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      September 2012 > The dinner bell is calling!

The dinner bell is calling!

Family walking holidays in AustriaTravel to one particular valley deep with the Austrian Alps, and each day, at five o’ clock in the afternoon, you will hear the mountains echo to the deep, dulcet tones of a large bronze bell.

This is the huge Peace Bell that hangs in a giant frame at the southern end of the village of Mösern above the spectacularly beautiful Inn valley. It is the largest open-air bell in the Alps*, placed here in 1997 to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of an Association of the Alpine states of Bavaria, Tyrol and South Tyrol, which promotes co-operation and good neighbourliness in matters of ‘environmental, cultural, social and economic concern’ between its eleven members. The Peace Bell, or Friedensglocke, is its iconic symbol.

Family walking holidays in AustriaThe ARGE-Alp Association first met at the Hotel Inntaler Hof in Mösern (above), whose grounds adjoin the site chosen for the bell. The hotel is an ideal base from which to explore this beautiful area and is very well geared up for active family holidays with a host of facilities and local activities for children of all ages to enjoy.

The hotel itself boasts a spa, indoor pool, tennis courts and playground, while you don’t have to go far to enjoy a wide range of walks, cycling and lake-swimming in the beautiful surrounding countryside, plus visits to an animal park, games parks and fairy-tale castles. (There’s great skiing here in winter, too!)

At five o’ clock on the dot, the bell begins its haunting – almost hypnotic – chime, alerting those who are in the hotel or its immediate vicinity that they may just have time still to make it into the lounge for traditional afternoon kaffe und kuchen (coffee and cake); though for those further afield it serves as a timely reminder that it’s time to think about returning to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

The bell can be heard well into the upper reaches of the Inn Valley, the Oberinntal, where people can be seen glancing at their watches, calling to their families as they suddenly realising that all that fresh Alpine air has made them extremely ravenous!

Family walking holidays in Austria‘Peace and good neighbourliness’ are all well and good (few would argue that they are admirable qualities) but, take it from us that it would be unforgiveable to miss the Inntaler Hof’s magnificent dinner menu of Tyrolean specialities, which include Tiroler Gerstlsuppe (creamy barley soup); Gebackene Schinkenfleckerl (a light soufflé with thick noodles and ham); Schlutzkrapfen (ravioli filled with spinach, pumpkin seed and goat’s cheese); Tiroler Saftgulasch (a spicy goulash with diced bacon usually served with polenta); Tiroler Rindsaftbraten (sliced, braised beef with parmesan), and for dessert, Tiroler Kirchtagskrapfen (luscious fritters filled with dried pears, prunes and poppy seed).

My mouth’s watering already…

Family walking holidays in Austria*For those who like this sort of detail: the Peace Bell is 2.51m high and has a diameter of 2.54m; the crossbeam is strong enough to hold the 10 tons of cast bronze and to withstand extreme vibrations; the clapper alone weighs over half a ton – and the current bell-operator is Herr Alfred Tribus.)

Posted: 25/09/2012 07:59:13 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: Austria, Families, heritage

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