don't stick to your last! 
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Cobbler, don't stick to your last! 

If it had been up to great-great-grandfather Anton, there would have been a shoe factory where you are enjoying your holiday today. That's something to think about! I am glad that things turned out differently. Otherwise we - you and I and my courtiers - would never have met in the end. If I feel like it, I'll tell you this story, which is a wonderful example of the fact that the world belongs to the brave and that even a cobbler doesn't have to stick to his last when he longs for something different. 

The Schnals Valley as a stronghold of shoemaking

In a time when stilettos and sneakers and loafers and barefoot shoes were still a distant dream of the future, there lived a man called Anton. Anton was a hard-working shoemaker and made decent shoes. That's why he was able to buy a small farm in the Schnals Valley in the 1880s. You guessed it - that was me, the Oberraindlhof! Shoemaker Anton's wife Aloisia had a son, whom they also christened Anton, as was customary at the time. And this Anton, the second, was to take the shoemaking business even further than his father.

The cobbler's shop used to be where you find my Raffeinerstube today. The second Anton made such excellent shoes that they sold like hot cakes all over Upper Italy. Repairing boots that had become holey was also part of the business. As was the case in those days, money was scarce for many people and a shoe was worn and mended until it really couldn't go on any longer. Speaking of walking: Anton and his journeymen were also regularly on the road, moving from farm to farm to repair the farmers' shoes on the spot. In those days, this was called "going to Stear".

A cobbler family moves with the times

And so the years went by and Anton the third also became a shoemaker. He continued to expand the business, because it was getting cramped in my old room and the hard-working shoemakers were sitting close together. Anton Junior needed a whole nine of them, living up to his father's (and grandfather's) good name. But then something happened that the hard-working shoemakers had already reckoned with: Business declined. Slowly, but surely. What luck that Anton (the third) was an extremely prudent and far-sighted person. He understood that he could no longer keep up with the big shoe factories in faraway countries, as unfortunate as it was. He briefly considered expanding and building a shoe factory himself. But things turned out differently. With a trembling heart, but full of drive and confidence, he marched down into the valley with his wife Zita and applied for a licence to rent out guest rooms, as it was called at the time. Because the mountaineers from all over the world had discovered me, the Oberraindlhof, as an excellent starting point for their alpine tours and as a relaxing place to spend the summer. And just look what the following generations have made of me!

Beautiful shoes and the courage to dream

I don't need to tell you how great a holiday you can have at my place, but I will tell you one thing: The legacy of the old cobbler's shop continues to this day: My senior boss Helmuth is still known as "Schuster Helmuth" among the older people in the village. So the next time my farm people look at your shoes a little too long, you'll have to forgive them. Because the enthusiasm for beautiful footwear has somehow stayed in the family over the generations. Now it's your turn! Do you also have a story that tells of how, contrary to the saying, you don't have to stick to your last? Just send me an email or whisper it to me during your next stay in the Schnals Valley!

Your Oberraindlhof