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Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe

Love in the Mountains: Michael & Markus

Updated on 13.02.2023 in People

Every year people from around the world fall in love with the mountains and culture of Tirol – and some even fall in love with a local. We asked international couples about the role the mountains have played in their relationship.

Michael & Markus

The discovery of slowness

For Michael Reiter, 34, and his husband Markus, 45, it was love not a first but at second sight. Today the couple run the Hotel Eiserne Hand in Fieberbrunn.

Markus: I moved to Tirol from Berlin in 2009 to take on a job as a receptionist in Scheffau. I met Micha soon after on a dating app, but he was too young for me at the time. There is an eleven-year age gap between us.

Micha: Life is like one of these cheesy dating shows on TV. Back then, unfortunately, he didn't pick me.

As a true Berliner, I was used to hustle and bustle around the clock. In Scheffau, the opposite was the case. There was nothing going on. I kept sitting on the stairs crying because I thought I had taken the wrong path in life. I stayed anyway because I liked the people. They were so relaxed.

Almost ten years later we met again and became a couple. At that time, I had already taken over running our family hotel. It has been in our family for five generations, so Markus not only became part of our business but also of our family.

And two years later we got married.

Here in Austria, gay marriage has only been possible since 2019. I wanted to be the first person to have a same-sex ceremony at the registry office in our village. We three a huge party which went on for three days. In front of the registry office we rolled out a long pink carpet. We really went for it. I think almost everyone from the village was there, about 450 people.

They just wanted to see if you would really get out of the car wearing a wedding dress. Before the wedding, Micha told everyone on Facebook that was what he was going to do.

Michael & Markus

Now that we're chatting with each other here, I can't help but notice that even after so many years living in Tirol you don't speak a word of dialect.

Sure. I'm from Berlin.

He's so proud of his Berlin roots. He refuses to speak a word of dialect. At the hotel, when a local calls, he just hands the phone straight to me.

In fact, I really like Tirolean dialect. Everything is more relaxed. Here you can use the familiar form "Du" when talking to a 98-year-old or a police officer. People from Berlin are known for being short-tempered and not always polite.

I will never get used to the way you talk among yourselves. When we have guests from Berlin, I think every time: If I talked like that to our Tirolean guests, I would have been slapped in the face long ago.

I can't imagine I will ever go into the cowshed on the family farm. Before I came to Tirol, I had never been on a farm. I have a lot of respect for the bulls that Micha's family has. Luckily, Micha and his dad take care of them.

True, but you do have to help our with the hay harvest.

That's right, I'm happy to help. It's a nice experience for me. Micha is very close to his family. They sit together in the evening, play cards. Every day at 11 o'clock sharp, they have lunch together. We didn't have that in Berlin.

Love in the Mountains

This article is part of the series "Love in the Mountains". In it, we talk to couples living in Tirol. One of them is a local, one comes from another part of the world.

The funny thing is, since I've been with Markus we've been in Berlin more often. I love the big city lights. You don't have to say hello to anyone, there's a huge choice when you go shopping, everything is so diverse. So I could definitely imagine living in Berlin.

I, on the other hand, couldn't imagine going back. I have got used to the slower pace of life and the friendliness of the locals here in Tirol.

Wolfgang Westermeier rides to the office every morning. On the weekends he likes nothing more than trying out new sports in the mountains – from hot-balloon rides in winter to trailrunning races in summer.

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