Heiligenblut was the first place in Austria that I visited alone. In retrospective, I am wondering why I chose a place so remote and unpredictable weather-wise. OK, it was the time when one learned about the weather from teletext and no one heard about booking.com and its cancelation policies. These days, I was checking the forecast online five times a day and was seeing different results each time. The prognosis changed from bad to worse to good to bad again, but the one I saw minutes before the cancelation deadline promised one rainy day and two sunny ones, which was kind of OK.
Today was the rainy one, so I have chosen the safest route, to some gold-washing village easily accessible by an asphalt road. My “maximum programme” was to reach a mountain lake 700 meters above the village, but the chicken in me, well, chickened out when noticing that the non-stopping rain turned the hiking paths up the mountain into small rivers.
That brought me to the Alter Pocher, just five minutes past my I-may-drink-now time, 12 pm. Because of the early time, I was at first alone in a totally urig hut, if one ignored a Mötorhead mug on its window sill, still in a carton box with the “remove before sale or use” label.
The Brettljause matched the authentic ambience, being a knife-only, thickly-cut affair that would make a vegan call for a taxi straight away. The only non-pork ingredient was a brownish sponge-like cheese, which didn’t taste bad, just not strong enough. The Verhackertes, the two Specks and the Hauswurst, however, were fantastic and although Pocher obviously didn’t produce them (outside I only saw a horse and a couple of bored cows), their non-industrial origins were obvious.
I left very happy and eventually made it to the mountain lake by simply ignoring the hiking paths and walking up a wide, curvy and totally non-dangerous road. Don’t believe the sign that tells you that you need three hours; I managed it in two, and I am a slow walker.