Thursday, July 28, 2005

The most beautiful village in the world

Through some sort of semi-competitive process which was never completely disclosed, Lech won the right to call itself β€œthe most beautiful village in the world.” This is only a slight exaggeration – the family voted this our favorite stop on our grand tour. Beautiful mountains, rushing streams, and friendly Austrians made it an easy place to stay.

One night we saw lights leading up a ski slope to a little lodge and thought we would pop up to take in the view. Thirty strenous minutes later we collapsed on the doorstep of an extraordinary restaurant called Rud Alpe. The restaurant looks like an ancient barn on the outside and a hip San Francisco restaurant on the inside, commands a stunning view of the entire Lech valley, and has a similarly stunning menu and wine list. Once we had found it, we contrived to eat as many meals as possible there during the rest of our stay.

Lech has also figured out that it takes a village to make a vacation fun and easy. Anybody staying at a local hotel gets a pass which gives you free rides on the busses, chairlifts and gondolas and entrance to the huge outdoor pool. You can put your children in an all-day program of hiking, rock climbing or soccer for 8 euros per child per day – Lech is the most kid friendly place we have been to in Europe.