The area around Mühlbach am Hochkönig is to my eyes the land of plenty. White men can’t jump, but white people can hike. And they hike in droves. Every mountain top is full of people in high gear, with the latest equipment, strolling the meadows in search of clean air. At the end of the hiking trail, in most cases, there is a restaurant, drinks, sausages, the good life.
Down in the valley, along the roads, there are many posters of the FPÖ calling for fairness. Yes, I agree, the land of fairness should share some of the plenty. The only way the good life and the clean air can continue being part of our daily diet is, if others have the same or something similar.
The Mountains of Richness, metaphorically speaking, are everywhere. You can see them in the large houses, in the big cars, in the leisure-time offerings at every corner. Yes, it is unfair that some countries have plenty and still think that they are the victims. They fear the monster who will come and take away their mountains.
For me, not the mountains or meadows, but the industry around them is Disney-Nature, with cable cars, and mountain bikes, and tiny motorized scooters. With beer glasses the size of small rockets, and pretzels that can serve as a one bedroom apartment. There is the illusion of green living, but, in reality, it is a big business. The simple life, just walking in nature, is as far away from the alpine recreation money machine as the Epcot Theme Park is from Pleasantville.
Ecotourism is the buzz word of the hour. The landscape is green, the customer is white. Here and there you see people from the Middle East, but they don’t like to hike, so in the worst case they disturb the peace in the restaurants and cable cars. The trails still belong to the traditionally dressed Austrians.
When you go up it feels like the good old days. Time stands still, beauty reigns, nature supreme. And then you go down and life catches with you. (y)