I’m off to do a guided walk on the Schmittenhohe. It is listed as ‘The four lake hike’ a moderate walk at 2000 m altitude to the reservoir lakes with a view of Zeller See. I am confident that I could have done it on my own but I thought it would maybe be better with some company and I may learn some local knowledge from the guide.
The meeting point was at the Schmittenhohe valley station at 9.45 am. What should I expect?
I arrived 10 minutes early. There were plenty of people around but they all seemed to be dashing to catch the next gondola. I spotted a group of five people and approached them and asked if they were waiting for the guide. One woman said she was the guide and introduced me to the other four. They were from Linz in Upper Austria and only one of them professed to speaking any English, no problem.
The guide handed out leaflets about Kunst am Berg, Art on the mountain. The project was launched in 1995 and consists of 30 over-dimensional sculptures situated on the mountain. We would pass some of them.
We caught the 10 am gondola up to the summit of the Schmittenhohe and paused to look at Elisabeth Chapel that I had visited just a couple of days ago. Conditions were beautiful with just a bit of low cloud hanging in the valley.
We were due to follow route 50,58 and the walk was expected to take 4 hours. We set off at an easy pace headed slowly downhill towards the Breiteckalm at 1767 m.
We had passed one of the “Works of Art” Lieber Waldbesucher.. I could not figure it out. It looked just like a few tree trunks stuck in the ground.
Breiteckalm was a typical Almhouse but seemed to be surrounded by a herd of inquisitive cows.
As always, the signposting was excellent and I would have had no route finding difficulties. We passed the Breiteckibahn cable car station, closed, and were soon by the first lake.
We paused for a drink and I asked if I had time to walk round the lake. It would only take me 10 minutes. I found some baby frogs escaping from the water. Some of them still had the vestige of their tail. I tried to tell the group what I had found, imitating the actions of a frog. I received blank stares. One of the women got out her smartphone and after tapping away she turned it round to reveal a picture of – a caterpillar. My frog impression must have been really bad !!!. Eventually we got there. It was Ein Frosch. I also knew – Eine Blume, a flower. Together with – Ein bier bitte, I now knew a few words of German. I said we would soon be able to have a conversation. They all laughed, proving that they had followed the conversation and knew more English than they had admitted. One of them said “Der Englander ist verruckt” I think they meant “funny” but it broke the ice
Moving on we came to another of the sculptures. Frei Sein.
I thought someone had crash-landed in a tree. But it is supposed to represent Being free.
Being free … a counterpoint in our life, gravity has been transcended, having to swallow that, having to breathe that … am I wood … paint … material …. tree.
Soon we were at the next object, Lust der mitte.
Through its title, the artist Michael Kos places his sculpture onto a complex of levels and speaks a postmodern language of forms through his utilisation of industrial products, such a plastic broom bristles. The selection of a simple, geometric form aims at making an impact through the flat plate construction.
Perhaps it was the high altitude and the lack of oxygen to my brain, but I did not get it.
We now headed down to the next lake.
At the edge of the lake was the next ‘Art Sculpture’ Lebensbaume.
Trees of life,symbols of fertility and power, effervescent vitality of emerging life. When people intrude into this, the landscape is enduringly stunted, our own living space compromised. This project is an endeavour to reconstruct a natural phenomenon with all five senses.
What’s that all about?
We paused for lunch and I set off to walk round the lake. On the water was another ‘Art Sculpture’ Isola Felix.
Zell am See speaks to a fundament of the human being, and to a source of the origins of life on the water. Like a prologue for the future, the cell is portrayed in the instant of its division. Through its placement in the reservoir, the sculpture addresses itself to the running problem of the present e,g, the inequality of water distribution across the earth.
Nearby was the Energiefield Pyramide
No. I don’t understand it either.
Back to the walk. We continued down to Plettsaukopf where I had been yesterday.
Back at Mittelstation my Austrian friends left to catch the CityXpress back down to Zell am See. I had other things on my mind. A refreshing pint at Gastof Mittelstation.
Later I travelled down on the CityXpress after what has been an interesting day.
Tomorrow I think I will have a rest from “Culture”