Reap the Benefits of the Alpine Pasture: When the Dairy Becomes Sensory
Something very special has evolved where man and beast have been spending the summers amidst lush nature for centuries: an environment bursting with energy. Valuable and healthy – for the soul and the senses.
What’s so special up there for our physical and mental well-being? It’s the return to the original, the simple, the reduced. We are surrounded by clean air, clear light, and carefree ease. The fragrances of the meadows, trees, and herbs fill every breath. The tranquillity is accompanied by cowbells, the burbling of a stream or a gust of wind. The splendour of colours from grass green to sky blue delights the eye every second that we are away from the hectic pace of everyday life.
I Don’t Need Anything on the Pasture and Have Everything
Daniela Nuber: Dairymaid for a Summer
"Every time I’ve been to the mountains I’ve felt the desire to just stay up there and not go back down into the valley. That was the reason why I quit my job one day to spend the summer working on the alpine pasture. What was the best thing about it? It was the little moments and the big picture. I don’t need anything up here and have everything. On the pasture, we are close to the animals, nature, the weather, and the mountains with all our senses. I love sitting on the wooden bench in the morning sun with a coffee, watching the animals graze and listening to the cowbells. The pasture teaches us that we need far fewer material possessions than we think to be happy."
Daniela Nuber has documented her experiences in her book "Mein Almsommer" (My Summer on the Alpine Pasture) and on her blog (German only).
The Pierer Family: Alpine Hoteliers With All Their Heart
"The space, fresh air, nature with all its incredible facets: we want to show our guests how beautiful it is on the alpine pasture and how healing, relaxing, and comforting time out in nature can be. From hiking along Moor Nature Trail to watching the sun rise from the Hochlantsch, it’s the encounters that make the experience so special. When you come across a wild animal, you realise just how close you are to nature. We are very luck to live in a place that is surrounded by green meadows, wild herbs, and pristine forests. We humans often forget that the good is so close by and looking out across the seemingly endless mountain world makes challenges seem ever further away."
The Pierer Family runs the Almwellness Hotel Pierer on the Teichalm in Styria.
Pia Matkovits: A Passion for Hiking
"The mountains are my retreat. They put everyday problems into perspective. When I hike from hut to hut, I can enjoy the moment – without my phone, without stress. There is a wooden bench in front of the door on almost every alpine pasture – and that’s my favourite spot. From here you can absorb it all: the view of the alpine meadow and the animals, the sound of the bubbling spring, the delicious smells from the kitchen, the people who come and go. The Austrian Alps are not just an impressive natural landscape, they are also a true cultural landscape, which we must preserve. That is why I like to do my bit and regularly help with the maintenance of the alpine pastures."
Pia Matkovits is a student in Salzburg and Vienna. In her free time, hiking is her greatest passion.
Medicine From Nature
Univ.-Doz. Dr. Arnulf Hartl, Head of the Institute for Ecomedicine at the Paracelsus Medical Private University in Salzburg, and his team are researching the health benefits of a stay on the alpine pasture. "There is an incredibly high level of biodiversity and a diverse microbiome on the alpine pasture. We know that children who live on a farm are less prone to asthma and allergies", says Dr. Hartl.
But how come children who grow up on farms and alpine pastures develop better immune defences? The answer is simple, Dr. Hartl explains: "Our immune system needs to be exposed to a variety of bacteria – particularly in childhood – to develop and work properly against harmful invaders. If this doesn’t happen then it can turn on false enemies, which can result in allergies and autoimmune diseases."
Authors: Corinna Meyer, Laura Elsayed, Monika Plank
with help from Kurt Stelzer