The Lake District in Austria

As I sat waiting for my haircut today, I looked around for a magazine to read. Usually, these places don’t have anything I particularly want to read but lo and behold, there was a National Geographic Traveler magazine. I felt maybe these 5 minutes of waiting for my turn would at least be tolerable.

An article they had caught my eye: the lake district in Austria near Salzburg. Wow, I had visited that area about 15 years ago. Cool. I proceeded to read the article and learn a few new things about the area and decided I should write about my visit to the area in 1994.

I traveled with my ex-college roommate, his wife and my newly baptized Godchild who was about 9 months old. We drove from Ludwigshafen, outside of Frankfurt, where the grandparents of the kid lived and where the baptism had just been held. On the way to Salzburg, we stopped to visit a relative of my roommate in Munich and enjoyed a wonderful Bavarian lunch!

The first stop in Austria was Salzburg, a really neat town to visit and enjoy. Almost like a display in a store or museum – tidy and beautiful. We had a majority rule vote between the 3 adults meaning 2 out of 3 agreeing to something meant we would all do it. I had heard about the Sound of Music tour which I realized was probably too cheesy but having gone that far, I had to try it. Overruled! No deliberation, no discussion. 2-1 NO. Not really greatly saddened by defeat, I offered to babysit one night so my friends could go for their own night out. Magnanimous of me, I say!

We visited various sites of interest in town, including the hilltop fort overlooking Salzburg (I recommend it), and right outside of town before heading to Bad Mittendorf where my friend’s parents had a timeshare apartment. The place was in the lake district, very conveniently located close to beautiful landscapes.

From Bad Mittendorf, we visited a small town called Halstatt on the shore of the lake by the same name. Wow, talk about a picture perfect setting. The town was actually a road, a row of buildings and the rest was up the slope of a very steep mountainside. That is, the main (and only) drag in the town was nested between the mountain and the lake. Idyllic.

Driving around was quite pleasurable. My friend was in charge of driving and he greatly enjoyed driving on good curvy roads with lakes and mountains around us. We enjoyed being passengers because we could look out and see everything.

Upon getting home and showing a couple of folks pictures of my trip and using my travel book to show maps, one of my friends looked at one of my pictures and said “hey, isn’t that the same town in the cover of your travel book?”. I was thinking all towns probably look alike but upon opening the book and looking at the credits for the cover picture, indeed, it was the village of Halstatt that I had visited!

Reading the Traveler article, I realized how many more lakes and villages there are, how many more experiences to be had in that region. Our time, unfortunately, was short as we were also going to Vienna for 3 days. The 3 days we spent in Salzburg and the lake area were simply fantastic and, especially after being reminded by that article, I long to go back and explore a little more the small villages and the 75 other lakes in a future trip!

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