Ma house, my lake, my raft and no one to bother you. “You want to capture these moments of happiness at least in a picture, otherwise you won’t believe it yourself later on,” says Klaus and photographs his wife Susanne sitting on a raft in the middle of the pond, ready for the film, while casually browsing through a book. The sun is shining and the boat house on the jetty is glowing in delicate light blue colours. Early in the morning deer were still grazing by the swimming pond, a woodpecker knocked at his home in the apple tree, and now in the afternoon sun dragonflies are circling between the pond cigars.
Lower Bavarian Tuscany
The couple from Passau had been looking for such a special place for a long time, and then they found what they were looking for in their Lower Bavarian home of all places. If you imagine the high avenue of poplars, which leads directly to Hofgut Hafnerleiten in the Bad Birnbach area, as cypresses, the impression could hardly be more Mediterranean. Gentle hills form the gently swaying landscape. Small villages and farms crouch protectively in their hollows or confidently conquer some ridges. That’s why this Italian-looking terrain in the area between the Danube and Inn is also called Lower Bavarian Tuscany. In the midst of this rural natural idyll in Hafnerleiten, ten unusually designed theme houses, seven exquisite courtyard rooms and five wellness cubes are scattered between meadow orchards, ponds and tall bamboo trees.
In the beginning there was only the house of the farm, which Erwin Rückerl and his wife Anja had built as a private retreat. You, trained hotel manager. He, a passionate cook and barista with training in Sardinia. “I definitely wanted to bring this Italian quality of life home with me,” says Rückerl. But cooking in the strictly regulated shifts of hotel catering was not his thing. And so he looked for this beautiful spot in untouched nature, where the Hofgutshaus was built, in which he opened the first cooking school in Lower Bavaria in 1999 with the “Tischlein deck dich”. The informal and Italian flair that Anja and Erwin created here at large communal dining tables according to the credo “eating connects” was so well received that the guests soon asked about overnight accommodations.
In 2001, a dilapidated sheepfold had to make way for the new building of the small boathouse. And because the Rückerls didn’t want to constantly mow the lawn in front of it, they had a natural pond inhabited by carp, crabs and a pike created, which is fed by the farm’s own spring. More ponds were soon to follow, because the ground on the site proved to be so clayey that pond liner or similar things were not needed to dam up the water. “That’s why we named our Hofgut Hafnerleiten after the potters who used to mine clay here,” says Rückerl.
Hidden in a 30,000 square meter garden, other themed houses followed over the years, which were individually adapted to the landscape and their design also seems to have sprung from happy childhood days: the grassy hillside house, some of which is underground, literally merges with the gentle hills, the The water house stands on stilts in another small bathing pond, or the tree house floats at a dizzy height between the treetops. “The idea for the themed houses came from our landscape gardener Wolfgang Wagenhäuser,” says Rückerl. He then also established contact with the architects from Studio Lot and Format Elf, who gave the house vision a modern implementation. The estate has long been recognized with umpteen architecture prizes, including the Bavarian Tourism Architecture Prize Artouro.