Addicted to the alm life

Here to stay

How did a postwoman come to live with the cows and then from the cows to the “Kuhbar“?  Antonia Ostenrieder from Bavaria always followed her nose and ended up on the lofty heights.

She is actually a certified housekeeper from a small village, 30 kilometres from Regensburg but she worked as a postwoman because that was always her dream. Suddenly she heard the call of the mountains which became louder and louder until she couldn’t ignore it any more and so this bubbly lady from Oberpfalz swapped her postie’s bag for a milking stool on an unpaid four month holiday on the Kallbrunnalm in the Naturpark Weißbach.

After a busy working day, she gazed thankfully at the landscape and marvelled at the allure of the mountain world; the traditional alm huts between gentle hills, the mighty mountain massif and the rockfaces in the background. And she admired the solidarity of the dairy people. “Everyone helps where they can, they sit together for a beer after work, gossip, sing and pray together“, she explains and it sounds almost like a kitschy home country novel.  Something ignited in her that first alm-summer; now the milkmaid wanted more. Someone else would have to deliver letters in the summer. Instead, she milked ten cows for a Bavarian farmer for twelve seasons and looked after the young animals. By hand she made the headdresses for the cows for the homecoming parade. She bound the deliciously scented “Kräuterbuschen“ or bundles of herbs which are blessed at the Mass on the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in August and which are fed to the animals in the stall during the Christmastide “Smoke Nights“. And she was also fantastic at nurturing the calves.  “It’s wonderful when such a tiny creature comes into the world“, Antonia explains. She isn’t homesick for the lowlands at home and her parents and two siblings visit her often. No, she doesn’t want to give up the alm life, that is for certain! She has swapped to the Loferer Alm with her partner Andreas Stahl from Lofer. The couple built the “Kuhbar“ there and it opened in Winter 2012/13. Skiers love to stop by at this après-ski bar on the Schwarzeck piste; revel in the fantastic views from the deckchairs and enjoy being spoiled with cool drinks such as the “Kuhbar-Libre“ and the delicious homemade gulasch soup.  There is a younger generation already: Veronika is four and Katharina is one year old. The family have built a flat next to the Kuhbar. Life on the mountain is completely normal for little “Vroni“. That’s why she asked her Mum not long ago, “Why don’t all people live high up above the valley?”.

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