A Balcony High Above Lofer
With the Gföllhörndl behind, the Loferer Steinberge on the horizon and Lofer spread out below him: Georg "Schurl" loves to take a break from everyday life high above the valley. The farmer from the Krepper farm in Lofer comes up here regularly to check on his young animals – and to feel as though he is overlooking the sea.
His day begins at 5 am but this doesn't stop Georg from going up to the Bräugföllalm at least once a week. "Before our hospitality business starts for the day I love to come up here", explains Georg and lets his gaze wander over the mountain panorama. "Over there I watch the sunrise", he says and indicates a point on the horizon. "The valley below is often still enveloped in fog. I sometimes feel as though I am sitting next to the sea", Georg laughs. "It is simply unbelievably beautiful when the Steinernes Meer and the Loferer Steinberge peep out of this sea of fog."
"The alm is the way it has always been"
We sit with the young Krepper farmer on a bench with a view down to the valley. Just a few steps away is a long, narrow alm hut, surrounded by green ferns and a colourful flower meadow. "We have rented the Bräugföllalm", explains Georg. "Our young cattle are up here from the beginning of June to September." On average there are around 20 animals which enjoy the shade of the Gföllhörndl in the summer. Georg straightens his staff which he had laid across his lap. "I like the fact that the alm is still very original", he continues. "It is just the way it has always been. This place here is a place where I can recharge my batteries", Georg grins. "It's a bit like a hidden balcony high above Lofer."
Cowbells, deer, chamois – and nothing else
Alongside the breathtaking views, it is the silence up here which the 36-year-old particularly enjoys. "When I sit up here in the morning, or on a rock or there in front of the hut, then it is peaceful. Now and again you hear the tinkling of cowbells and sometimes you see a deer or a chamois – but apart from that, nothing." Georg leans back and smiles. At this moment we really notice how quiet it is up here. The bees and bumblebees hum around us, the warm summer breeze rustles softly through the leaves on the trees. Fragments of conversation reach our ears. "Just down there", he says and indicates a point not far from us, "a beautiful hiking trail passes by. If you hike from Lofer to Grubhörndl, you will pass the Bräugföllalm. From here you can up to the Gföllhörndl but you do need mountain experience for that". He was out and about in the mountains as soon as he could walk – hiking mountains and climbing. "When I have a bit of free time, I love to climb in the mountains around here", smiles Georg. "For that there almost endless possibilities in the Salzburger Saalachtal."
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Everyone helps in the the family business
It is sometimes difficult to find time however – there is always something to do in the family business. The traditional mountain farmhouse with a restaurant, where Georg grew up, lies above the Lofer valley basin. From the Krepper farm you have a magnificent view of the surrounding mountain world right down to Unken. "Our farm has been in our family for generations", explains Georg. "There used to be just the agricultural business until my grandparents built a restaurant in 1973. My parents have continuously invested and extented the business. We also have four rooms for overnight guests."
Cooking is mainly from products from the farm
Meanwhile, Georg has taken over the guest and agriculture businesses. Talking about agriculture: 16 dairy cows, five alm oxen and in summer, around 80 free-range geese, populate the area around the Krepper farm. "We are an organic farm and place a lot of importance on regionality", says Georg. That's why a lot of the products, which the trained chef/waiter uses in his down-to-earth dishes which he whips up in the restaurant, come from his own farm. Now and again there is a fine game dish – Georg is a hunter and his hunting ground lies just a few metres away from the farm.
Passing on the fascination to the next generation
Family solidarity is of the utmost importance on the Krepper farm. "Here everyone helps, we are a genuine family operation", says Georg. Everyone mucks in – his younger brother, his parents or relatives. A few months ago, Georg and his partner Tanja became proud parents of a son. And when little Jakob is big enough, his father is sure to take him to his favourite place on the Bräugföllalm and show him the balcony high above Lofer.