Day 4 - 2013 Europe Trip - A Day Trip To Hallstatt

10:44 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

Hallstatt, Austria

We got to breakfast on time....right at nine o'clock. The spread was similar to the one in Munich. I had another boiled egg. This one was brown but I still saw the feathers stuck to the side so I knew how fresh it would be. It was delicious. I had my pfeffermintz tea, orange juice, and yogurt with musili and fruit. I finished off with a salami, swiss and ham sandwich. We freshened up and walked the short walk to my car in the handicap spot. It was still there's...Phewww. We were able to drive out through the gates with no trouble, contrary to what the taxi driver told us. The gates are open for delivery trucks in the mornings. We were thrilled to see blue sky and feel the sunshine as we drove the hour to the darling village of Hallstatt, Austria. Along the way we had tons of photo ops of rolling green hills dotted with chalets whose window sills were spilling over with bright geraniums. All that was backdropped by massive, snow topped alpine mountains. It's like: Yosemite who? It makes half dome look like a kid's toy. We passed the town initially, and parked at the bottom of one of the aforementioned mountains. We took a really steep and long funicular up then hiked for a while.
There's salt in them, thar hills!

The hike was wonderful because we were in a cool, shady forest with the sun streaming through and birds singing. We passed through fields of wildflowers and more chalets as we made our way up to a salt mine. the salt mine here is the oldest in the world. They found a body in the caves that got caught in a cave in. The body was preserved in the salt. They examined it and found it to be prehistoric! They got a first hand look at the clothes, shoes and tools these cavemen used. The tour was really well done. We put on some coveralls to keep from dirtying our clothes and also to provide padding for our bottoms. To get into the deep mines we slid down a series of wooden slides. These slides are so steep and long that you get going very fast! We saw movies and light shows along the tour before they took us back up to the surface on a miner's train.

Most beautiful lunch view ever. Perfect for a beer, a soup and a cake!

The bf was already hungry so we had lunch at a restaurant above the top of the funicular. We had cream of wild garlic soup perched on the precipice of a steep cliff, overlooking the lake and town. After my soup and beer I had a 15 layer hazelnut torte, yum! We made our way back down to the car after buying a bunch of gifts. We drove a little ways back to the center of town. I parked in a tunnel above the city center and we walked around the sweet, beautiful town. Hallstatt is my favorite town in all Europe. It is situated at the bottom of a steep mountain and along the large, deep lake, the Hallstattersee. We bought some more gifts and headed up to see the chapel made of bones. Due to Halltsatt's location at the bottom of a rock cliff, Hallstatt people have little real estate to bury their dead so after they are buried for fifteen or so years, they would dig up the skulls and large bones and bleach them. The families would then decorate them, write the name and date of death and display them in the altar. There were over 600 decorated skulls and countless bones lining the walls. 

A small portion of the room of skulls.

We then strolled back down to the waterfront and hired a boat. We took the little motorized boat out for a half hour tour of the lake. I was having the time of my life lazily lounging, snuggled up to the man I love in the warm, warm sun as we trolled along the cool lake.


Happy us on the Hallstattersee with the picture book perfect town of Hallstatt in the background.
A look back at the adorable Hallstatt, Austria.

We returned the boat and headed back to Salzburg. We again had struggles with those darn bolsters. We found the right one this time but some men were working on it so we could not enter. I imagine someone did my nightmare and unknowingly followed someone through. Then the bolster popped back up, lifting the car into the air. I have seen this on YouTube. It looks real bad, real bad. I would hate to hurt my Mercedes like that so early in the trip. Luckily, there was more handicap parking just outside the bolsters so we just walked into the town.

We got home, freshened up and headed back out to find a place to have dinner. We turned one corner in the Old Town and saw a Furst store. Furst is a candy shop that made the original "Mozart Balls". The town of Salzburg and all the surrounding areas are flooded with Mozart Balls but you can ONLY get Furst Mozart Balls at a Furst store. You can tell you have the real deal by the wrapper. Furst is in a blue wrapper while all the knock offs are in red. We bought some for us on the road, some for comparing with the much cheaper red ones and some for our families - which, later on will melt in the car. We did a comparison between the red and the blue and found there IS no comparison. The balls are both about the size of a ping pong ball, both have a chocolate coated outside but that is where the similarities end. Furst's chocolate is much higher quality. It melts in your mouth and the chocolate inside is creamy too. As you venture even further inside you find a light marzipan encircled by a thin, flaky cocoon. The red Mozart Balls are filled with a dense turd of cheap marzipan. Believe me, the Furst are worth the money.

There were a couple Furst shops in town. Well worth finding one.

We strolled aimlessly around Salzburg reading the menus of all the restaurants we came across. I am really easy about what I am eating but the bf is not so much, being a vegetarian and all. We had almost settled on Indian food (which secretly was the worst possible choice in my mind because I want to eat local food when I am abroad but it wasn't my decision that night) when we came across this little, cozy, half underground tavern. The tavern, called Restaurant s'Herzl, is connected to the much more expensive and far fancier, Goldener Hirsch. The Goldener Hirsch is a super plush multi star hotel. I looked into staying there for our two nights in Salzburg but that would have been over $600 per night!! That should give you an idea of how high end that hotel is. We scored with the Restaurant s'Herzl because I'm sure they have the same cooking crew and staff only with much more affordable prices.


This was the crazy beer I ordered. It came in a very large bottle with a lot to look at.


The menus were heart shaped. Awwwww. The room we were seated in looked like it has never changed since the middle-ages. It took very little imagination to visualize serving wenches lugging around draughts of beer, horses tied up outside and rowdy men trying to drink off the stresses of the day. The room is small, the walls are lined with old wooden panels and there are big, stone columns presumably holding up the rest of the building. I ordered a Stiegl Hausbier beer to start. I chose it because it was locally produced. As I have said before, I love to eat the most local foods, drink the local wines and participate in as many local activities as possible. Otherwise, why am I here?!
Biggest Schnitzel in town!

Bread was served in a basket. There were a couple pretzels and a couple rolls. We picked at the bread as we waited for the food to come. Later we would find out that we were charged $2 for each bread we touched and we touched them all. I wish I had jammed them into my purse! I ordered a schnitzel. The bf ordered a tomato soup and some ravioli. My schnitzel was so massive that it took up the entire surface of the plate. Between finishing that and finishing the beer I could tell that my poor stomach was getting pretty angry with me. I soldiered on through the whole meal because it was all so wonderfully delicious.
We passed by Mozart's home a few times, no big deal.

We again strolled leisurely back to our hotel, arm in arm. The last light from the sun was disappearing and some cool night air was brushing past our skin as we walked. We were appreciative of the wonderful weather we had today. We were appreciative of having each other, of being able to be where we were. I just soaked in the moment and felt it through my whole body. When we arrived at the hotel I fell asleep and the bf watched some soccer. In the middle of the night is when my stomach decided to let me know what it thought of the dinner I ordered.

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