AutumnGosaukamm(c)TVBAnnaberg Lungötz

Listening into the silence

Silent night, holy night“, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary, many interesting lectures, events and information will trace the most famous Christmas carol and its composer Franz Xaver Gruber and poet Joseph Mohr.

Besides numerous facts worth knowing about the song, however, it is the silence that interests me the most. Autumn, Advent and Christmas, these are times when nature adjusts to rest and I too feel now that a short time out would sometimes do me good. For this reason, I set out to explore five truly quiet places in the Tennengau.

Saint Anne on the Head Mountain

I began my search in my home community of Annaberg-Lungötz. A few years ago, a very special place of silence was created at the top of the Kopfberg. There is no outlook to be expected here, but rather an insight into oneself. From the parking lot Kopfbergbahn in the center of Annaberg, I follow the signs towards Heufigurenweg. The beautiful forest trail can be walked at any time of the year. Here numerous hay figures, which are made for the annual Lammertaler HeuART-Corso, have found their permanent home after the festival. After three quarters of an hour I turn right from the forest road, pass the Kopflackenmann and turn left into the forest just before the Jausenstation Harreit. From there it’s 200 steps “skyward”, by the way, a brilliant “belly-legs-buttocks workout” :).

The climb is definitely worth it, after a good quarter of an hour you spy a small bark hut between the trees, lovingly built by Günter Oberauer and his wife Erika on a voluntary basis. In it is located the local patron saint, St. Anna, carved from pine wood and with a wonderful kind expression on her face. After the rest you feel the power of this place: silence, peaceful – accompanied by birdsong and the buzzing of insects. Sometimes you hear a chainsaw in the distance, a plane … but these sounds do not touch, you somehow feel transported to a very own island and refuel energy. Strengthened in this way, you set off on the way back; at Kopflackenmann you can take a shortcut via an alpine path. Walking time is about 2 hours for one route. Refreshment stops along the way are at the Jausenstation Harreit or at the Salzburger Dolomitenhof.

The statue of St. Anna awaits the hikers on the Kopfberg (c)TVB Annaberg-Lungötz
The statue of St. Anna awaits the hikers on the Kopfberg (c)TVB Annaberg-Lungötz

The ancient place of worship above the village

The Scheffenbichlkogel is a round, gentle hill that lies to the northeast like a shelter from Abtenau lies. The Celts and other peoples who settled here in the past probably already saw it that way. Because some cult places were found here and still today solstice fires are burned there. I start the hike at the market place in front of the inn “Zum Schiff”. First you take the direction of the swimming pool, but behind the children’s gardens you already turn right up to the Wimmwald. I follow the signs to the snack station Fliehofbauer and from there through meadows and forest to the Sonnleit’n inn. From here you already have a magnificent view over the village of Abtenau.

But I take the somewhat steep path to Scheffenbichlkogel and enjoy the unique panoramic view here. The bench I am sitting on here is located where a special sun cult place is said to have been in the past, promoting optimism and wisdom. Therefore, I’ll sit here for a while and I’m convinced that it works – at least the optimism has already worked :). Back I walk from the Sonnleit’n on the asphalt road downhill. The walking time for this round is about 2.5 hours.

The silence of nature with a view over Abtenau (c)TVB Abtenau
The silence of nature with a view over Abtenau (c)TVB Abtenau

Hiking and tobogganing on the alp

I find the next quiet place in the Tennengau in Russbach. Here, from the village square with the beautiful fountain made of fossil Schneckenstein, the path leads me past the municipal office to the Rinnbach bridge and further along the namesake Rinnbach on a slightly ascending forest road to the Rinnbergalm. The hike is not strenuous and I can indulge my thoughts. In summer, numerous alpine flowers accompany the hiker to the Animoshütte and Pfandlhütte. On the way back, you can turn off after half an hour’s walk and hike back to Russbach via the Mitterweg.

In winter, especially in the evening, you can enjoy the path through the snowy forest and the silence of the alpine pasture. On starry full moon nights, the Dachstein and Gosaukamm mountains glitter mysteriously across. The Animoshütte is open on weekends and during the vacations in winter. The opening hours are on the panoramic board at the parking lot from where you start. Walking time there and back about 3.5 hours.

The Animoshuette on the Rinnbergalm is a quiet place (c)Anton Nutz
The Animoshuette on the Rinnbergalm is a quiet place (c)Anton Nutz

The chapel in the forest

Silence also welcomes me in St. Koloman. On the way to the Seewaldsee, hidden in the rocky terrain at the foot of the Wilhelmswand, lies the Wilhelmskapelle. It is one of the oldest sacral buildings in Salzburg. St. Wilhelm am Fagerstein is known as an ancient place of worship and power. Pilgrims found their way here to ask for healing and blessings for their sick animals.

At my starting point today, the Bio-VitalHotel Sommerau, I take the right path at the crossroads, past the Stockbahn. At the beginning, an asphalt road runs alongside a stream. From the farm (Vorderbichl) the path branches off to the right after about 5 minutes. A gate carries the sign that now points to the Wilhelmskapelle. You walk a short distance along the tractor path. At the large stone with the red and white marking, turn right across the meadow to the edge of the forest. From there, a quiet romantic forest path leads towards Wilhelmskapelle. Once you get to Kerzerbrunnstraße, cross it and walk another 30 minutes through the forest to Wilhelmskapelle.

There, in the silence of nature, I look more closely at the chapel. Several times the old church was “demolished”, but always rebuilt. A short rest and the enjoyment of the silence make sure that I also straighten up again and freshly start my way home. The walking time there and back is about 3 hours.

The Wilhelmskapelle in St. Koloman invites you to pause (c)TVB St. Koloman
The Wilhelmskapelle in St. Koloman invites you to pause (c)TVB St. Koloman

The pond of St. Jacob

In St. Jakob am Thurn the municipality of Puch, a special walk awaits me at the gates of the city of Salzburg. From the parish and pilgrimage church of St. James the Elder, which was first mentioned in 1238, there is a picturesque hiking trail around the small pond in St. Jakob am Thurn. The Loretto Chapel and the life-size statue of Nepomuk in front of the church are particularly worth seeing on this walk through the forest. Passing the castle tower and through the forest, you reach a resting bench directly on the lake opposite the church. A nice place to take a deep breath and enjoy the silence of nature and the view.

No matter what time of year, a walk around the Sankt Jakober Weiher is recommended for the whole family. So, as now in autumn, when the leaves fall from the trees and the leaves rustle between the feet, it is of course particularly exciting for children. And when it gets really cold again and the pond is frozen, everyone unpacks their skates and ice sticks and spends the day at the frozen pond, free from hustle and bustle and stress.

The silent pond in St. Jakob am Thurn (c)Barbara Gerber
The silent pond in St. Jakob am Thurn (c)Barbara Gerber

Do you feel like taking an autumnal trip into the silence of nature? Then try one of the ways yourself once. Where do you most like to listen to the silence?

Here you can find the silent places in the Tennengau:

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