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July 10, 2005 - Austria, amazing Austria

Reported by JoMar© All rights reserved.

We spent about 10 days in Austria, covering Vienna, Salzburg then into the country-side of Austria for a "rest-from-the-city" tour thing!


We arrived into Vienna on the 25 June, and spent 2 nights in there. Vienna was a bigger city than we had thought.  Leaving Budapest, we were really tired and "almost-done" with the gallivanting through these large ancient cities, so Austria being a smaller country, thought it would be less of a hustle-bustle once in Vienna... it wasn't.

There was a cool Muzikfest in Vienna we attended one night, which was really nice, it was like a big fair and some great music to boot!

Speaking of music, we also attended The Vienna Boys Choir on the Sunday morning; it was a bit of a let down, as it was advertised as a "concert", but was actually a church service (Roman Catholic) with little of the choir singing :-(

The hostel there in Vienna was a nice place... we met a nice young woman, Dawn, and her mom from Singapore that accompanied us to this "concert". Gerald was the host at the hostel, he was very helpful and knowledgeable about the city. He actually approached us while we were in a phone booth at the train station, as we were trying to find a place to stay! He said it was just around the corner, however, only available for one night  :-(

What to do??  -- We spent a bit of time with him, and when he realized what great guys we were, (heehee!) the next morning, he said that all the rooms confirmed, BUT we could stay with him  in his apartment!! --  what a nice guy... it was so cool, we watched a soccer game with him, he provided beer, then at bedtime, he pulled out a sofa bed and we slept under great feather duvets!!


After the 2nd night, we ventured to Salzburg, and we loved it there. It was smaller, more quaint, and got some good sleep the night we arrived there!

We did a walking tour of Salzburg and found the house where Mozart was born in and lived. In the house we saw his birth-room, violins he played, letters his father wrote, original posters that advertised his performances in Paris...  Mozart was one of 7 children, whom only his sister and himself survived. She also was a child prodigy at the piano.

But the next day we decided to "get away from IT all" and take a break from this journey!  All these historic cities: Budapest, Istanbul, Athens, etc are great, but a lot of freekin' work in the 35°C weather!!

Austria's countryside

Have decided to get away for a week or so to the countryside here in Austria. We found a great little area called Salzkammergut in the lake district, which is great for hiking water sports, swimming, salt mines, ice caves, and relaxation!  The resort is called Sterngut, they do have a website : www.sterngut.com.  They had room and the gentleman I chatted to on the phone said it was about 25km out of Salzburg. His name was Roman.

He mentioned that he worked in Salzburg and if we wanted to wait until he finished work around 6pm, he would take us to his chalet in Unterach, where he also lived. That sure was convenient, we met at 6, and just as planned, Roman brought us to this paradise called Unterach.

The drive out of Salzburg was amazing, mouth-open, drop-chinned almost all the way it was so spectacular. This area is where they filmed a lot of the scenes from the Sound of Music with Julie Andrews!

This chalet was NOT a hostel!!  We had our own little apartment, no sharing of anything! Here we spent seven glorious nights, and it was only 45€/night -- about $60 Canadian.

We had fresh buns every morning delivered from the bakery! They arranged for bikes for us, no charge...

There were two lakes, "emerald-coloured" lakes might I add!   Just about 1km away each;  one of them, with a private beach front that belonged to this particular chalet we stayed at!

With our bikes, we made some serious mileage! The 3rd day, we traveled to the next village called Mondsee, which was about 15km. Mondsee was a bit bigger than Unterach, with restaurants, churches, (the church they used for the wedding scene in the Sound of Music!) grocery stores, post office etc. Very small, but very quaint and right on Mondsee Lake. Unfortunately, this is when and where I lost my much loved RayBans :-(

Spent much of the day here, then ventured back to our little area; but once back there, we wanted to swim to cool off from the 30k we had just biked, so went to this area Roman told us about called Weißen...something...or..other... which ended up being another 14k return!! My butt was not too happy!

But the ride to swim was so picturesque, it didn't matter much. There were mansions hugging the side of the road and along this lake called Attersee, one of these mansions belongs to the folks who make "Nutella" and it truly was nice to look at and dream!

Once we arrived to this area, we realized it was not a lake to swim in but a river, which was just as nice, "with a hitch" ...

We found a place for the bikes more into the wooded area, right on the river and discovered the locals there, were nudists (!!) which was totally fine, just surprising when not expected! Met some really neat "hippy-type" Austrians and ended up having tons of fun all afternoon  :-)...  until clouds moved in, bigtime, and within minutes a major downpour;   it became really dark with very loud thunder AND lightening!  People scattered, as did we.

Needless to say the ride back, 7k was not so pretty. Soaked to the bone, but fun at the same time!

We spent the next few days really falling in love with the area, swimming, biking, walking through meadows, and "resting", it was really a much needed stop.

The early morning departure, was a bit on the sad note, but as "world-travelers"

Oh, and when we were in Budapest some days ago, I spent 3 hours in an internet cafe, YES 3 freekin' hours, hot, sticky, smoke filled little place, did a "great" entry about Turkey, and at the end of it all, when I hit "save changes and add to website" the damn thing crashed, LOST everything...  I was so devastated, as you can imagine. So, will try to get caught up soon.



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