Gästehaus Krenn, Stainach-Pürgg, Austria: How to stop time
In the picturesque village of Pürgg, high above the Ennstal valley and with a population of just 150, time seems to stand still. Austrian poet Peter Rosegger described the idyllic spot as the “cradle of Styria”, and it’s where we discover a restaurant and guesthouse with centuries-old character that is still evident today.
Anyone arriving in the wildly romantic village of Pürgg will notice straight away that the clocks here just seem to tick differently. Slower somehow. Quieter. We also notice it at the Gästehaus Krenn, one of the beautifully renovated farmhouses we come across in the village. Here, it really doesn’t matter whether we go for one of the four cosy double rooms or one of the three spacious suites – every room embodies a piece of history
The two hosts Theresia and Valerie Graf have painstakingly and thoughtfully combined these pieces of history with contemporary elements from the modern day.
You can almost picture the young artists that would have come here in summer in olden times to kick back and take inspiration from the rawness of the location. And the building still delivers inspiration today, be it in the form of a book from the well-stocked library, the breath-taking view from one of the windows in the cosy breakfast lounge or while pondering in the homely dining room. At the Gästehaus Krenn, you’ll find yourself in a temporary home away from home where you’d like to stay a little longer, and where you’re bound to come back – preferably sooner rather than later.
Alternative advent in Pürgg
Yet the global situation has still managed to reach the small village at 650 metres above sea level, so things are somewhat different in Pürgg this year. The autumn/winter 2020 season will be rather quieter and more reserved than usual – the famous advent market, for which every house in Pürgg would normally open its doors to thousands of guests year after year, will have to give way to a more sedate yet no less atmospheric advent experience given the current circumstances.
But we’ll still be able to hear the crunch of the snow under our shoes as we step out into the festively decorated alleys for a stroll following a relaxed evening meal at the Gasthaus Krenn. This gem of a pub from the 16th century is also run by the Graf sisters alongside the guesthouse, and still serves up traditional dishes straight out of grandma’s recipe book, including Blunzengröstl (fried potato with black pudding) and Sauerrahmsoufflé (sour cream soufflé) – and they’re even presented on handwritten menus that are done afresh every month.
Alternatively, you can pick up some homemade bread, spreads or a heavenly slice of cake in the Greißlerei, the guesthouse’s own delicatessen. It’s a superb village shop where we again encounter the unique charm of the past that, Christmas sparkle or not, will transform every visit into something truly special.
It’s at this point that we’ll be more than happy for time to stand still.
Text: Nina Prehofer