A journey along the trails of the song “Silent Night!” invites you to take a look at your own life and own sensitivities. And finally be able to take a deep breath once again, recharge the batteries and release new energies.
On holiday, you find the time to ponder and reflect: And it is the time of year that people either want to spend on their own or with those they love the most. That is something you do best when relaxed, in your own rhythm and completely free of stress.
It has long been shown just how good spending time in nature is for both the body and the psyche. Fresh air and the fragrance of moor and forest caress the senses. To move through nature has a decelerating effect on your entire being. The Silent Night locations and their regions offer the ideal conditions for a holiday during which you do things that are only good for you.
“Silent Night!” was created by two young men who were in the prime of their lives, and who created something new from their own sources: they were children of their time and their shared love of music bound them in their indissoluble friendship. An impressive creative process full of intimacy, self-confidence and creativity. And a beautiful inspiration for their own work.
Immerse yourself, find peace and balance!
Tip 1 “Seelentium: the well-being region” – the place that left its mark on Franz Xaver Gruber
The morning fog lays like a blanket over the Ibmer moor, the wind blows quietly through the mighty Weilhart forest. The morning’s first rays of light kiss the tower of the local church, the “Innviertler Dom” awake and immerse the bronze angels’ wings of the Franz Xaver Gruber trail in golden sunlight. The well-being region Seelentium slowly awakens to greet the new day. The Gruber family once lived in this most westerly part of Upper Austria. This is the region that left such an indelible mark on the young Franz Xaver, here lie the roots of the “Silent Night!” melody.
Take the time for a timeless holiday
Just a half-hour’s drive north of Salzburg is a small piece of paradise for those people who have the luxury of being able to spend time on themselves. A total of 16 municipalities and towns in the border triangle region of Salzburg-Upper Austria-Bavaria make up the well-being region Seelentium. On the completely natural shores of its dream-like lakes, on the edge of the wooden moor-hiking trails or on the banks of the Salzach river, the silver thread that runs through and connects Bavaria and Austria, the clocks run differently to those in the nearby cities. Or to put it differently: When you come here, it is best to leave your watch at home and just bring time to spend on yourself and the many special features dotted along the edge of the trail.
Seelentium can best be discovered by bicycle or on foot. Away from the major roads, well signposted bicycle routes and hiking trails pass by pastures full of colourful flowers, through small villages, to cosy fruit-juice dispensaries (Mostschänken) and shaded resting places at the edge of the wood or on the shores of the lake. There are surprises to be found everywhere, like the boulders of the Tauern Massif, on the partially wheelchair-accessible Eggelsberg trail along the edge of the glacier, which were brought here by glaciers during the last ice age, the double church in the small village of Haigermoos that is absolutely unique in central Europe or the Heilbründl (mineral spring) deep in Weilhart forest where, according to legend, the robber knight Maier Helmbrecht is said to have cooled his wounds.
The guardian of the moor
The Ibmer moor is a relic of the last ice age and has existed for over 10,000 years. The fear of the treacherous swamp and the ghosts that were supposed to inhabit the moor, helped to preserve this natural jewel against destruction for thousands of years. But there is one person who dares to venture into the moor, even during the twilight, and that is the “guardian of the moor” Maria Wimmer. The trained nature instructor doesn’t just show her guests meat-eating plants and countless species of orchids, she also knows all the stories and history in relation to jack o’ lanterns and moor/bog bodies. Due to the sinewy branches that look like the hands of the desperate reaching out for help from the moor in the flickering light of the lanterns during the natural-spectacle hike, you are guaranteed to not just get goosebumps, but also a greater appreciation and respect for the wonders of nature.
One of the places with the most beautiful landscapes is the snack station Seeleiten, located high up above the Ibmer moor. You can marvel at unique sunsets while enjoying homemade bread, a hearty moor snack and a glass of good Schnaitl beer from the near-by Oberinnviertels “micro-brewery”. When the radiating golden disc slowly sinks behind the moor, the lake Seeleitensee reflects the last rays of sunlight, as the silence of the night descends over the land, a waft of a silent night transcends the darkness to almost make it a holy night.
On the Marien hiking trail
For all those who would like to approach Franz Xaver Gruber’s place of birth at their leisure, the Marien hiking trail is a great option. If you choose Eggelsberg as the starting point, then a visit to the parish church with its 72-metre-high tower is a must. The tower is the reason for the church’s byname “Innviertel Cathedral”. The trail takes you past Steinerwirt, which is known for its “InnWirtler” cuisine, through the municipality of Gilgenberg with its Beinhaus (bone vault) from the year 1410, and directly to Hochburg-Ach via the Franz Xaver Gruber peace trail. Any visit to the Franz Xaver Gruber memorial house should be combined with dropping into the traditional guesthouse Hochburger Stiftsgasthof, once one of the most important horse-changing stations on the trade route to Bavaria.
The route that continues on to Burghausen is certain to have been the same one taken by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1805 as he went to visit his teacher, the Burghausen parish organist Georg Hartdobler. And the young Franz is certain to have been impressed by the fantastic view from the Austrian bank of the Salzach river over the imposing castle complex at Burghausen. Napoleon was marching through Europe at the time and the Salzach river was a sensitive border. Today, the river is a symbol of community and connects these countries – just like the song “Silent Night!”, the legacy of the Innviert composer Franz Xaver Gruber.
The well-being region Seelentium …
… is located in the in the border triangle region of Salzburg-Upper Austria-Bavaria, and with Hochburg-Ach, Arnsdorf and Burghausen (Bavaria), it has three of the most important Silent Night locations.
Contact: Tourismusverband (Tourism Authority) Seelentium, Gundertshausen 9, 5142 Eggelsberg, Tel.: +43 699 / 3946369, www.seelentium.at