May. 16th, 2015

Over the last few days we've seen people from almost every continent. I'm sure there were precious few Chinese here even 10 years ago, but there are lots here now, so that's encouraging. However, we've also seen quite a few women who are completely covered, save the eyes and hands. Often as not, their husbands are dressed in tight T-shirts and/or shorts.

Now, my feminist sensibilities instruct me that women have every right to wear just what they choose so, if these women were to assure me that their choice of dress is purely their own, I'd be duty bound to accept it. However, I cannot shake the suspicion (at the very least) that these women's choice has not been made entirely in a vacuum. It seems to me that the dress code was designed by men - and let's be honest here, it was men - who appear to have laid down rather stricter rules for what women should be allowed to wear than those laid down for men. Or at least, if the rules for dress in the Qur'an are strictly even handed, then the interpretation of those rules seem rather less so. I find it hard to believe in a God that would restrict one half of his/her creation more than the other half. So, again, I find it difficult to shake the suspicion that the men who codified the rules were, at best, less than even handed in their interpretation.

A postscript to this occurred today (Saturday). A woman in a head scarf approached us to ask a question. Her (rather generously covered) husband said something to her and she turned towards him to reply. I then saw her doing something with her scarf and when she turned around, only her eyes were visible. Clearly, she had no qualms about talking to us with her face uncovered, but he obviously did. A little while later we saw them again. She was on a swing, again open-faced, while her husband had his back to us. As we passed he suddenly became aware of our presence. I purposely did not look in their direction, but I'm sure I saw her covering her face again.
Having picked up a hire car in Salzburg, we set off for Mayerhofen. We decided on a southern route, in order to visit the spectacular "Liechtensteinklamm" ( Well, I'm assured it is spectacular, because we didn't get to see it. Annoyingly, it was closed, even though all the information states it is open from 'early May'.

However, the route over to Mayerhofen then took us over a far more scenic route than the more northerly road would have done. We passed the Krimml Falls, which are also spectacular. ( We didn't go in, as we were running a bit late by this time, but we did get some fabulous views from observation points on the road.

After trundling along the valley floor for some while, we began climbing a veritable switchback of hairpin curves until we reached the summit of the pass. I was somewhat astonished to see a toll gate, as I'd not realised we were on a private road. Maybe there had been a sign lower down, but it certainly was not obvious to a foreigner with poor German. I did wonder whether it was only for an even higher route, but no, they'd plonked it down right on the summit, where it was obviously too far to retrace ones steps and find an alternative. I've just been looking on Google maps and cannot quite decide which road we actually took. I thought it was the main 165, but now I'm really not sure. That said, it was a lovely drive and well worth the Eu8.50.

Finding our apartment in the Ziller Valley was something of a challenge, with only a road atlas of the country as our map. However, the signage around here is second to none and we spotted the name on a roadside sign. The apartment is one of many, though I think we are the only residents today. It has a kitchen diner, a bedroom with a proper big bed and a shower room. And a view of the mountains to die for. I'm tempted not to go home.



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