Like being mothered and pampered by a favourite aunt in the country was our inspectors reaction to the welcome extended by Irmgard Knapp at the Kirchleiten, an enchanting village house, with verandahs covered in different varieties of geraniums. Her husband, Bernhardt, is one of a long line of master carpenters, which explains the lovingly-carved staircase and the distinctive light-and-dark pine panelling in the dining-room. The house dates back to 1750 when it was built as a Bauernhof (farmhouse) with the usual two cows, some pigs and chickens. Since 1954, the Knapp family have expanded and improved it, all with their own hands. Even the two life-sized straw men on the stairway were made by Frau Knapp for a local carnival 20 years ago.
Our most recent guest was particularly taken with the rooms in the old house, which have wood panelling and small square windows; many also have balconies. At the very top are small, cosy rooms like a dolls house. The new suites, on the other hand, have whitewashed walls and furniture of light-coloured pine with peasant floral decoration. Views are across the valley or over the garden with fruit trees and Turnau’s village church behind.