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Gateway to the past

A village is playing hide and seek. First it presents itself in a truly unmistakable uniqueness. Then it gets out of sight after just a few steps. Then it appears again all of a sudden. Niederthai is playing a spirited game with us. We are happy to indulge ourselves in the wide open plateau, which is already behind us, followed by a fabulous wide-screen backdrop.

Hermann Falkner
About Hermann Falkner

Year of birth: 1953
Marital status: married, children
Activity/Volunteer: innkeeper

About favorite place

Starting point: Sennhof car park/Niederthai Information
Walking time, both ways: 1 ½ hours
Difficulty level: easy
Difference in altitude: approx. 200 m

Strong pictures

The journey is its own reward - on Bergmahderweg Trail the slightly inflationary saying fits in perfectly. Hermann Falkner describes the entire route from Niederthai to the bridge, leading to Larstighof on the other side, as his favorite place. Lined with awesome vantage points, the well-maintained forest path with several benches always leads above the waters of Horlachbach, straight into the valley of the same name. Hermann doesn't have to go far, his special nature exploration almost starts on the doorstep. Full of strong images, peppered with stories that are of great importance for every Niederthai local. Like the striking rock formation that threatened to break off in the 1960s, so that some of the residents had to be relocated from the hamlet of Sennhof. Or the hamlet's meadow "Hoamig Lehn", a track for the avalanche in snowy winters, that does not endanger the village anymore.

From a slightly elevated perspective you will soon recognize that Niederthai was a lake in times long past. We pass a deer feeding station and enjoy the picture-book view of the Ötztal and Stubai Alps between the forest sections.

Time leap back to childhood

For Hermann, every step of the hike means a time leap back to childhood. Accompanied by a bit of melancholy, the trail starts in the present time and in one hour it leads through his whole life into the distant past. When the people of Niederthai lived exclusively from local agriculture. When Hermann's family ate together from an iron pan and the children only ran barefoot in the summer.

"Immediately I have impressive pictures in my head. As a young boy, I spent entire days on these Alpine pastures along Bergmahderweg Trail. I had to look after the farm cattle together with my brothers and sisters. Even the quite exhausting and arduous field work on the steep Alpine meadows - called "Bergmahder" in Tirol - were a wonderful experience that has shaped me a lot."

The old hay barns spread all over the area are still there. And to the present day, these Alpine meadows are mowed by hand. "This most paradisiacal spot on earth with blooming mountain meadows, a serenity that has become rare and fantastic mountain panoramas of mighty peaks - some of them are still covered by glaciers - is second to none."


The ideal place to reflect

"Especially the time after the hard field work, when we sat with all the family at the "Bille" (hay barn), ate together and enjoyed the peace and quiet, is deeply rooted in my memory," Hermann says. In summer he took the farm's cattle up here, in winter he carried wood on a sled to build a barn with his father and brother. "It was a Sisyphean task when there was still no forest up there to stop the avalanches. Once in the spring, we found the newly built barn in the mountain brook, smashed by a huge avalanche."

Hermann never forgets to light a candle in the small Hubertus chapel, which was built in 2002. For all those who are inextricably linked to his life, for those who have already left and who become alive in this magical place. "If you want to think and reflect, the chapel and the bench next to the old wooden fountain is the ideal place."

A few meters away, laughing children play on a small brooklet while we let enchant us by the fragrant mountain meadows, scenic Grastal is located opposite with the wide open Grastalfeld and majestic Strahlkogel peak. "When I sit somewhere else and try to wind down, I always think of something that prevents me from doing so. Not here," explains the man with the many stories about his favorite place.


Direct line to the sky above the Alpine meadows

For the authentic local from Niederthai, Bergmahderweg Trail is "a heavenly spot with blooming meadows, quietness that has become rare plus fantastic mountain panorama." He is really a lucky man. Hardly anything has changed over the years at Hermann's favorite place: Neither the unobstructed view, nor the never-ending enthusiasm for this priceless panorama. No new building disturbs the memory, no car pushes into the familiar picture.

Just the small chapel has been standing next to the hay barns for a few years. As a matter of course, it perfectly blends into the untouched Alpine landscape as if it had always been there, as a direct line to the sky above the mountain meadows.

Further Favorite Places in Niederthai

Tauferberg Area


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Brand Area


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Untere Hemerach Alm


A place like from fairytale books

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