Ever heard of a Krampus? I had not until a snowy night deep in the the Kals valley. It was the first day of advent, so
it was no surprise when St. Nicholas came bundling into the cosy wood clad bar accompanied by a choir of angels.
What a lovely tradition I thought, as the locals who had been propping up the bar quietened as he unrolled a scroll
and read aloud. But then the mood changed, Santa finished reciting and glancing out of the steamy windows we
watched as three huge masked figures emerged. The faces were grotesque. Huge tongues lolled out of gaping
mouths, wide, glaring eyes were framed by scraggly untamed hair, and on their backs, huge metal cow bells rang
to announce their arrival.
The men of the bar stumbled out into the cold, where, one by one they took on the Krampus and one by one, they
were thrown to the ground, clothing torn and knuckles bleeding. The Krampus accompanied St Nik on a tour of the
village, stopping to terrify children into being good - in my opinion, a far more effective threat than a lump of coal on
Christmas morning. Who knew that Christmas could have such a dark, terrifying side?
Luckily Christmas at MoaAlm was a little less scary, and rather more relaxed. We enjoyed a week of snow shoe
hiking and cross country skiing in the stunning snowy mountains. Christmas dinner was a vegan five course feast
featuring delicious beetroot wellington, and of course accompanied by local schnapps and wine. In the evening we
built a huge fire in the fire pit and sat chatting beneath the stars.
With the festive season now over, we are looking forward to a fantastic year here in Austria and hope you can join