I’m writing to you from Krakau, a remote spot in western Steiermark (‘Styria’ in English). Steiermark is referred to as the ‘green heart of Austria.’ All of Austria is mind-bendingly gorgeous, but Krakau holds a special place in our family’s heart because my husband’s family has been vacationing here for five generations. We usually come in the summer months and spend our days hiking and picking girolle and cep mushrooms, wild blueberries, and wild strawberries (here is a previous post showing the spectacular summer scenery). In summer, I’ve always longed to see Krakau nestled under a glittering, thick, blanket of snow in winter. I’m not a hot weather and beaches girl, as I’ve mentioned before. Give me mountains, give me snow, give me layers of cosy clothing, and give me a reason to build a fire! There isn’t as much snow this year as usual, but the scenery still doesn’t disappoint.
The rustic Krakau house with a new wood-shingled roof
The other side of the house, the best spot for a coffee in the morning
On a side note, one of the things I am most grateful about when we visit here is the amazing sleep I get. Maybe it is the altitude, maybe it is the clean mountain air, or maybe it is the tranquility of the house and the absolute silence of the nights… I wake up feeling fresh and well-rested. My son also sleeps beautifully here, which helps tremendously. This week, I’ve particularly enjoyed the daily routine of getting my son ready for morning ski lessons, tending to all of the fires in the house (the house is only heated by wood) (did I mention I LOVE making fires!) and exploring this sunlit winter wonderland. Every morning when I wake up and open the bedroom window shutters, this is my spectacular view.
Walking down this road and into the valley, the mountains rise like enormous strong shoulders on either side of you.
I always think the top of the snow covered Preber mountain on the left looks like a dragon’s back. In the closeup photo below, you can almost see the dragon’s ribs!
So, what to wear in a winter wonderland. The locals are all about practical performance wear. I can do that for a couple of days, and then I start to itch for some style. The temperatures have varied from -12 degrees to 10 degrees (10 to 50 degrees Farenheit) in the week we’ve been here, so layering is vital!
Today, I put on a few layers (tank top, long sleeved thermal, tights, socks) and cleverly disguised them with a beautiful wool knit coat. My friend Nikki from Midlife Chic has this coat; I’ve always been very envious of it and have threatened to steal hers! Now I have one of my own, so Nikki’s is safe. I don’t own a single item of clothing in burgundy, except for this faux fur stole (below), so I’m glad to have something quite different to my usual bright colours.
This Roger Vivier handbag provides a blast of colour
If you think getting your heels stuck in the ground at a garden party or outdoor wedding is a pain, just try snow. I had a few moments of feeling like Edina in Ab Fab, sliding around in my completely inappropriate footwear while all the cross country skiers around me gawped in amusement. I also wore the coat with wellies, which were infinitely more practical.
If you are ever in need of a holiday where you go somewhere completely remote, almost off the grid, then this part of Austria is for you! After a few days here, I feel completely recharged. It has been soul-restoring to go on long snowy walks with my son, making up songs, discovering animal tracks (mostly huge rabbits/hares) and letting nature remind me that there ARE still such pristine places in this world. It has been good for my soul to escape the fast lane of London for a week…a holiday in this enchanting snow globe was exactly what I needed.
Trousers: Winser London Woven Leggings
Bag: Roger Vivier Prismick Marquetry(old) (similar)
Faux Fur Stole: Etsy
Boots: Kurt Geiger (old) (similar)