People often ask me where my favorite place to travel is. I can’t answer that question – there are just too many beautiful places I’ve been! Another question I am frequently asked is what my favorite national park is. Now that I have an answer for…in the US at least. Glacier National Park has teal blue lakes, hiking trails for every ability level, plenty of mountains to climb or ski, and beautiful wildlife. Below are 10 photos that prove that you should put Glacier at the top of your bucketlist (if you haven’t already):
Balance. When I think back on the week I spent at Moa Alm, balance is the first thing that comes to mind. If you’re looking for a vacation with balance – in every sense of the word – Moa Alm Mountain Retreat in Austria is the place to go! I just spent a week at Moa Alm and I left feeling balanced, relaxed, and rejuvinated.
Moa Alm has different themed weeks, so what you get depends on the week that you choose. The general concept is the same for every week, but certain weeks cater to different types of travelers and focus on different activities. For example, there are family weeks, adult weeks, and mountaineering weeks. I went on an adult week.
First, let me do my best to describe the concept at Moa Alm – a relaxingly active retreat. “Relaxingly active” may seem a bit paradoxical, but let me tell you that the combination of yoga, hiking, free time, and planned activities is just that. Every morning starts with yoga and breakfast. There is usually one planned activity, like a hike, for the day. You are free to participate in as many or as few of the planned activities as you want. Dinner is served every evening. While you will have your own room and plenty of alone time, there is also a social aspect to the retreat. Activities are done as a group and meals are eaten together.
The Balance between Relaxation and Activity
Moa Alm accurately describes itself as “relaxingly active”. I could not agree more with this term. Every day starts with yoga taught by Barbara. Barbara is an excellent teacher and does a great job of catering the practice to the ability of her students. I had an ankle injury, and she made sure to give me different poses to try whenever a posture bothered my ankle. We also went on a hike every day. The hikes varied in duration and intensity, based on weather and what we felt like doing. Afternoons and early evenings were generally left open, and we were free to sit on the property and enjoy the scenery, read, hike on our own, go downtown, or anything else we pleased. While there were plenty of activities to keep us busy, there was also sufficient downtime to relax.
The Balance between Alone Time and Group Time
I came to Moa Alm alone. I wanted to spend some time alone to recharge, but I didn’t want to be completely isolated. Moa Alm offered the perfect balance between alone time and socializing with the staff and other guests. I spent several hours every day alone. I went on several hikes by myself and had the time I needed to recharge. However, I also spent time with the other guests and the staff, so I didn’t feel lonely and isolated. We all ate meals together and hiked together. We talked about our jobs, travels, and life experiences. Everyone was extremely friendly and had interesting life stories to share. We all had a lot in common and got along really well. I exchanged contact information with and keep in touch with some of the people I met at Moa Alm!
The Balance between Guiding and Letting Us Go on Our Own
While I find overly-guided tours to be too much, I don’t like to be completely alone to figure out my plans. Moa Alm offered group activities, which we were free to participate in or not. Additionally, the staff were happy to help us plan things on our own. Hikes were generally planned at dinner the night before with the managers Hubert and Barbara. It wasn’t overly standardized and planned. We could all say what we were looking for (like challening, flat, waterfalls, etc.), and Hubert and Barbara chose hikes that met our requests. They shared interesting information about the animal and plant life as we hiked. I had been traveling and hiking before I arrived at Moa Alm and I desperately needed a pedicure. I told Barbara, and she helped pick a spa and made an appointment for me. I also wanted to summit a mountain in the Alps. I had no idea which mountain, so I told Barbara and Hubert I was looking for something not too technical that I could do in a day. They gave me several suggestions, and I picked the mountain that sounded the most appealing. They then gave me a map, went over my route options, warned me about the weather, and told me everything I needed to know. I hiked on my own, but was well prepared with minimal to no effort doing any independent research thanks to Barbara and Hubert.
The Balance between Healthy and Indulgent Food
The cooks are amazing. Absolutely amazing. First, let me go off on a little tangent about how well they accommodated my diet. I am a strict vegan. I was so busy before I arrived at Moa Alm that I forgot to tell anyone of my dietary restrictions until about an hour before the first dinner. And I still ended up with a delicious, three course vegan meal. Wow – talk about being accommodating!
The ingredients used at Moa Alm are as natural, local, and organic as possible. But there are desserts too! Like cake. A lot of cake. I loved knowing that I was eating high-quality food but it was also nice to indulge a little and eat some cake – it is a vacation, after all!
People Who Really Care
Undoubtedly my favorite thing about Moa Alm is how passionate the staff are. It really does make all the difference. Everyone at Moa Alm cares about the retreat and all of the guests. They love what they are doing and it shows. They are more than willing to go above and beyond to make sure guests have a good time. They all have interesting backgrounds and life experiences and are easy to relate to. Even though I went to Moa Alm alone, by the end of the week, I felt like I was with a group of friends 🙂
I Can’t Wait to Go Back!
I had such a good time at Moa Alm. It is by far the best retreat I have ever been on. I can’t wait to go back…and I definitely will! I’m thinking that next time I may try a mountaineering week. If you’re looking for a relaxingly active week in the mountains, go to Moa Alm. You won’t regret it!