Tuesday, August 21st
It was my turn to go for a run, so I headed into the old town and enjoyed the peace of the city without all of the tourists that were still in bed. That was the best part. Running around where Mozart’s house was, the Sound of Music sights, and along the path that follows the river with a fitness station along the way to do some chin ups. It was bliss.
Then back for a bit of yoga and stretching before getting on with the day. Deb and I planned to rent a car today to go to St. Wolfgang and go up the mountain on the SchafburgBahn cog wheel train.
We wolfed down some food from a pita and kebab place before we went up the train into the mountains to an elevation of over 1700m. It was a beautiful sunny clear day, and could see forever overlooking the alps and the aquamarine blue lakes below. The first image is looking back to the place where the train dropped us off, and then the bottom one is looking over at the razor edge that I hiked out onto.
I almost had Lulu convinced to go on an exploratory hike with me along this narrow pinnacle ridge that had a sheer drop off cliff of the equidistant 1700m to the ground below.
It looked razor edge from where we got off the train, but there was about a 10 foot wide path that you could hike along to the point that it did get razor edge. And of course, I had to go to the edge of that razor edge. You only live once, and who knows if I will be walking without assistance the next time I come here.
We took the cogwheel train down the mountain at 4:45, and worked our way over to the destination that we were hoping to spend some time at, Hallstatt.
The drive was very windy and we drove through a dug tunnel (not fabricated concrete structure stuff) into the small town of Hallstatt that was obviously a huge tourist destination. It was quaintly nestled and secluded into a nook of a bunch of really tall mountains and situated at one corner of a pristine lake.
Unfortunately, there was a forest fire that started earlier in the day up on the mountain side (news link here: https://vaaju.com/austriaeng/forest-fire-loscheinsatz-in-hallstatt-continues/), and there was a brigade of helicopters with buckets on them carrying water from the lake to the mountain side.
It looked like embers were falling into the forest below which was really close to the town. By the time we left, there were four helicopters. Apparently, the rock became to unstable for climbers and ground crews to work in the area, so they fought the fire from the air.
There was, yes you guessed it, a playground right next to the lake where helicopters were taking off, scooping up water, and headed off to the fire. There was a zip line, swings, trampoline rubber .strap thingy, and a double tire swinging bouncing thing, which looked really fun (I have seen little moving desk ornaments like this before, but nothing this big!). The kids hopped on, but Wilson jumped off early leaving the load unbalanced and Lulu swung in towards the middle post and her foot got crushed against the centre post. Lots of tears, lots of owww-ies, and so our time in Hallstatt fell short as we had to carry Lulu back to the car to leave. There was no way that we were going to be sitting down for dinner anywhere in Hallstatt only to head back to Salzburg which was going to be another 1h30m home in the dark through the mountains.
So we headed back early, and had a great drive into the mountains as the sun was setting. The drive through the crevaces of the mountains was amazing and had we left after the sun went down, we would never have seen the beauty that was around us. The road did twist and turn, but (at least to me behind the wheel) it flowed. Which was amazing to drive.
We were all getting hungry so I saw this little place in a farming village (which in the winter is a ski town) and pulled off quickly and made sure they had french fries (which are Lulu’s emotion calming food). And, they had a playground that the kids played on, with Wilson carrying her from swings to slide etc…eventually she was walking and weight bearing…so a good functional assessment that her foot was doing better. Ironically, it was the same foot in the same location that Wilson hurt on the step in the Roman canal yesterday. Jeeeez!
We had an awesome meal with homemade pizza, sausages, french fries, warm German potatoe salad with lettuce salad on top (Grandma, this was really good!), and I had an awesome dish of Pfandl. The setting was perfect as the sun was setting over the alps and we were nestled in this little farm village at the base of mountains that flanked us on all sides. Perfect.
Ok, now the sun had set and we were in the dark in Austria. Maybe flowing while I was driving was not the kind of driving I needed to do to keep Debs anxiety at bay. She sat shotgun and was using the HereWeGo app which took us through a single lane farming area in the literal backroads of Austria. All the while, Bobby McFerrin was singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” on the radio. Ironic. Hahahaha.
We told the kids to please be quiet as it was pretty stressful. Cows suddenly appearing in the headlights, obviously Austrian drivers who had driven there before and knew the road, single lane bridges, and putting all of our trust in the app. Plus, it would ding ding ding every time I was literally 1 kph over the speed limit. “Dad, you are speeding again”. Yes I was. 51 in a 50 zone. Deb is loving that aspect of the app. I can’t get away with anything. But being the lovely children they are trying their hardest to be quiet in the back, they occupied their lovely little minds with playing with each other, which eventually turned into “Mom, she pinched me”, “Dad, tell her not to do that”…. SNAP! I lost it in a nice controlled voice and they were quiet for the rest of the ride home. Mainly because they fell asleep. Oh well, the motto for today is:
It is amazing the places you will see when you are on an adventure and an exploration, if you just let them happen to you.
Off to bed we went, ready for our next adventure.
Here are some recipe references for me when I get home, but do try them!
- General Austrian recipes: https://www.austria.info/uk/things-to-do/food-and-drink/favourite-austrian-recipes) … look at Kaiserschamarren, Streudel, and Salzburger Nockerl
- Pfandl recipe: https://www.daringgourmet.com/german-creamy-mushroom-pork-hunters-sauce-with-spaetzle/)