Austria Part 2: Slowing The Pace

Last week I shared what my siblings and I did in 24 hours in Vienna.  This week, I’m moving west across the country and forward in time to our days in Hallstatt and Salzburg.

So, here’s the thing about Austria…. we loved it.

Somewhere between the mountain views and beautiful architecture we just kinda, well, we liked it a lot!  According to a tour guide we had in Vienna, the difference between Austria and Germany (both German-speaking countries) is that Austria is Catholic and Germany is Protestant, which she claimed makes Austria more laid back (since they can earn their way back into favor with God) and Germany more intense (since they need to be right with God at all times).  We didn’t spend much time in Germany, but after 5 days in Austria, I wouldn’t disagree.  Austria gives the impression of laid-backness and pleads with its visitors to be present in the moments they’re in, instead of rushing from thing to thing.  Case in point, Hallstatt.

Hallstatt

Hallstatt is a little mountain lake town about half way between Vienna and Salzburg.  If you are driving, it’s a must stop.  We only spent half a day in Hallstatt as its main attraction is just the general beauty of it.  It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, so obviously we aren’t the only ones who thought it was pretty.  There is an option to take a cable car up and down a nearby mountain.  We chose to ride up and hike down.  I definitely recommend it!

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Little Hallstatt homes with signs to remind the tourists that real people live here.

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The Hallstatt ‘Skywalk’

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A proper World Heritage View.

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Ask my sister how she feels about Hallstatt.  (She’s a big fan.)

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I’m inclined to say that the hike down was rather steep!

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Hiking views of Hallstatt proper.  No complaints here about the steep trail.

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I imagine winter is quite cold?

Once down the mountain, we roamed the streets.  Packed with shops and tourists we eventually found lunch and had our very first schnitzel of the trip.

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The Marktplatz

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Church steeple over private climbing wall.  These people are living the life!

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I wish I could remember the name of this place to tell you to go here.

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Classic Hallsatt

To wrap up our day, we followed a sign to some ladies chilling by the boat dock and rented an hour boat ride.  It was a motor boat but only allowed for slow progress around the lake, which really was perfect because we got to soak up the views and one spin around took the whole hour.

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Karston was happy to captain.

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When in Hallstatt, you MUST rent a boat!

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Blue sky.  Blue water. Blue mountains.

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And swans!

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Seriously, the view from the boat is the best.

Salzburg

From Hallstatt we continued west to Salzburg.  Once the seat of archbishops and wealth (acquired due to the salt trade industry) Salzburg is a small city strewn with cobblestone and history.  In an attempt to catch it all in our one day in town, us girls went on a Sound of Music bike tour and the boys explored the castle.   A bike tour is an excellent way to see a city but it’s always better when everyone on the tour CAN bike.  Aside from that, I learned that I’m not a die-hard Sound of Music fan and found the general history of Salzburg to be the highlight of the tour.  The boys seemed to really enjoy the castle but I have no idea what they learned there, so I can’t speak to that.

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Alpine city views from our apartment.

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We have bikes with baskets.

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Three sisters, pre- Sound of Music tour.

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Fountain from the movie.

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The ACTUAL abbey that Fräulein Maria attended, complete with singing nuns!

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The view from the abbey.  Love the layers here!

And that was it.

Why you should go to Salzburg:

  1. If you are a Sound of Music fan, it’s the location of the film and actual events from these people’s lives, so it’s definitely worth seeing in person and makes the movie even more fun to watch later.
  2. If you are NOT a Sound of Music fan, it’s a city known for it’s Baroque style architecture and has some very interesting Holy Roman Empire history that we barely touched.
  3. It’s easy to navigate by foot or bike.
  4. It’s close enough to Hallstatt for a beautiful and relaxing day trip.
  5. It has enough to do to keep you busy but not too much that you can’t take time to enjoy it.
  6. To tell me all the cool things that we missed out on.  (We really enjoyed Austria but I know we didn’t see it all.  Maybe you could tell us what we missed?)

This was country 2 of our 6 country Euro Trip.  For part 1 of country 2 (Vienna in 24 Hours), click here.  To read a summary of the trip, click here.  For details about country 4 (Switzerland), click here and here.

Salzburg and Hallstatt (1)

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