- Title: Belgian hermit on Austrian mountain awaits visitors with schnapps
- Date: 24th May 2017
- Summary: SAALFELDEN, AUSTRIA (MAY 22, 2017) (REUTERS) VIEW OF MOUNTAIN RANGE AND ZOOM IN TO HERMITAGE SIGN, READING (German) 'HERMITAGE' VARIOUS OF STAN VANUYTRECHT SITTING INFRONT OF HERMITAGE AND SMOKING A PIPE PAN OVER SAALFELDEN TO HERMITAGE VANUYTRECHT SMOKING PIPE VANUYTRECHT ENTERING HERMITAGE VARIOUS OF VANUYTRECHT'S FACE IN MIRROW VARIOUS OF VANUYTRECHT SITTING AT HIS LAPTOP (OPERATED BY EXTERNAL BATTERY) AND WRITING EMAIL (WHICH HE CAN SEND VIA PORTABLE WIRELESS) BOOK COVER, READING (German) 'SOUL SEEKING SILENCE - THOUGHT FROM A HERMITAGE' (SOUNDBITE) (German) STAN VANUYTRECHT, SAYING [WHETHER HE WANTED TO BECOME A HERMIT]: "I need silence, time for prayer and contemplation - and that's what I have here plenty, every morning and evening, silence." MORE OF BOOK, READING (German) 'SOUL SEEKING SILENCE' VANUYTRECHT GOES UP STAIRS TO PRAYER ROOM (WHICH IS INSIDE THE HOUSE) VANUYTRECHT DURING PRAYER PAINTING OF HOLY MARY MORE VANUYTRECHT DURING PRAYER PICTURES OF HOLY MARY AND JESUS (SOUNDBITE) (German) STAN VANUYTRECHT, SAYING [HOW HE DEALS WITH NO WATER, NO ELECTRICITY UP HERE]: "I go to town twice a week. To shop. I shower down there at the sports centre. And I cook here at the tiled stove (Kachelofen) - same at home. Actually, everything is like home." VANUYTRECHT GOES TO KITCHEN VARIOUS OF VANUYTRECHT MAKING FIRE IN THE TILED STOVE (SOUNDBITE) (German) STAN VANUYTRECHT, SAYING [HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY REACT, YOUR CHILDREN, PARENTS]: "I had planned to enter a Trapist-Monastery. My children and my parents could visit me there. But here I am only from May 1 until the end of October, and then I go back to Belgium. So they are actually happy to see me there, and also in summer when they holiday in Saalfeld. It is the best for my children and my parents." VANUYTRECHT WALKING INTO THE ST.GEORG CHAPEL, WHICH IS ONLY METRES AWAY FROM HIS HERMITAGE VANUYTRECHT IN CHAPEL, MAKING SIGN OF THE CROSS VARIOUS OF VANUYTRECHT LIGHTING CANDLE (SOUNDBITE) (German) STAN VANUYTRECHT, SAYING [ABOUT WHAT HE FINDS THE HARDEST TO DEAL WITH UP HERE]: "If it rains, then there are not that many visitors. But then it is very pretty up here. The fog, the rain ... I even like the thunderstorm that is very nice as well. It is always nice here, in nice weather or in rain." VANUYTRECHT SITTING IN A SHELTER NEAR THE HERMITAGE AND ENJOYING THE VIEW SAALFELDEN VIEW TO MOUNTAINS, SEEN FROM HERMITAGE
- Embargoed: 7th June 2017 15:00
- Keywords: Salzburg hermit Catholic hermitage
- Location: SAALFELDEN, AUSTRIA
- City: SAALFELDEN, AUSTRIA
- Country: Austria
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0016I76M2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A 58-year-old former surveying technician from Belgium has taken up his new post as the official hermit of Saalfelden, living in a hut-sized chapel built into a cliff in the mountains of western Austria.
Stan Vanuytrecht was one of about 70 candidates from the United States, India, Australia and several other countries who applied for the unpaid position at one of Europe's last hermitages.
The job advertisement specified the candidate must be at peace with oneself" and "a connection to Christian belief".
The 350-year-old Roman Catholic hermitage, in the province of Salzburg, has no power, no running water and no heat. But it does have stunning views of a snow-covered glacier.
The 40-square-metre (431 square foot) dwelling is carved into a steep rock face 1,001 metres above sea level.
In his new life, Vanutrecht must climb down and than back up an elevation of 250 metres (820 ft) to fetch water.
But sitting on a bench in the early summer sun in front of his chapel, he radiated the serenity of a man who has found all he wants.
Puffing on a tobacco pipe and looking out across the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, he said the job ad changed his life.
Usually, the Saalfelden hermit lives in the chapel for many years and finds a successor himself. But the most recent hermit unexpectedly decided to leave after only one eight-month season last November, Moser said.
The applicants were told not to expect complete seclusion as many visitors come to the hermitage to enjoy the view, to pray and to talk.
Vanuytrecht is prepared, with a glass of schnapps for hikers and a piece of cake for children always on hand. In his hut, behind the little kitchen, he has a small chapel to which he can lead people wanting to confide in him in private.
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