Paradise on the Doorstep
When Bernhard Flatscher has a little time for himself, he loves to spend it in the saddle of his moutainbike. The diverse mountain world of the Salzburger Saalachtal beckons the “Friedlwirt“ from Unken again and again – sometimes just to meditate in a particularly beautiful place.
“When you turn the corner near us it is as though you are in a small world of your own“, says Bernhard. We meet the “Friedlwirt“ on a sunny day in early summer. On the doorstep of the lovely guesthouse and hotel bees buzz, birds sing and the water murmurs over two little waterfalls near the house. Bernhard leans back on the bench in the cosy guest area and looks out of the window smiling. Even as a child he preferred to be out and about outside, he says, and enjoyed the natural world. “I always did lots of sport“, explains Bernhard. “I especially like cycling. I simply go out of the front door, get on my bike and set off. It's great“, laughs Bernhard. These days the 45-year old runs the Friedlwirt with his wife Monika which he took over from his father 15 years ago. This year he has expanded the business with 14 appartments and a wellness area and the eleven rooms in the main building have been renovated. Bernhard is the 5th generation to run the guesthouse which is situated at the end of the public road. “Beyond us there are only forestry trails. That what's make this place so attractive“, smiles Bernhard.
The mountainbike insider tip has got around
The fact that there are so many wonderful bike trails directly on the doorstep of the Friedlwirt has got around. More and more cycling tourists are coming to conquer the mountain world around Unken with Bernhard and Monika. So it is no surprise that the Friedlwirt is a member of the Bike Specialists of the Salzburger Saalachtal. This means that cycling enthusiasts will find a particularly good deal here for their hobby – including a bike workshop, a bike service packet, rental bikes, trailers for children or qualified guides – such as Bernhard and Monika who are qualified mountainbike guides. In addition, Bernhard also offers technical training. “All of the biking here in the region has grown out of my ideas“, says Bernhard and grins mischievously.
“We show our guests the nicest places“
Bernhard and Monika offer various guided tours in the mountain world of the Salzburger Saalachtal. “We want to offer the guests relaxation in the natural world“, Bernhard sums up the aims of his bike tours. “They should get outside and be able to leave everyday life behind them.“ He looks out of the window for a while, laughs and adds: “We show our guests the nicest places“. If there is only time for a short tour, Bernhard and Monika love to ride up to the Winkelmoosalm with their guests and return via Heutal. “That takes an hour by e-bike so it's easy to fit that in“, says Bernhard. However, it isn't just the Friedlwirt's guests who enjoy these tours. Everyone else is also welcome to join the excursions. And those who don't have their own bike in the Salzburger Saalachtal can hire an e-mountainbike from the Friedlwirt. “We also hire out children's e-bikes for children from 10 years old“, says Bernhard. “This means that families can take part in the tours together.“ After the bike tours with his guests Bernhard disappears into the kitchen. While the guests relax on the expansive lawn behind the house or enjoy the cool waters of the nearby stream, it is time for the qualified chef to start the preparations. His wife Monika supports him by serving the guests.
Yoga and homemade cakes for the soul
To stretch the muscles after the bike tour, to give the mind a chance to rest or as an alternative to cycling, Monika offers yoga sessions – either in the new yoga room at the Friedlwirt or outside in the nature, in the open air. After a rewarding yoga session or a sporty bike tour, the guests fortify themselves with coffee, homemade cakes or Monika's homemade elder and mint syrup.
“I often ride up the mountain and simply meditate“
Bernhard loves the many faces of his homeland, but there are a couple of places that especially move him. “I really like the Unkenbach valley“, Bernhard tells us and beams. “It is so diverse and even on a sunny day like today there are very few people. It feels almost as though you are completely alone because the valley is so expansive. I find that really attractive“. The Schwarzeck mountain peak in the Almenwelt Lofer at 1565 metres is also one of Bernhard's favourite destinations. “I like to ride up there in the evening when the sun is beginning to set“, explains Bernhard. “Then I return home via the Unkenberg. When I am in good form, I can do this in two hours.“
Out of the front door, into the nature
Bernhard likes the sporty aspects of the mountainbike but it isn't just that which motivates him. “Often I simply ride up the mountain, settle down in a beautiful little place and meditate a little“, says Bernhard, “because it is so peaceful up there“. He has been out and about with guests as a bike guide in his homeland for the last ten years. “I really love it – otherwise there would be no point to it“, says Bernhard, “and it is really great that I can go out of the front door with my guests and am outside in the middle of nature. It is simply wonderful.“