I rolled over and pulled back the curtain. The sun’s rays were just beginning to peer through the mountain peaks. The ground shimmered as the dew slid down the blades of grass. I walked outside and sat on the bench. The warmth of the sun pierced through the crisp air. And the biggest miracle of all, the dozens of buzzing flies from the farms nearby did not even faze me. Nothing could ruin that moment.
Although I have not visited much of Europe, I can say with certainty that Austria, specifically Tirol, is one of my favorite places on this continent. It is overrun with picture-perfect towns nestled into towering mountains. Small farmhouses spot the hillsides, and cows moo in the distance.
I laced up my boots, grabbed my camera and put on my sunglasses. There was no way I was going to only view these mountains through my window.
I walked down the winding road passing farms and guesthouses. I snuck down driveways that I’m still unsure if they were private or not. I hugged the few inches of shoulder on the road available for pedestrians and strolled through the green grass.
Cars sped past me but no one stared. I suppose it’s normal to walk along the roads here. They know the beauty of their country. I think they’re more proud than annoyed when people wander their mountains with cameras in hand. At least that’s the feeling I got.
Log cabins used as storehouses are commonplace here, and I sort of have an obsession with them. I wandered down one hillside and began snapping pictures of the one shown above. After about five minutes of circling the place, a dog from a house below spotted me. He bolted up the mountain towards me barking and trying to raise the alarm to the rest of the houses nearby. His owners shouted from below, but he kept on. He followed behind me, barking and running away when I tried to talk to him. Maybe he didn’t understand my English.
A couple minutes later, the owner came speeding up the road asking where her dog had gone. I smiled and pointed up at some houses he was running through. I apologized in German, laughed and walked along. I rounded the next curve and saw the truck driving past again. The woman and her son smiled and waved. The dog was in the bed of the truck, paws resting on the side, feeling proud of his service to the neighborhood.
A look-out point guarded by a wooden fence peered over the hill below and mountains ahead. Cars and trains raced below on the winding roads and tracks. It all seemed so fast compared to the still and constant mountains above.
I walked back up the road to the house passing more farmers and dogs barking at me. I sat on the bench outside my room and took it all in once again.
I enjoyed my solidarity. I embraced it really. No one was there to disturb my thoughts, judge my bird musings or contaminate the beauty with empty words. It was all mine for that moment.