Before we jetted off to Austria I did my homework and found out about this lovely little restaurant half way up a mountain in Viehhofen. Hecherhutte it was called. I’d mentioned it to Jordan a few times and he was keen to go too, little did I know entirely why at the time, aside from it’s good reviews and fantastic location 1250m high.
We woke up the next morning after rather too much alcohol in Zell Am See the night before and let the other two sleep. I pulled on my Sorel snow boots (mine are the Caribou’s in black/stone) and Jordan pulled on his. Hats, gloves, scarves and snow jackets on and we were ready to go.
We began our walk through the snow, with snowdrops landing on our skin as we followed the signposts up the mountain…
It was already proving to be a hard walk. The weather was much colder, the ground was thicker with snow and the roads were (unsurprisingly!) rather steep. But, it was absolutely beautiful and without a doubt had a rather magical aura about it.
We walked further through our own personal version of Narnia and I almost wanted to give up, I’d climbed mountains before, plenty of them, but this was much harder and I’d definitely underestimated (or been a little too optimistic) about the hike. I really didn’t want to give up but I felt like I had no choice, all my hope had disappeared and I knew we had much much further to go.
Then just as I was about to open my mouth and say “Let’s go back, we won’t make it” a Jeep went speeding past us ploughing effortlessly through the snow. He stopped, stuck his head out the window and said “Are you going up the mountain to Hecherhutte?” “Yes” we said warily, “I’m going that way” he said in a broad Welsh accent, “Want a lift?“.
The Jeep sped up the mountains snow-filled bendy roads with ease and 10 minutes later we were facing the outside of the restaurant. Hecherhutte was just what I’d hoped for, a little traditional Austrian hut and I couldn’t wait to get inside…
Inside was equally as traditional. Wooden cladding from floor to ceiling, antlers as coat hooks beside the door, a little dresser with lots of trinkets on and the fireplace which kept us nice and toasty as we sat on the table next to it!
Remember the guy who kindly drove us up the mountain? Well it turned out that he worked at Hecherhutte which came in handy for helping us translate the menu.
We were given a complimentary traditional Austrian starter which consisted of chives, cream cheese and a bacon/lard mixture (possibly this?) which I wasn’t a fan of, as well as some warm oven baked bread and then moved on to…
Fillet of beef with potatoes, green beans, bacon, grilled peaches and cranberry.
Prawns with garlic, chilli and pepper.
Both were mouthwateringly good, but the fillet of beef was particularly amazing and definitely worth ordering.
Full to bursting point, we were keen to take in the views walking back down the mountain and they didn’t disappoint…
It had stopped snowing by the time we left but it was still overcast and ever so peaceful. I’d been admiring the view at great length, the detailed, mysterious, romantic view…
And Jordan must have thought so too because there he was, down on one knee. His hand presenting an open box… “Gemma, will you marry me?” he said with a smile on his face. “Really? Are you serious?” I asked as my voice started to break into a cry. He nodded and I said “Yes!“.
We walked down the mountain and inside I was grinning, on the outside I was grinning. I was happy and so grateful for this to have happened with this man, and for it to have happened surrounded by beautiful scenery. It was magical and for that, Austria will always be in my heart.
We casually made our way back to the chalet talking about love and life in general. It was a deep and soulful walk. A wonderful walk on a wonderful day.