Love in the Mountains: Timna & Juan
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.
The first Tirolean in the Argentinian pampas
Timna, 31, and her Argentinian husband Juan, 34, first met on a beach in South America. Today the family lives in Innsbruck.
Timna: Years ago, I was taking a walk on a beach in Colombia. Suddenly someone held a sign in front of me that said: "Never stop smiling, because someone might fall in love with your smile." I thought to myself: 'Great, another one of those pushy guys.'
Juan: I was working in a hostel at the time and one of my jobs was to attract tourists to our restaurant.
I was actually looking for an Argentinean who offered guided kayak tours to observe fluorescent plankton at night. By the time Juan came along, I had decided to paddle off on my own. Then it turned out that the guy with the sign was the Argentinian I had been looking for.
I told Timna that there were dangerous currents and even crocodiles in the area, so I couldn't let her go off on her own!
We didn't see much of the plankton that night, but we got on very well and at some point things got romantic under the moonlight next to the campfire. I then travelled on to Panama and was actually going to the Amazon when I realised I was pregnant. So I went back to Colombia to tell Juan about it. We both had so many different emotions - we hardly knew each other. In the end we decided to try it together.
We then went back to my home, a tiny village in the Argentinian pampas. I'm pretty sure that Timna was the first ever Austrian to visit that place. When we decided to get married, we were the talk of the town.
We cycled the way to the registry office. I sat on the luggage rack and we pulled empty cans behind us tied to strings. It was something the locals had never seen before. Soon after that we travelled to Austria because I wanted to have our child here.
For me, the first months here were a culture shock. I never really wanted to go to Europe, if at all, then when I was retired. On my first day at German school, after two hours I packed my things in frustration and left.
But even though you don't speak perfect German yet, you're already chatting away as you get to know each other. I'm sure this openness is a bit unusual for some people here. Whatever the case, Juan made me aware of how quiet and reserved most Tiroleans are.
It's true that people treat each other very respectfully here. I find it strange that I'm not supposed to honk my horn when I'm driving to greet someone. But I also like how honest Tiroleans are. I have already lost my keys and wallet and got them back without any problems.
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.
I will never get used to Juan's swearing - even though he only does it in Spanish.
One of the first words I learned here was "Geduld", "patience". I heard that all the time. "Patience Juan, patience." I have a little difficulty with that.
We are united by our common love of the mountains. We are outdoors as much as possible. Juan also took a climbing course straight away, although he spoke almost no German at the time.
I then watched climbing videos with subtitles. I worked for a time in Patagonia running the RefugioOtto Meiling, a hut in the mountains named after a German emigrant and famous mountaineer. He made many first ascents in the mountains of Patagonia and founded the first ski school in the country.
Since Juan has been here, he has taken on some of the habits of the Tiroleans. For example, now he spends all this free time in the mountains!
The first sentence I learned in German was "I bin a Tiroler." (dialect for "I am a Tirolean"). I guess it wasn't a coincidence. One thing I don't think I will ever get used to, however, is eating Schnitzel with cranberry jam.