Our family’s first memories of Ansitz Felsenheim are those of my father at the end of the 1950s. As was common practice back then, after Sunday church the local chaps would retire to the guest lounge of the Felsenheim for a quiet game of cards. Tagging along on his father’s hand was the young Othmar. He was equally impressed by the wood paneled room and banquet hall opposite, as he was by his “Schampesa” lemonade with a straw sticking out of it.
A few years later, the young lad, who had wanted to lend his father a hand with some painting work at the Ansitz, was impressed by the dimension of the hallways and staircase, simultaneously imagining how his grandmother had busily gone about her duties as a maid here long before his time. After having stood vacant for years, the outdoor ninepin bowling lane long since torn down and the impressive tile stove on lion’s paws sold off, the aging family heiresses offered our family the opportunity to buy the house. My father, a painter and gilder with a weakness for historic buildings, had been hired by the old ladies to restore a grave cross, which presumably sparked the idea in their minds of needing to find a potential successor.
The offer turned into a deal and my father, in his mid-20s, began to get the dilapidated house back into shape. One of the first guests happened to catch his fancy and so it was that the “slightly” overworked host married the Dutch girl Caroline, who would later become my mother. She, too, dedicated herself to looking after our guests and made a major contribution of her own to the future development of this establishment. Now, four decades later, it is my turn. And it is I who serve the Schampesa. Benedikt Kössler