No Place Like Home

We have been living the “Expat Life” for a long time now. And with this we have become accustomed to the occasional arrival of the moving trucks. Here we go again, our life packed into boxes, stacked up into a shipping container and off we go to yet another destination to start all over again. So currently that’s pretty much the story of our lives.

Many find it hard to comprehend. How can you live without a permanent home? How can you have a sense of place? Yet those whom have had a taste, hardly ever turn back.
We know that we are fortunate to live a lifestyle full of adventure and learning and that our time to settle will come in good time.

And Liz and I are very lucky to have not one but two great places on earth we call home. This has got to be everyone’s dream come true. With Liz hailing from Malaysia and myself from Austria, we are so fortunate. For one, to have one another but also because we get to learn each other’s culture and share homes in two very different parts of the world.

Yet, home is always where the roots remain and no place can compete.

Fresh off our recent summer vacation in Austria, this is dedicated to my little town in Austria. Haslach is a village of 2,500 souls and tucked away in the northern part of Austria.

Here as seen from the balcony of our house, Haslach an der Mühl, is a picturesque town of a mere 2,500 souls in the northern parts of Upper Austria. Here just about everyone knows everyone. And it never was much different. I am not about to bore you with history, although it is quite interesting – if you are so inclined, please read up here in German or in English

Suffice to say that 3 stone axes from 4,000 years ago, indicate that some people were stomping these grounds pretty early on.

Haslach is surrounded by gently rolling hills and shady forests. The town is in a beautiful setting at the confluence of the rivers Große Mühl and the Steinerne Mühl, on the southern edge of the pristine Bohemian Forest.

Originally a textile producing industrial town, today the only evidence of that are several small village museums.
For us of course it is about going back and seeing family and friends, inhaling the pristine and fresh forest air, taking long rejuvenating walks in the beautiful forests and just literally clearing our minds and bodies from the extreme hustle and bustle of the world.This time round we even visited one of the several very small museums, one of only three exhibit rooms and one which I had visited only once before myself. And that was back when I was really small – we are talking yes, a few years ago …

The “Heimatmuseum”, located inside the “Alte Turm” (Old Tower) tells the tale of Haslach in the early days, the rise and fall and rise again. What an interesting refresher of the history of my own birthplace and how humbling to know how our ancestors lived and evolved.
And guess what, the tour, which takes place only once per week is guided by the same man who conducted it 40 years ago. Can you even believe that!? Yes, both of us are a little wiser now – or so we would like to think anyway – but it seems as though we have always known one another on the same level.
So, what does one do in a small place like that when used to living in cities of more than 20 million people?

Easy: wake up as you please, take a long walk or run through the woods, along the river. Stop at the local bakery and get a freshly brewed coffee and a freshly baked pastry with that.

Relax as much as possible:Eat a delicious home cooked lunch – yes, mother has always been the greatest Chef; then, take a good afternoon nap.

Wake up well in time for “Jause” our early evening snack or alternative take a short drive to one of the countless “Jausenstation”, small Taverns, offering simple yet delicious fare in open settings, particularly conducive in summer. A “Spritzer” or home made “Most” fermented apple wine goes best with any of that.Depending on the time of the year, there is always something in season and this time (June) it is strawberries. So “Strawberry Land” is a great option to get some light exercise, eat as much as you can Strawberries for free and take home a bucket full of them for next to nothing.

Of course there is so much more to it, hence a dedicated album on Haslach.

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