"Abtenau - Lammer Valley" Abtenau by Lochlainn

Abtenau Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 8 photos

I better start by emphasising that this is a beautiful, beautiful place before I relate my story as you may get the incorrect impression that I somehow remember the visit here in negative terms. I don't, but having said that hark unto my tale ...

Picture this - three families plus friends (of which I am one) descend on the picturesque village of Abtenau for a few days over Sylvester. The general plan was to go skiing but the snow hadn't come so the Lammer Valley was full of disgruntled Germans and one ecstatic Irishman who hates the snow but loves mountain hikes, and was therefore in his element. In the evenings we would all assemble in the farmhouse for our main meal, after which the adults would sit around and chat while the kids in no time would be bored out of their skulls. I felt sorry for the kids so one evening I suggested we all play a game - something that adults and kids might enjoy like "Spin the Bottle". So far so good - once the rules of the game had been explained to all and sundry (as in - "How does a bottle point?") we settled down to play.

Everything was going swimmingly and nearly everyone had a chance to make an eejit of themselves (yours truly had to perform an Irish jig!) until the bottle was spun by my friend's father and it rested pointing at his best mate Pieter, a man of advanced age and generally jolly temperament. "Ok Pieter", said the bottle spinner "Give us the address!". A round of applause broke out as Pieter stood up and began to regale us, praise our national socialist ideals, and generally motivate us in a rising crescendo of invective to invade every country around us - in a flawless rendition of Hitler's famous speech. I looked around to see that everyone was gazing at the orator with rapt attention - even the kids - and all gave him a standing ovation when he terminated with the assurance that we are "One people, one country etc etc"! It turns out that as a youth Pieter had attended the Nuremburg rally and though you could take Pieter out of the Hitler Youth it seemed you couldn't take the Hitler Youth out of Pieter!

Afterwards, 'amazed' as I was with this new insight into the politics of my companions, I decided I better make a tacit but diplomatic reference to his 'party piece' and compliment him on his memory, saying that I always found difficulty memorising poems and stuff when in school myself. "Me too" he replied "But when I stood in Nuremburg that day - I only had to listen to that man speak once to remember every word!". He then proceeded to explain how he had gone into TV production after the war and had only retired a few years previously to do some freelance work. "Oh" said I hoping to steer the conversation back to more sociable (rather than socialist) topics "And what are you doing now?". "Making educational programmes for children!" he replied without a hint of irony. Spooky ...

Anyway, Pieter aside - Abtenau is a great place and while my mountain hikes may not lend themselves to entertaining reminiscence they are to me as memorable as my encounter with the ghost of Adolf!

  • Intro Written Sep 18, 2002
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