The Little Chapel on the Kalvarienberg
It’s just a few steps from the centre of Lofer u
It’s just a few steps from the centre of Lofer up to the chapel on the Kalvarienberg. But each time it seems as though time moves a bit slower there, says Ilse Haitzmann. Up there, with a view of the Lofer valley, she finds peace and is thankful for all the beautiful things the region has to offer.
“When I go up to the Klavarienberg in Lofer, I’m in my own little world“, says Ilse and smiles. We accompany the 45-year-old host from the Haus Panoramablick on her walk up to the chapel today. Winter has arrived in Lofer; the mountains around are already wrapped up in their white winter clothing. As we march through the forest to the chapel with Ilse and her 8-year-old son Thomas, it starts to snow. “The nicest thing about this walk for me is that you only have to walk for ten minutes from the village centre and you arrive in total silence and peace“, says Ilse. „“I don’t need to hike for three hours to a mountain peak. There are just a couple of switchbacks which lead up through the forest and good, fresh air – this is something special.“
Light a candle and give thanks
Ilse and her family look after the chapel voluntarily, which sits on top of the Kalvarienberg and from where there is a magnificent view of the Lofer valley. “At Easter we erect the Holy Sepulchre with grandad and a family of friends. In Advent, we decorate the chapel for Christmas“, explains Ilse. “We love to go up there, we enjoy it. Then we light a candle and look at the pictures with our children, Thomas and Sebastian. There’s so much in this little chapel.“ Tradition and culture play a very important role in Ilse’s life. She also plays in a zither trio and a string group. “I grew up with the church festivals – I think this keeps our culture alive among us. When all of the traditional associations turn out for a festival, when the “Schützen“, the riflemen, or the village band march up – that is something really special.“
“Guests should feel comfortable and find “Guests should feel comfortable and find peace“
Ilse developed her “Haus Panoramablick“ in Lofer herself – although her first job had little to do with tourism. “After the school-leavers’ certificate I worked for a time in a bank“, explains Ilse. “Then I was able to lease the Vorderkaser restaurant and did this for 10 years until I bought a bed and breakfast and achieved my dream.“ Since then, Ilse offers five double rooms with breakfast and three apartments to guests spending their holidays in the Salzburger Saalachtal.
“I have always enjoyed interacting with people“, says Ilse about her motives. “Every person is different and has different needs that have to be recognized. This is what fascinates me about my job – or rather, my passion. As well as that I wanted to be my own boss and be there for the children as much as possible.“ She can now combine all of this in her small bread and breakfast. “I’m not a luxury host – there’s no spa here“, laughs Ilse. “I would like the guests to feel comfortable with me, feel at home and find peace.“ And where better than in the Salzburger Saalachtal?
The beauty of nature on the doorstep
The region lies very close to Ilse’s heart. “I am now rooted here“, says Ilse and smiles. “In the past I felt drawn to places far away, but now I have found my home here. I love the life in the village associations – that gives me a feeling of belonging.“ She has learnt to treasure the nature in the Salzburger Saalachtal in particular. “Here, silence is only a few steps away. I find that when you always have a lot of people around you and there’s a lot going on, this is even more important. I think that’s also what a lot of guests are looking for who come to us.“ And it doesn’t take much in the Salzburger Saalachtal to experience the beauty of nature, says Ilse. “I simply go out of my front door and am in the midst of the most beautiful nature. That’s my source of strength“.