Something magical about the air in Upper Austria. Altitude? For sure, but also freshness and sparkling light. Amazing skies throughout the livelong days. Sunrise with pinks, lilacs, golds and pale blues hovering over the mountains and forested hills.
Making walking the wanderweg (paths) a treat. Not anywhere near cold, but crisp, clean and invigorating. Not the steep challenge of more serious Austrian Tyrol/Wildekaiser landscapes but gentle, wide walkways, sometimes beside rarely used roads, sometimes alongside quiet, therapeutic streams, the borders of newly turned farmland or through friendly forests. Oh and no snow yet, just end of season glorious warmth, meaning a T-shirt was enough once I had warmed up.
So- a little later – I was on such a trail – a new one for me – with a good friend. He is telling me about the history of this slope, this hill, this farm, a battle …
I am truly curious; asking questions. A battle? Really? Who won? Why were they fighting ? Maybe one too many and he is not so sure … but tells me anyway.
Tall pine trees, hem the well-signed path. Fungus leap from the pine needle covered ground. Three deer run across a field ahead. There will be hunters here tomorrow. Which will be here soon enough, I wish the deer luck. We reach the road, turn right back into the village.
“Do you have time for a beer?” he asks.
Something magical about the beer in Upper Austria (did I mention that already?) So, of course we slip into a bar/café. There are two people in there that he knows. Introductions. Smoking is still permitted in bars in Austria – though most of them have a voluntary ban. Ash trays are pushed about.
“He was asking, “my friend starts, “about the Farmers War …”
One of them is an artist. Designed and built a sculpture that strands near the village school, the church and gives a different account of the history. It’s a monument to the farmers who were executed, he explains. The reasons behind the design are complex and make sense: how good to be talking with the actual artist.
I sit back, listening, sipping the sweet, no-chemical brew. It’s blonde, cool and sharp.
I realise suddenly that I am in the original search engine. Not Goggle, or Godzilla, no internet … the place where, not so many years ago I would have gone to find things out. The library, the pub (usually in that order).
But, if a question needs answering; a recommendation is needed, go down the pub and ask. Some one will know, they’re bound to. What they say need not be the actual facts, but it will be what they believe to be correct. One hundred per cent!
Best flat roofer? Where to get Elvis Presley concert tickets, cheapest flights, who wrote Moby Dick, when should I plant my potatoes ? Who invented the spade … and why is it called a spade?
Ask in the bar.
Not so different from the Wicked Peddler world we have now eh?
Here’s to the original search engines, let’s keep ‘em goin’ please; there is something magical about them.
- Search engine poetry (breezesatdawn.wordpress.com)