Inside Austria: Hallstatt in the Rain

July 23, 2014 at 10:01 am 6 comments

hallstatt waiting for the ferry
Location: Hallstatt, Austria
 
It was raining when the bus dropped us off by the train station where a ferry would take us across the lake to Hallstatt, a small village in the Salzkammergut region of Austria.

hallstat lining up for the ferry
 
We found that there were already many people waiting for the one-hour ride, but our guide said not to worry. There would be enough room for everyone. She was right. I guess she must have been here before.

hallstatt town square
hallstatt by the lake
hallstatt homes
hallstatt catholic church

 
After checking in at the hotel, we strolled around Hallstatt in our rain gear and getting our feet wet (literally). It looked like a place taken out of a fairy tale. In fact, one Chinese businessman was so taken by its beauty that he built an exact replica of the village in China’s Guangdong province.

hallstatt funicular
hallstatt view from the top
hallstatt view from the top

 
The sun came up later in the day and we took the salt mine funicular to Hallstatt’s upper valley 2,700 feet above sea level. The view of the town and the lake with the mountains in the background was priceless.

hallstatt hike
hallstatt hike
hallstatt hike
hallstat hike

 
Afterwards, we hiked back downhill amidst ferns and wildflowers always careful to watch our steps on rain-soaked trails.

hallstatt cemetery
hallstatt cemetery

 
Our hike ended in the rocky grounds of the Catholic cemetery. I guess it’s typical in this part of the world to make graveyard plots look like small gardens.

hallstatt st. michael's chapel
hallstatt bones

 
We visited the nearby St. Michael’s Chapel built in the 12th century. In the ground floor, we found the Beinhaus (bone house) containing human skulls. Back in the day when cremation was forbidden, the church resolved overcrowding in the cemetery by removing previous occupants and saving and cleaning their skulls for safekeeping in the Beinhaus.

Hallstatt is a village tucked between a large lake and the Dachstein mountains, which doesn’t allow it room to grow. It has been known since prehistoric times for its production of salt. Although it has less than 1,000 official residents, it’ll continue to draw hundreds of thousands of tourists a year for its natural charm and alpine setting.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Leigh W. Smith  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Fascinating, and still lovely despite the rain (well, except the skulls, though those are beautiful in their own way). I would love that hike, Plaridel. You and your traveling companions must be in pretty good shape! 🙂

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  July 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      leigh:

      if you’re into hiking, it’s one of the best places to be. You’ll love it there. 🙂

      Reply
      • 3. Leigh W. Smith  |  July 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

        Oh yes, I love hiking, Plaridel. The kids, not so much yet. They can usually manage maybe a couple miles.

        Reply
        • 4. plaridel  |  July 31, 2014 at 7:08 pm

          leigh:

          it should be in their genes, so give them a few more years and they’ll be set. 🙂

          Reply

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