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The Last Rays of Summer

Every year around this time, Otto the Bavarian Zookeeper and I go through the same ritual. We begin to say things like "Well, Otto the Bavarian Zookeeper, this weekend will be our last opportunity to go hiking, so we should make the most of it, eh?" or "So, Otto the Bavarian Zookeeper, how about one last hike to finish out the hiking season . . . eh?" And so on.

It's the same for the beer gardens: "Well, Otto the Bavarian Zookeeper, don't you think we should stop by the biergarten and have ribs? It'll probably be our last chance . . . eh?"

We usually squeeze the last drops out of summer until it's bone dry. We often go hiking in November, still trying to call it summer. We're knee-deep in snow somewhere in Austria and still saying, "How sunny it is today!" Hiking is that important.

At the weekend, we were in Zillertal again. Did you know that Zillertal is Austria's busiest tourist/sports destination? And did you know that Zillertal is pretty much dead during the months of October and November? It's between season: perfect for people--Otto and myself--who enjoy thinking they're the only people on earth. Just us and the cows.

A Bovine Stonehenge

And the farmers spreading manure on the fields. Yes, it's quite stinky.

Zillertal is just a couple of hours away from my home, so it's perfect for a weekend hiking trip. Fall is a great time to see this little world in transition. We were lucky that many of the houses still had their flowers, but many people were taking advantage of the good weather to remove the summer flowers on their balconies. It must cost these families thousands of euros each year to keep their balconies so beautiful. Alpbach, where I took the photos below, has won awards for its flowers. And here are a few more impressions of Zillertal…

Hiking in the fresh, crisp air of fall is how I squeeze the last bits of life out of summer. How do you do it?
I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Other Household Toxins and Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. .

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