene Harbo Pederson & Jört Koopmann
7.53 A.M. On the mooooove! Cows cross the village of Forchach early in the morning.
Seeing the sun rise over the mountains. Smelling the fresh air. Hearing the rooster's cry. Greeting a fellow early riser with a friendly "Servus!". Tirol has lots of good reasons to make the most of the morning. Our hommage to a time of day with more to offer than you might imagine.
Maybe it's the rhythm of the mountains? Maybe it's the history of farming? Maybe it's just a case of collective insomnia? Whatever the reason, Tirol is a place where people like to get up early. Visitors spending their holiday in the region may understandably need a little convincing to shun the snooze button and clamber out from beneath their cosy covers, but if you want to see Tirol from a new perspective then there is no better time to do so than at daybreak.
5.40 A.M. While most of the city sleeps, Innsbruck's street-cleaning team heads back to base for a well-deserved rest.
6.00 A.M. Rise and shine! A local walks near the village of Namlos as the sun slowly appears on the horizon.
Not quite convinced? How about a little maths? If you get up at 6 o'clock instead of 9 o'clock every day you will gain 21 extra hours in just a week. That's enough time to climb three mountains or walk twelve times around the beautiful Heiterwanger See lake. Still not sure? Numbers are nice, but waking early in the morning is less about productivity and more about the feeling. Those moments of silence when a new day begins and the sky is a pale shade of blue, waiting for the sun to fill it with light. It is that sense of community you share with the others you meet early in the morning, when most people are still tucked up in bed.
6.45 A.M. All aboard. An apprentice catches the first bus of the day in Landeck.
What is it that makes this often-neglected time of day so special? As is so often the case, it is the small things. The arrival of the first bus of the day. A cowbell ringing out across an empty pasture. The squeak of the door as the first customer of the day leaves the bakery with a loaf of fresh bread in hand. These are the sounds that announce the arrival of a new day, as night slowly slips away and Tirol's towns and villages stir into life.
5.49 A.M. The early bird catches the worm. Market traders hard at work as the sun rises behind the Markthalle in Innsbruck.
Generally there are three periods in life when people are up early in the morning. The first is childhood: Mum and Dad are fast asleep, but babies and toddlers are already awake, keen to start the day. The second is early adulthood, when evening turns into night and night turns into morning. The third phase is old age, a time when people find themselves waking early without any need for an alarm clock. There are three main reasons why pensioners tend to get up early. First, as we age the body produces less of the sleep hormone melatonin. Second, pensioners can (unlike most working people) take a siesta in the afternoon and recharge their batteries. Third, older people tend to be less tired from the stresses and strains of daily life than younger people who have to combine work and family.
6.50 A.M. Things are still quiet on Innsbruck's University Bridge as the mountains behind glow in the early-morning sun.
Some researchers even believe that these different sleeping patterns in life can be traced back to our evolution as human beings. They argue that long ago it would have been important for at least one member of the family to be awake at all times in order to warn the others of approaching danger.
7.33 A.M. Seefeld locals know that there is no better way to start the day than with a refreshing dip in the lake.
Whatever phase of life you happen to be in, there is always a good reason for getting up early – especially here in Tirol. Farmers and hikers are two groups of people who here in the Alps traditionally can be found up and about before the sun has climbed above the horizon.
7.37 A.M. Breakfast time for these geese in Forchach.
Holidaymakers, on the other hand, are – for understandable reasons – more reluctant to rise early. After all, isn't sleeping in part what holidays are all about? True, but we still think it's worth setting your alarm a little earlier. What you do is then entirely up to you. How about an early-morning hike around the lake? Or a pre-breakfast bike ride in the mountains? Or maybe just a walk down to the bakery to get fresh bread for you and your family?
8.15 A.M. Pedal power. As most people are finishing their breakfast, this rider has already completed most of his climb to the Hahntenjoch ridge.
Who knows? Maybe your day will be so enjoyable, so full of action and adventure, that you don't even feel tired in the evening and end up talking long into the night with friends and family. And the best thing is there's no need to get up early again the next morning!
7.53 A.M. Late mist or early clouds? A supermarket in Nauders prepares for the day ahead.