It’s our final stop on our trip in September and none had I envisioned more than this location. I think because it was the first place I booked and I knew our room view would be great so I really was anticipating this part of our trip. The clouds were ever-changing outside our window. We kept it open even though the temps were quite chilly during our time here. Our room had a little kitchenette so we visited several grocery stores and stocked up with goodies for breakfast, picnics and even cooked a dinner in our room.
From our window we watched; the fishermen tidy up their nets and the swans glide across the water, apparently the town had purchased a small “street sweeper” and the driver was showing it off to several locals. It was charming to watch the excitement both parties felt.
Our pension was located in the very heart of Hallstatt. The town was just clinging to a little shelf of land between the mountains and the lake. I believe I could wake up everyday here forever. They do get a lot of rain, it was just a steady drizzle three of the afternoons we were here but our last day we were blessed with a day of sunshine.
Hallstatt is located in the Salzkammergut Region in Upper Austria. There are many lakes and mountains in this region. We spent our days exploring the region. Hiking trails around the lakes and viewing vista from the top.
We toured a salt mine. Very interesting. The tour took us way into the mountain and we slid down wooden slats and rode a coal car out. We learned how they have been harvesting salt for thousands of years.
We had lunch at the cafe near the Salt Mines.
The town had a wood carving shop where you could watch the artisans at work. Cute hedgehogs out of bark and gorgeous carved fruit and bags and bags of shavings.
These next several pictures are from our favorite lake, Gosausee. It is hidden back between several mountains and was a very scenic drive to arrive here. The road ends at this lake and a little cafe and a trail which loops the lake. It was drizzling but still so lovely. It took 90 minutes to hike the trail. One of our favorite afternoons of our whole trip.
The trail was quite flat but the surroundings changed dramatically during our 90 minutes. It started with a sheer cliff above and below us that gave way to rocks and trees and we disappeared from the water’s edge to gently wander in the mature forest until we returned to the beautiful water bordered by the thick forest and trickling waterfalls. It was one of the most peaceful and beautiful trail I’ve ever been on.
This is a huge copper funnel to put your ear to and listen to the drips of water from the mountains and greenery coming down. This area of the trails was like a rain forest with the thick mosses. Beautiful sounds and gorgeous area.
When the sun came out our last day, we returned to Gosausee. It is JUST THAT Beautiful!
Another lake we visited and hike on the trails was Altausee. We picnicked here and met some swans and watched a little boy catch minnows with his grandmother.
We went on a little adventure here. We put too little time on our parking tab and then took the wrong trail and, well let’s just say we did a little bush whacking Austria style. But in the end, we found this scenic path out AND we were only 15 minutes late AND no ticket. So it’s all good!
Look at the little tree growing on the roof of the barn!
At the top of the mountain range surrounding Hallstatt is a trail loop taking 3 hours and a viewing platform and ice caves. We were already cold and heard from some Americans in line at the Salt Mines that they would never do the Ice Caves again (too many steps and not worth it) so we decided to forgo both and just go to the viewing platform. We chose wisely! Although the loop on a sunny and warmer day would be outstanding!!!
There are 5 fingers you can walk out on. One has a glass floor. It’s very freaky!
We had a difficult time getting our picture!
From the parking lot, the arrow is pointing to the viewing platform. From Hallstatt you cannot even see it.
We rode two cable cars to get to the top. We had lunch on the middle platform on the way down. This is a very popular winter spot for skiers.
One afternoon while in Hallstatt a rain shower came and we ducked into a church and although we had been inside before, we found ourselves inside again for a while. I sat down at one of the pews and noticed a brass label in front of me. Many of the churches have the seats numbered. I noticed how beautiful the script was and how old the date was. I begin walking around looking at them all. Here are a few that I snapped while the rain showers fell.
A few more photos of the beautiful town of Hallstatt.
Flood lines marked and dated.
The last stop before leaving Hallstatt, we walked the winding steps and paths through the town to the oldest church up the hill and visited the Hallstatt Charnel House. It houses 1200 skeletons. In 1720 the city ran out of room in the cemetery and decided to open up the graves 20 years after the death and store them in the Charnel House. The families would honor them by painting the skulls and put their names and dates on them. They are housed here in this crypt like building beside the church and cemetery.
The priest’s skulls are located on the Bibles and the last person requested to be added to the Charnel House in the 1995 still has a gold tooth visible. She is located in the picture below to the right of the right of the cross.
The painting represented oak leaves- glory, laurel-victory, ivy-life, rose-love. Not all the skulls are painted but the majority of them are. This is unique worldwide to Hallstatt. I found it incredibly interesting! Kevin did not.
I can’t leave you with skulls in your mind so I will tell you about my favorite picture ever! Driving through the country side we came across this house and I literally yelled for Kevin to stop. I had to take this picture. The whole side of the house is stacked wood. I stood under this tree full of apples and took this picture, I just love it. I love the summer of the flowers, the fall of the apples, and the winter of the wood. It’s just my favorite memory ever. And two days later we pass again and a man is pushing a wheelbarrow full of apples down the street right by this house!!
Perfect memory to end my trip on.
Thank you for following along on our journey. I have loved seeing our pictures again and reliving the trip. I find it incredible that we were all these places and saw these beautiful things. God’s world is full of awesomness and I feel so blessed to be able to venture out and explore it.
I would love to hit rewind and do the trip again. I wouldn’t change anything!