When You Need to Go Up to Wind Down

Stories from the Farm, 15.04.2021, Sabine Ertl

Guests on the farm “Götzbauernhof” will look in vain for a prettified view of the countryside. Instead, they’ll find an authentic travel experience, lots of childhood memories and a healthy appreciation of good food. But first and foremost, they’ll find inner peace in a natural setting of unspoilt beauty.

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Monika Vitzthum auf der Terrasse ihrer Almhütte | © Urlaub am Bauernhof im SalzburgerLand / Daniel Gollner

Klaus Vitzthum is a realist. Everyone knows that it can be hard to stand on just one leg. He also does. When he took over the farm in 1994, it was evident: Dairy farming wouldn’t be enough to feed all the hungry mouths on the farm “Götzbauernhof” in Unken. The family didn’t waste time on beating around the bush. Either he or his wife Monika would need to look for an additional job. Or they would have to invest in a second economic activity on site. It was a quick and clear decision. Since their family looked back on a long tradition of accommodating guests, the young farmers knew what they had to do: Stepping up to the plate and revitalising the declining tourism sector on their farm. They renovated the rooms. Adding modern amenities didn’t compromise their traditional charm. They built a playground and a cosy cabin where guests can have a barbecue and sit together on a warm summer’s evening. “Thanks to farm holidays, we’ve reached our goals. Now, we’re happy about a high occupancy rate”, Klaus says proudly.

Let’s Make Things Up for Guests? No, Thank You.

Guests keep coming here. Every year. For decades. Why? “Because we don’t make things up here. A farm holiday is the ultimate authentic travel experience. We don’t prettify things. It is the way it is.” And that’s enough. After all, the families who come here with their children want to feel, see, taste and understand what agriculture is and how farming works. Klaus is convinced: “Take milk, for example. People appreciate it more when they see where it comes from, how it is produced.” He sees himself as an ambassador of farm life. “To some extent, our society’s unaware of the way food is produced and of where it comes from. That’s what we can show. Here, it’s not about manufacturing something in large factories. It’s about family farms that produce high-quality, natural food without any additives.”

See It Through the Eyes of a Child

Monika is sure: “Nowadays, we simply don’t use much of our traditional knowledge. It has somehow faded into oblivion. And yet, nature has so much to offer. It’s actually a great source of treasures. They are there, thriving on fertile soils right on our doorstep.” Monika is an expert on herbs. When she shares her knowledge, people get a sense of nature. In 2007, a group of like-minded people and her founded the “TEH®”, an association promoting the so-called Traditional European Medicine. What’s their mission? They are committed to passing on knowledge of traditional, local remedies and organise workshops, lectures, seminars and training courses. Home-made Calendula cream, for example, is a miracle cure, especially for children. “Kids don’t feel embarrassed, they ask questions. They form strong bonds with the animals on our farm. They are curious and peek through every door, every window. When there’s a burbling mountain stream, they see a huge adventure playground. They keep their eyes open as they walk through nature.”

Wind Down at the Mountain Cabin

For kids, it’s so normal. For adults, it’s sometimes hard to find. But here, on the farm “Götzbauernhof”, everyone will eventually succeed in finding those authentic childhood memories. Those memories that put a light-hearted smile on your face. Take some time off, wind down and forget your mobile phone a bit more often each day. Immerse yourself in country life instead. It’s different how long it takes. “Some of our guests hop out of the car and instantly get into holiday mode. Others need more time. However, when we walk up to our ‘Alm’, our mountain cabin, together, it becomes so easy. It’s set at an altitude of 1,400m. There, we enjoy coffee and some cake, and we marvel at the picturesque mountain scenery. This is the moment when even the last remaining thoughts of work and other worries fade away.” The “Alm” is not only a place of longing for guests. For Monika and Klaus, it’s their very own retreat where they can energise. “We love to sit down on the bench in front of the cabin, look at the scenery and watch the cattle graze. We don’t need much more to be happy.”

Their three children share this mindset. When the teacher asked the kids where they’d go on holiday this year, one of the two daughters even answered: “Why should I go somewhere else on holiday? After all, I live where people spend their holidays!”

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Sabine Ertl
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