People never locked their doors either, and you seemed to know one another better.Nowadays everyone seems so busy and you can go for a week or a month without seeing a neighbour.Then the highlight of the day, a trip to Austrian co-operative farm Buschenschank where schnapps, cider and fruit juices are brewed, with plenty of taste tasting for everyone.A final, but dramatic stop, was the Pyramidenkogel, a 50 metre tower with 360 panoramic views across a valley of four lakes, mesmeric in the haze of the evening sunshine.But there is plenty to the country other than schnapps, although it is practically impossible to avoid it.During the winter Carinthia- the most southerly region of the country bordering Italy and Slovenia- is awash with thrill seeking tourists who come to the mountainous region to ski in their droves.From here we had a gentle stroll through the woods to a hidden treasure, a practically private restaurant on the shores of a small lake at Trattnig.
An acquired taste and fortunately for me one that I thoroughly enjoyed, it is an expression of friendship as everyone welcomes you in with a drink and then toasts your goodbyes with another quick shot.
The delicacy was the establishment's own cured ham followed by a night of schnapps upon schnapps.
The next day we took a boat across Lake Worthersee to visit the dainty pilgrimmage church of Mary with its picturesque cemetery.
Dinner and further schnapps was at a scenic spot back at Lake Worthersee where we were serenaded by the restaurant boat-chaffeur driver.
During our last morning, we managed to find time to take in a mountain bike tour at Lake Weissensee, a quieter expanse of water where local families come to swim amongst the ducks and their young.