Monday, May 3, 2010

Journey to Old Mrs. Fischer

A couple of years ago my friend Gerit told be about the Fischerhütte, or Fischer cottage, where an old woman lived with chickens, cats, sheep, and cows, in a farmhouse tucked into an orchard. Hikers who found the place could stop by and have a glass of apple wine and buttered bread. The thought fascinated me. And yesterday, Gerit, Maria, Anna, and the doggies joined me on a hike out to meet old Mrs. Fischer.
Dirt paths, silver birch trees spreading the greenest of leaves, and perfectly mild weather. The entire afternoon was magical.

Through the woods, talking about wild herbs, work, family.

We filled our bottles at the fresh water spring. Supposedly there is a water nymph living there. Carved on the right side of the stone, you can see the year it was discovered: 1890.

"This is the road that leads to the Fischer cottage," Gerit said. I had passed it many times but never gone down that road. It was very still; just us and the birds. It was quite a long way, but finally, Gerit led us to an opening in the woods. And like magic, a field appeared...

The sheer beauty of this place made my heart pound. This small photograph hardly does it justice. The view over green hills into the hazy blue distance was breath-taking. We trudged down the field and I wondered where the cottage was, as there was no sign of a house or a road.

We neared a blossoming orchard and Gerit told us it was right past these trees. I kept wishing I could walk in slow motion, or hold onto this moment longer. The beauty was almost unreal. I felt this was a place that only existed if you stepped into a faery ring. I kept trying to convince myself that this place was real, that it was just an hour long hike away from my home. Now I was getting very curious what old Mrs. Fischer would be like.

We passed a barn and a shed. Blossoming trees everywhere. And a few sheep. Maria tried to give them some of the wild mint we had found on the way, but they were afraid of the dogs and stayed in the shade of their shed.
Past the sheep we came to the farmhouse; chickens and roosters everywhere...dozens of potted plants and trees...and a couple of wooden tables and benches where we sat down and waited. And then she came. And my goodness, look at her! Her dress! Her apron! Her little woolen shoes! Her smile! Old Mrs. Fischer. I was in love.

We ordered apple wine and juice, and bread with butter and cheese. Her son brought it out for us while Mrs. Fischer talked with us. She seemed quite pleased to have guests, and it was such a fine day. I snuck photos of her and hoped she either didn't mind or didn't notice.

We took turns asking seems we were all fascinated by this woman who lived in a hidden valley with no street leading to it, who looked like she belonged to another time. She was kind enough to answer our questions.
She told us that the house where she lived was the house she was born in. Her grandfather, a Slav, had bought it over 120 years ago. It had been built for the men who worked in what was at that time a stone mine. Her grandfather bought it as a summer house for his family. Eventually it became her parents' home, and hers.
She told us that the sheep weren't giving milk now because there was no ram. When she had a ram, they made lovely milk, and she made cheese with it and sold it to people who stopped by.
One of us asked what it was like to live here with no street and no car. She answered: "A car isn't important"
She said that she has two stoves, and they gave enough heat in winter. She said she didn't need any electric heaters.
When asked about her animals, she said that at some point there were 67 cats living in and around her home. Now there was only one. And a very old blind dog.
The duck and the chickens roamed free. She said they come when they want and go when they want. There was one particularly proud and beautiful rooster which I managed to catch on camera while Mrs. Fischer spoke.

Mrs. Fischer was so wonderfully bright. She could hear everything and could speak in clear sentences. I loved watching her talk. She was so incredibly content. When she said, "I was born here, and I've been here ever since," her face was glowing. When I asked which kinds of fruit trees she had and she answered, "Every kind there is," she had a little chuckle in her voice.
Another small group of travellers arrived, and when we finished our drinks, we said goodbye, and set off, refreshed, into the green.

As we made our way back up through the meadow, I stopped to look back at the flowering trees which hid the treasure that is Mrs. Fischer. I felt so blessed to have met such a soul. That there are still people like her. And I was grateful that I had had the chance to talk to her, and take a few photos.
I was overcome with the strange feeling that I might never go there again, or that if I did, it wouldn't be there anymore. It was such a magical little piece of this world. And I am just so glad I saw it, and met Mrs. Fischer.

I'll share the rest of the beautiful hike with you in my next post. It was quite a day.
xoxo country girl


  1. The Austrian woods have always been a magical place. I remember it from my childhood and meeting people like Mrs Fischer. They are still there unchanged by time and technology. I remember meeting my fathers aunt who at 79 climbed the apple tree to shake some apples down for us!

    What an amazing post. You have transported me back to 1976. Thank you. I love that there are still places so simple and untouched in the world. You are so fortunate to live there. Enjoy!!!

  2. Oh my goodness, what a little gem Mrs. Fischer is. How incredibly magical and rare to meet someone like her. I'm sure it will be an encounter that you treasure forever.

  3. Oh I loved this magical post Dawn! Mrs Fischer looks a little like my Militza (the Slav father maybe??) How wonderful to have that gorgeous hike, and to find this special lady at the end of it. Thanks so much for sharing it with us xoxo Rachel

  4. Gosh, Dawn, this made me want to cry. That there are still places like that and people who are content and rooted to their place on earth. It does sounds magical and I am so glad you shared this with us!! Much love, Silke

  5. You live in such a breath-taking place... and what an amazing experience! I would have loved to be there!!

  6. what a beautiful afternoon

  7. Me too, Silke...I want to cry. Magical. This brought me back from the depths ...what a breath of fresh air..a dream, really. EVERYTHING I LOVE IN THIS WORLD...look at her...I can't get this message over to Julie fast enough...julie won't beleive her eyes...

    Makes my heart pound and my palms sweat...lucky you ! what a PERFECT day, Dawn. Thanks so much and I can't wait to see more..

    a delight

    sending love to you and kiki

    kary and teddy

  8. Glorious post Dawn, very magical and romantic. The hike and Mrs Fischer could both be straight out of a fairytale.
    Looking forward to part 2 already
    Love Morwenna

  9. What a treat of a post Dawn, I will be thinking of it with such pleasure all through the day!

  10. That was the most wonderful thing i've read in a long long time, what a post! i echo the sentiments of everyone else Dawn, how perfectly lovely. Just amazing. How i would have loved to have been there.
    xxx lori

  11. Thank you for sharing your magical day . I felt like I was right along with you and felt blessed with the beauty of the world and meeting a woman so happy and content with life.

    happy day

  12. It makes me happy to know about Mrs. Fischer and this beautiful place. I'm going to tuck it away in my mind so that I can go back and dream about it whenever I want. Thanks for sharing it, Dawn.

  13. Ohhh what a lovely blog about a lovely little Old woman! You said her Son. He lives with her? Wow. Someone should get her another dog and a male goat. What a post! There are still people like her. God Bless them all! ox

  14. Goodness I felt like I was reading a novel, I felt like I was immersed in a story and now need to read more. How lovely, how magical, I want to got here, it seems unreal somewhere like that truly exists in this mad world.

  15. Amazing!! Must have been a wonderful day! Mrs. Fischer is an exceptional person. I also met her once and had nice fresh apple juice with her. She knows so many stories to tell and seems so content about herself and her life! It´s good to know that such places still exist and that some people still believe in nature and are able to live of what nature gives us.
    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pics!!

  16. Oh my goodness! It looks like scenes out of a story book! What a treat. Sometimes I wish that I could go and live a simple life like that. Thank you for sharing!

  17. WOW!! What a Blessing! To be able to witness such beauty. This is amazing and I cannot wait to share this with my hubby! Waiting anxiously for your next post!

  18. What a great story! Sounds like the makings of a good story book, with your illustrations! thanks, Dawn, for sharing your mystical morning with us.

  19. Oh my gosh Dawn, what a beautiful...magical day you must have had. I feel so privilged to be a part of this..thanks to the wonder of computers, camera's and a lovely lady like you! My blessings go to Mrs. Fishcher also...what an amazing lady she must be! Just another of God's creatures on this earth..


  20. WOWWOWOW...amazing Dawn...your ability to share an experience in way that mekes me feel like I was there.
    The photos are trly lightful gems and lill miss incredibel that you can resonate so beautifully with a special soul like that.
    I wonder if you guys can buy her a Ram as a group gift?
    Sounds like she would like to have that cheese again and so would her visitors.
    Thank you so much for posting...I too can't wait for the sequel...

  21. Wow, how magical...I loved this reminds me of a story I once started to write about a little old lady who lived in a clearing in the woods in a beautiful cottage... I could really visualise her and how she'd feed travellers who passed through... I planned for the story to then take a darker side where her suffered a stroke but recovered but then afterwards could see things after that she couldn't see before in the woods and in the animals...

    Your adventure has rather inspired me again to return to that story maybe...what a wonderful lady and place...isn't it lovely that the world still holds such treasures?! xxx

  22. What a fantastic experience Dawn. Reminds me of when we met Rita, a little old lady living in an abandoned hospital hidden high up a back street in Ascoli Piceno. Would never have known she was there had we not been exploring off the beaten track.

    Amazing how we come across these wonderful people.

  23. Wow. That's amazing. I could feel the magic as I read your post. What a wonderful opportunity for you.

  24. I know this post was written awhile ago, but I just had to comment. That was an amazing story. The pictures and the scenery and that sweet old wonderful lady, they are so far removed from where I live (in the States in Florida)what a magical day that must have been. Sounds just like something out of a book. Thank you so much for sharing that story and those photos with us. Warm wishes from sunny Florida.



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