Weekends to travel is really a fortunate affair. You get the whole time to yourself without having the worry of going to office and thinking what you have to plan the next day. Going with the flow and spontaneity comes from the heart when weekend trips are longings of a new place with like minded people for company. Whatever be the place then the company will matter and bring ecstatic joy on your faces. Friends can augment the epic quotient of an adventure, this one was truly an epic adventure, a more relaxed and laid back one too I would say. Praveen, Shreya, Praveen No. 2 added as well and then me were pals on this trip. Needless to say I missed my cool bro, the sarcasm overloaded Mahesh like hell again.
So I did this one again with Studifahrten, the most polite and helpful people on any journey that I have gone. The stress quotient on this trip was minimal, from helping all the travellers with maps, directions, food places, specialities and guiding meticulously I really love being with them on each trip. So we continued our journey from Stuttgart to Hallstatt, a bit tiring indeed but fine. As we woke up in the morning to see Hallstatt, the road to this serene village was filled with mists and the mighty blue sky adorned with various shapes and sizes of clouds that literally reached the tip of the mountain. The houses were like a tourist attraction. Each house had a speciality, made from the best wood, carved intricately and shaped to perfection by the carpenters. Grimms Tales came true as we were also passing through a forest and a valley, nature trails covering the bus path. We reached Hallstatt early in the morning just as the sun kissed the bus windows from the mountains overlooking the famous Hallstatt lake. This quaint and secluded village is one of the top ten must see villages before you die.
I found a great resemblance to Interlaken after I saw the Hallstatt See, but there were so many other differentiating factors. Hallstatt is a very peaceful and serene town. The restaurants here are really upbeat and classy and cater to the taste buds of the tourist in the most hospitable manner. Situated on the banks of the lakeside with a spectacular mountain view and the sun kissed waters that reflect each and every nook of the mountains in the water, swans of different sizes and beauty floating gently and gracefully on the lake make you want to get lost in beauty of talking to them. Tiny and crooked wedges and bridges that surround the lake are a place worth to relax and have Giovanni Icecream and Breakfast probably with your loved ones too, or there is the unmatchable and crazy company of friends. All the girls in Hallstatt were wearing Dirndl the traditional Oktoberfest wear, the day I visited this mesmerizing village. Each spot on the banks of the water had panoramic vistas. On one end you could see the sun reflecting over the trees and the mighty garrulous mountains, and on the other end there were towers and cathedrals, ringing the morning bells, and calling us near to them. The houses in Hallstatt are decorated and adorned with flowers of each and every bright color you could find there. It is so vibrant, that negative vibes will automatically disappear and bring a smile on your face. At Hallstatt there are little alleys that take you straight away to the lake. Even the church at Hallstatt reminded me of beautiful walkways and fairy tale paths, there was a graveyard inside this church situated on top of a little hill, but due respect was paid to each and every soul by planting colorful and vibrant flower saplings in their memory. The whole church looked like a scintillating flower orchard. We had ice creams and I shopped for some mountain salt in this village, as there were flavours of all kinds and we were off to Salzburg. Situated along the border of Germany and Austria this place is a perfect blend of the Bavarian and Austrian Culture!.. Next we were off to Salzburg situated around 2 hours away from Hallstatt.
Salzburg is the city of Mozart like we all know. An artistic city. Each person here is a patron of art and loves to portray whatever form of art it be in the most delicate and elegant way over here. You name it, any musical instrument, any form of paintings and sketches, photography and even embossing art. Everything here is so literary and out of the world of science. Mozart must truly have been lucky to have a whole city dedicated to him in such a huge manner. You even get famous Mozart Kugels or chocolate balls here which are made up of marzipan, nougats and nuts at times, I had such yummy ones!..Some even had pistachios, such a rich mix of flavours. Salzburg is a historical city in its own right, it has various palaces and buildings dedicated to great artists and patrons of art. The city is divided into two sides by a river, and on one side are all the famous buildings and another side leads to the castle uphill where the royal family might have lived. This mansion is again made up of sturdy rock and is a gigantic rectangular structure, taking the form of some domes and chimneys where needed. At night this castle glows in the light, and the reflection is clearly visible in the river.
My favourite of all was the Mirabelle Palace, with landscape and well shaped gardens, flowers cut to perfection, red and orange hues, white little lilies by the fountain to give the romantic effect and pink lights encircled the fountain during the evening. It was a sight to behold. Adjoining the Mirabelle Palace is a big theatre house where classic and vintage German plays are hosted and performed. The day I visited Salzburg , we got to see the premiere evening of the play ” Räuber” written by Friedrich Schiller. I assume the literature buffs of the century who have studied and analyzed German literature would have jumped at this opportunity. Next we also saw the Mozart Geburtshaus and his Wohnhaus, the place where he was born and lived, as well as the famous Brücke or the bridge along the river which gave a magnificent night vista of the whole city surrounded by Salzburg Hotel, the palace on top of the hill, the cathedral visible from afar, a clock tower, and even the Rathaus. The main buildings in the city were illuminated after sunset.
My best experience here would be the photo shoot I had on the alley leading to Mozart Square when I climbed downhill after seeing the palace grounds. There was a tiny photograph shop that had 17th century gowns and evening wear, big Cinderella frocks that was the highlight of the shop. As I entered this place I felt a chill run down my spine, my friend Shreya shared the same excitement I guess. We were bewildered by the dresses we saw. They were sheer vintage. We wanted to try each one of them and click beautiful pictures in all of the dresses. Each one was unique.This lady was clicking only black and white pictures and then presented us the framed copies in Sepia mode. Those times will never come back but to wear these and go back into princess times and relive the fairy tale was indeed something I could not miss. So we got to try many dresses and yes choose to. After this we headed to a Biergarten and just relaxed for the whole evening. Tried some authentic Austria dishes like the Wiener Schnitzel and some Kartoffel mixes with the Kartoffel Salat that is a hit in Austrian and German cuisine. We tried one Beer called the Radler and it was the mildest beer that I had till now, had the taste of lime soda. I loved it. This was Salzburg for me, and a small Austrian adventure ended, with two towns. What a day I must say.. experiencing food, culture, art and going back in times.
Until next time with another travel experience!
Rucha Sudhir Khot