I’m writing to you right now from the train from Salzburg to the Vienna Airport. The initial plan for this weekend was actually to explore Vienna because I have never been and have wanted to go. The last time I tried to travel through Austria ended up being a bust because hotels were too expensive due to EuroCup 2008. I ended up shifting plans a little bit because Chris also wanted to see Vienna, so I tried to find a way to make a trip to Hallstatt work.
Hallstatt isn’t easy to get to without a car. It could be done, but it would have involved a series of different trains and a boat. I ended up deciding to do the trip as a tour from Salzburg. It would involve the hour and a half trips to and from Hallstatt and some time to explore the town.
Along the way, we passed through the beautiful Austrian countryside while our guide gave us some history of the area. We passed by the Red Bull headquarters (which explains why I mistook a picture of FC Salzburg players for the NY Red Bulls) and even stopped along the way for a view of a lake.
As we approached Hallstatt, our guide explained the various things we could do during our stay. Unfortunately, we were not in town long enough to do the famous salt mine (which is what the industry in Hallstatt is based on). We did have time to wander, go see the view from what is apparently a UNESCO view (didn’t know that was a thing), and/or see the bone church. I figured the view was most important, so when we got to Hallstatt, I (along with most of the group) followed the guide to the funicular station to get up to the mountain.
The view from the top is quite spectacular. There’s a big viewing platform that everyone takes their photos from. I didn’t wait for the long line to get a photo at the tip of the platform and, instead, squeezed through the sides of the platform for the view. It took a couple of tries (including hiking up and down the stairs twice) to get the photos because it started pouring the first time around. I wanted to get out of the rain so I didn’t lose yet another camera to water. It worked out, though, because I missed the large crowds on the funicular ride down.
It rained for the rest of our stay in Hallstatt, which didn’t stop me from wandering around the town. Hallstatt reminded me of an Alpine version of Juneau, AK in many ways. It’s tiny and has a fairy-tale like charm to it.
At some point, I stopped along the way to get a cream filled pastry. I can’t remember the name, but it was delicious.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I never did find the bone church. I’m not sure if I would have had time for it even if I did. I would have liked to see the salt mine and visit the church, but I also think I made the most out of the short and wet stay there.