ON THE TRACKS OF HEMINGWAY IN WEST-AUSTRIA, 1925-1926

“The world is so full of many things that I am sure we shall be all happy as kings. How happy are kings?” (1)

Mountain path to Kreuzjoch (2,450 m) near Schruns

This summer we have visited again the Montafon Valley for nice and real summerfreshness, this place to be found in the utmost Western part of Austria right to the border of Switzerland. In 1925 and 1926 the still unknown author Ernest Hemingway spent also quite some time here and in fact left lasting personal impressions with the local people.

Hotel Taube at Schruns around 1920 (2)

The budding writer had come to Montafon Valley with his wife and son from Paris, because he had little money and good friends had told him that in Schruns there would be the nice Hotel Taube, that the Montafon was cheap and the mountains just ravishing. Hemingway liked it so much that he spent two winters here in 1924/25 and 1925/26, six months amidst the dazzling white snow world and surrounded by the tranquility he needed to rewrite his first novel “The Sun also rises”. The local people called him the “black Kirsch drinking Christ”, because he liked to stay in the diverse taverns of the valley. 

Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Gerald Murphy at Silvretta, 1925 (3)

The young author with his wife Hudley and son at Schruns, 1926 (3)

Wiesbadener Hütte at Silvretta in the 1920s, here Hemingway stayed for ski tours (3)

Hemingway, then in his mid-20s, was very fine, on wooden skis and sealskins he climbed up into the Ochsental, climbed the glaciers on the Piz Buin at Silvretta, he loved the mountains, and in Schruns he sipped the homemade schnapps of the peasants, plus lots of Fohrenburger beer, and he beat them all down in the bar of Hotel Taube: the host, his ski instructor Walter Lent, even the local gendarmerie captain participated in the evening poker rounds. Quite how influential those visits to Montafon were for Hemingway gets clear in his last book “A Moveable Feast” because therein he left a memorial to Montafon. So the very last chapter of this book is devoted to this Austrian region, his private paradise, he describes the valley enthusiastically as a real romance.

Löwen Tavern founded 1500 at Tschagguns where Hemingway often accompanied hunters and woodcutters

Portrait of Hemingway to be found at Kreuzkeller-Bar in Schruns
And Ernest Hemingway was here in fact a welcomed guest, the people of Montafon really liked him. On the wall of the dining room at Hotel Taube hang today some small black and white photos, Hemingway with beard, Hemingway on skis. John, the writer’s first son, sent it to the hotel himself after visiting the place in his father’s footsteps. Otherwise Hotel Taube makes no fuss over the legendary Nobel laureate, who once resided in this house. A small brass board next to the entrance, which tourism wanted so, and a casual note in the hotel brochure. Not more. No logos, no fussed bar, no Hemingway fuss as to be found elsewhere.
Above the clouds at Innerberg
But Hemingway has become a real myth here, and now his name hangs over the region like the wet-gray clouds moving over the valleys. Even today, the Hotel Taube stands at the church square in Schruns, tidy and neatly the little streets of the small city, and in the background you can still admire today the stunning peaks of seemingly eternal Rätikon waiting for our final discovery.
Wiegensee in the mountains of Partenen
Old smuggler trail near the Swiss border
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  1. Ernest Hemingway in a letter to his colleague F. Scott Fitzgerald, September 1926
  2. photo from an old marketing flyer of ‘Hotel Taube’
  3. photos from the archive of ‘Montafon Tourismus’

 

THE ROUTE IS THE FINAL DESTINATION IN AUSTRIA

Since the Romantic period, people have discovered nature for themselves, exploring it on foot and looking at it from new angles. Such wanderlust and outdooring (as well on very high mountains) has enabled a new direct, physical and sensual encounter with the also harsh heart of nature itself because the final goal of these rural ambitions may be also unreachable at times.

Sunrise on the road near Bartholomäberg

On the trail from Falla to Silbertal

Swiss horses on Gargellenalpe

Trail from Gargellen to St. Antönier Joch

Mural at the old city of Bludenz

Foggy morning view at Innerberg

Mountain huts on Kristberg

Finish area of a mountain-bike event at Schruns

 

Linked to:

Capelas, Sáo Miguel- not quite a Monday walk

 

ALPINE JOINT PASSIONS

When winter is approaching always good to possibly escape in a cosy, stable and warm home, while sometimes even in summer snow may pass our ways not really far away.

In fact, the first snow I have seen this year was in late August when bad weather resulted in quite unusual and exceptional snow falls one day till 1,450 m altitude in the Austrian Alps.

Fortunately this strange weather in summer was a just a very short intermezzo of autumn which quickly disappeared again on the beautiful wide alpine pastures.

All photos taken in late August 2018 at Eastern-Tyrole, Austria

Photo for the Week – 17 – Mountains

 

STREET-ART IN EASTERN-TYROLE, AUSTRIA

On our last day of vacation in the Alps I was lucky to discover today even here a little bit of street-art at a quite remote place in the city of Lienz being situated in Eastern-Tyrole, a more rural area with a lot of nature and mountains – so rather untypical mosaic stones of this very nice Austrian region.