Monday, 10 September
I am settled here at Schalklhof! K and I arrived on Saturday via train from Innsbruck. We took the train to Landeck and then a bus to Schalklhof…well, the bus actually dropped us off along the highway and then we walked along the highway until we saw the dirt road that would take us to our new home. We were cracking up along the highway since we both had big “backpacking” backpacks but then K was pulling a suitcase on wheels and I had a big duffle strung over one shoulder and we both had larger bags with our laptops in them. It must have been a sight for passing cars…two women overloaded with luggage walking along the highway. We finally made it to the turn off and we were both so exhausted and ready to ditch our things. I kept thinking that I could just leave one bag along the road and come back for it, and then my mind would think…just a couple more steps. We passed a house and K said she would ask the people if we could leave our big bags there and we could come back for them...but then we walked by in silence, both thinking about how we wouldn’t want to return later to get the bags left behind...so we trudged on.
Finally the Schalklhof was in sight and we were so excited! When we reached the porch we dropped everything and just ran inside. It was prearranged that whoever got there first (Katuschia and Andreas were in town buying food) would make coffee, so we did that and just sat outside in the garden to wait for their return. There was a group of adult students on a vision quest in the mountains with the owner Peter and they were returning after 4 days in the mountains so K and I were put directly to work. As we were making a large wreath of leaves and ribbon (as a welcome back token) I was amazed that it had only been 1.5 hours since my arrival. It felt like I had been here for years and I had forgotten that my things were still outside on the sidewalk and I hadn’t even unpacked a single thing.
K and I then welcomed back the students and then proceeded to find our rooms. After putting my things away, we went with Andreas to the mountain to gather all the supplies left there. We drove to the site, but then had to hike up a small rocky trail to the campsite. It was quite exhausting going up so high and when we reached the site and saw ALL the things (tarps, canteens, cooking supplies, tools, etc) I knew it was going to be a workout going down. K and I were loaded up with these huge packs on our back that went down past my butt and was higher than my head. If I would not have had a walking stick, I would have fallen over from the weight and size. I also carried a gas tank thing (for cooking) which I kept switching from hand to hand. My knees made it down the trail to the bottom and we unpacked the bags into the van and then headed back up for the second round of things and to clean up the site and make it look like no one had been there. It was such a wonderful feeling to get down the 2nd and final time. I just lay down in the grass on the side of the road and stretched. I knew my muscles would be so sore the next day (and they are!)
It was then back to work at the house helping to bring the food downstairs for the students and cleaning up everything. It was actually a nice welcoming and I felt right at home with no awkward greetings from the others who I really didn’t know. It brought us all together in a way that couldn’t have been done sitting around chit chatting. I am really happy here.