07/17/2014 03:42 pm ET Updated Sep 16, 2014

Where The Sound Of Music Meets the Cows

Nikica Batur

If I had to describe the beautiful Nockalm road in one sentence, that's what I would use to get people to visit it. I got your attention, didn't I? But, you are probably wondering: Why such a description?

Well, let me not leave you in suspense for too long. It's just that throughout the entire journey, everywhere we looked, there were cows. In the end, not even the kids could muster the enthusiasm when they spotted yet another one. It was really idyllic, but to the point of wondering, isn't this a bit too much, aren't they going a bit overboard with this? I mean, if you had to come back as an animal in your next life, I am thinking that a cow here would be the right way to go. The only thing I can't comprehend is how on earth are they able to maintain their balance on hills so steep? They must be some versatile cows. I wonder what drinking their milk makes you do. Yet hubs didn't manage to get a good photo of said cows.

Beside the cows, there was of course the fact that the whole road taking you from Ebene Reichenau to Innerkrems is just stunning, for lack of a more appropriate word. Around 35 kilometers long, with 52 bends (hooray for hubby's driving), it takes you as high as 2,042 meters before it starts its descend.

Yes, I am one of those people who is not really into hiking, but this is nice, you get the bragging rights of having conquered a summit of astounding 2,000 meters without too much effort. Still, for all those who like to walk around for no apparent reason, there are plenty of options and let me tell you, the Nocky mountains are really beautiful and a geographical rarity. The Nocky Mountain Biosphere Reserve is home to an amazing landscape (check), lake (check) and an excellent walking path around it explains all the nature's wonders and forests (check), thrilling views (check) and marmots, still only a myth to us.

Along the road you have interesting places to take a break and enjoy yourself, like wooden lodges offering great food, children's playgrounds, museums and energy trails (don't ask; we didn't give those a try). And this is where the music part kicks in. No, I wasn't thinking of the Von Trapp family, though my kids could pass if they knew how to sing anything, and I literally would go for anything except the one verse from "Let it go." But hubby and I could never pull of the Captain and Maria. Though the Sound of Music wasn't filmed nor ever took place here, it still reminded me of it.

Because at every stop along this magnificent road that drives through the only European national park with the largest stands of spruce and stone pine in the eastern Alps, there was someone playing something.

We got to listen to a 3 or 4-year-old, I couldn't really tell (no, not even having my own kids helps, but he was definitely not older than 5) playing a trumpet. At the next stop we enjoyed three grandpas (it would definitely be impolite to try and guess their age) play the long horns. We ate our lunch with the sound of an accordion in the background. And the lunch was really special, as the kids got to play on a playground while we waited for our delicious food, and it was. I don't know if it had to do with the fact we were up high in the mountains where the air is so thin I needed to compensate it with about a thousand calories. Or maybe it really is true that keeping it simple is the best way to go. Either way, we had nothing to complain about, except for the weather, because as soon as I dropped the spoon on the plate, it started raining and lucky for us, we found shelter in a museum. A small museum depicting life of farmers long ago and all the equipment they used. Just as we finished sightseeing it stopped raining and we were able to continue our journey slowly back to our camp.

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