Highs and lows in Austria | 4

Day 4+5: Klaus and Anneliese

The weather had been improving in tiny increments and on day four – to my outmost delight – it rained only a little. We decided to take a trip to Kitzbühel in order to check out this celebrity skiing hotspot.

To make a long story short: Kitzbühel is cute. You can stroll down narrow streets in between beautiful traditional houses, have a nice budget-priced lunch at Huberbräu Stüberl and walk up to Einsiedelei for coffee and a view.

But that’s it, actually. It left no lasting impression on me.

Day 5 was all about hiking again. Together with four other fast walkers I left the main hiking group and stepped on it. We took a tour up to four beautiful mountain cabins (this must have been our tour roughly: Vier Hütten Wanderung), passed waterfalls, crossed stony slopes and ended up at Dientalm where they serve the very best Kaspressknödelsuppe I have ever tasted. Marvelous!

Even more interesting than the wonderful landscape was the company during the hike: I met Klaus and Anneliese, one of those very likable extreme long-term couples who spent half a century together and are still as happy as on day one (or at least it seems like it). Despite their age, which must have been somewhere in their mid-sixties, they were in tremendously good shape and kept pace with the younger people. During the decent Klaus walked next to me and told me about his life. He ran the marathon for 15 years (starting at the age of 46), each year topping his personal best. With his wife he still rides the mountain bike in their vacations and together they have tried several long-distance trails, outpacing other much younger people. They challenge each other physically, all the while being gentle and respectful to each other. It impressed me very much. Klaus and Anneliese were fitter than most people my age and also spread more joie de vivre than most people my age – I listened to Klaus in awestruck silence all the way down the mountain.

And then I suddenly thought: This is what I want to be like in thirty years. Active, healthy, well-balanced, spirited. This is a great goal worth working for. Getting older doesn’t have to be a drag when you have the mental image of Klaus and Anneliese before your eyes – with their hearty laughter and cheeky, witty manner. There should be more people like them, reminding us that getting older does not equal getting passive and weary with a collection of more or less severe ailments.

Lesson learnt today: With a little effort getting older can be awesome. 

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