By Matthias Loinig
Ever wanted to escape it all… mobile phones, internet, mass tourism and overfilled wellness hotels and go back to basics in a traditional mountain retreat?
Located right in the middle of the Upper Styrian Zirbenwäldern at 1,620 metres is a wonderful family run hut which will take you back decades and promises you the ultimate get away from it all experience.
The ‘Waldheimhütte’ is true to its claim and is a family business through and through.
The 72-year-old ‘mother’ Luise Grillitsch, is the head chef and cooks home-cooked, traditional meals and ensures guests are happy and well during their stay at the hut. She could certainly teach many top chefs a tip or two.
The ‘father’ Fritz Grillitsch (Not much younger) runs the hut, he is responsible for the running of the technical side of the business, the heating, the lift, the snow groomer and even the baby phone. He ensures everything runs smoothly for the guests.
Their son Siegfried is responsible for service and serves guests with the real ‘Alpine Charm’ which regulars to the hut cherish.
He always has a story to tell and is always ready for a good laugh with the guests even though he works around the clock!
You won’t just find ramblers and ski tourers at the Waldheimhütte, you will also find hunters, local politicians, teachers and even the local clergy – it attracts many people from different walks of life.
Fans of traditional music can also be sure to get the ‘real’ ‘traditional’ Austrian experience and you can be sure someone will get out their instruments and play a tune on their harmonica before the end of the night.
This is a place where old traditions and customs are treasured and carried out.
And that is not all that is on offer at this traditional hut at the foot of the Zirbitzkogel mountain.
There is a drag lift which takes you to some easy, family pistes where children can practise their skiing or beginners can practise their first turns.
You can try your hand at curling here and pick up tips from well- trained locals to perfect your technique or go for a winter walk in the stunning scenery.
After a day in the fresh mountain air you can return to the hut for a warm cup of rum tea or good Austrian schnapps.
The region in summer and winter offers great scenery, lakes and a mountain panorama.
The highest mountain in the region is the Zirbitzkogel, which at 2,396 metres is the highest mountain in the Seetal Alps.
Locals warmly call it the ‘Jausenberg’, but this is just a term for the locals.
You can walk up to the summit from the ‘Waldheimhütte’ in about 2 ½ hours, the latter of the climb is sure to get you a sweat on.
After your climb you can reward yourself with speciality pine schnapps or a warm bowl of soup and as you while away the evening you can forget how strenuous the last part of the climb to the summit was.
A trip to the summit is something not to be missed whether in summer or winter, it is an unforgettable experience.
Another bonus – the price… just 36 Euro per night for full board makes this an affordable and unforgettable adventure for the whole family.
Once you have visited you will want to return year after year.
For more information:
Contact family Grillitsch at the Waldheimhütte
ST. ANNA / LAVANTEGG
Tel.: 03578 / 8205
From Vienna you take the A6 motorway before taking the S36 tot he B78 to Obdacher Sattel where you turn right direction St Anna/ Zirbitzkogel.
After entering St Anna the Waldheimhütte is well sign posted.