MCoA - Upper Austria My Corner of Austria

My Corner of Austria: Gwyneth Letherbarrow in Gloxwald (Perg, Upper Austria)

After a career at PolyGram and the UN, Gwyneth relocated to Gloxwald in the district of Perg in Upper Austria in the village her grandmother had lived in.

Quarry Lake, Gloxwald
Gloxwald Woods

What brought you to your corner of Austria?

Austria has always been my second home and as a child, together with my sisters, I spent many happy summers in the birthplace of our Grandmother, the tiny village of Gloxwald in a hidden corner of the Mühlviertel just a few minutes from the border to Lower Austria. 

That family connection together with a strong desire to work for the United Nations led me to first work as an AuPair girl in Vienna at the age of 16 (no children to look after, just a lovely Pointer dog called Gustav), followed by a couple of years back in England and a happy return in 1985 when I found a job as an international promotion manager for the record company PolyGram. My ambition to join the UN was achieved in 1989  (my sisters succeeded before me) and I never looked back.

The cottage where my Grandmother grew up and where I now live and run my coaching and training business from was built in 1899 and was home to the men who worked in the quarry (which lies above the village) and their families. 

Despite moving to England in 1937 and spending her entire working life as a cook for an aristocratic family, Granny visited her home when she could and took advantage of the opportunity to buy the cottage when the quarry closed in the 1970’s. The cottage has subsequently been modernised and I love living in this old stone house surrounded by fir trees and fresh air.

What tradition or custom is typical for your corner of Austria?

As in many villages in Austria, an annual event (with the exception of 2020 and 2021) is the raising of the May Pole.  Onlookers buy the men putting up the pole litres of beer (from the village’s portable drinks wagon) and are further encouraged by someone playing a piano accordion now and again.  It takes several hours and a lot of beer!

What would you recommend to a visitor who was visiting to see and do?

There are many walks to be enjoyed around Gloxwald, and the empty spaces left by the quarry blasts are now filled with water coming from an underground source. Our drinking water is fabulous!

The most prominent place of interest in the Perg district is the KZ-Gedenkstätte (concentration camp) in Mauthausen. If you’re looking for something more peaceful and enjoyable however then Grein a.d. Donau (10km away from Gloxwald) has much to offer in the form of the Greinburg Castle – the oldest residential castle in Austria – the Stadttheater built in 1791 which offers daily tours as well as regular performances by local theatre groups, and the Kaffeesiederei Blumensträußl in the town square dating back to 1450. 

If it’s cake you’re after you may prefer Cafe-Konditorei Schörgi where you’ll have a fabulous vista of the Danube, and be able to watch the river cruisers and cyclists pass by (during the summer it’s best to book a table in advance and be warned, they only take cash!).

A few minutes’ drive along the Danube in the direction of Vienna is the stunning walking/hiking trail, the Stillensteinklamm (it’s well signposted) that takes you through almost 12km of forest pathways over small streams, through meadows, and steep stone steps.  You can enjoy a well-earned break at the Aumühle, a venue that offers great food and wellness.

Further along the Danube and up a windy road you’ll find Waldhausen im Strudengau (which is our closest town). Originally a part of Bavaria, Waldhausen is made up of beautiful forest and farmland and more recently has added Mummies dating back to the 17th Century to its list of attractions.  You can see the Mummies at the Stiftskirche.

Where do you recommend for going to eat or having a drink?

There are many eateries in Grein, and with just three main Gasthäuser in Waldhausen, you can’t go wrong with traditional Austrian fare.  Gasthof Hader – Schlüsselwirt – makes its own ice-cream during the summer, Gasthof Reutner serves a fabulous breakfast, and Gasthof Schauer dishes up seasonal specialities.  All three also offer bed & breakfast. As with everything else, please check in advance for opening hours.

How can your corner of Austria be reached (by car or public transport)?

Public transport here is limited and if you get on a train arriving in Ybbs (coming from the direction of Vienna) or Amstetten  (coming from the direction of Linz/Salzburg) you could wait a while for a bus to Grein or Waldhausen. 

If you’re driving from Vienna, take the A1 towards Linz/Salzburg and then take the exit to Ybbs. If you’re driving from Linz/Salburg and beyond, you’ll need the Amstetten West exit on the A1. Grein is approximately 150km west of Vienna

Does anyone famous come from your corner of Austria?

Our greatest local claim to fame is Josef Hader, comedian, actor and film director who was born in Waldhausen.  After trying out his cabaret show at school, he never looked back and has become an acclaimed personality.

Enjoyed reading this “My Corner of Austria”?

Gwyneth has always loved living in Austria and relocated to Gloxwald in 2011 after leaving the UN in 2011. She set up her business as a coach and trainer, Feelgood Coaching and Consulting, in 2013 and loves working from her beautiful corner of Austria. If you know you’re going to be in the area she’d love to hear from you!

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