Hallstatt, Österreich (Austria)
Oh my gosh, that bed here at the Gasthof Simony was so comfortable, it rivals my own bed. I slept like a baby. I awoke this morning to the sound of quacking ducks, a whippoorwill, and something that, I swear, sounded like a turkey gobbling, but it couldn’t be. The sound of the water lapping up against the foot high timbered sea wall, the sound of the Stephanie going across the lake to pick up Hallstatt‘s first visitors of the day and the smell of breakfast added to the ambiance. Boy, the wake up call service here is awesome.
After breakfast I returned to my balcony. It’s a glorious cool morning and I can’t see the tops of the mountains for the clouds that are gently floating by about a hundred feet off the water. On the garden deck below me, the cistern is full of water and is topped with gorgeous fresh flowers for temporary keeping while one of the employees cuts them and makes various arrangements to place throughout the hotel. Just saw one of the other guests backstroke by in the lake. I breathe deep to take in that fresh mountain air; that along with the smell of the pines makes me feel like I’m at camp. Luxury, super relaxation and pampering camp, but camp none the less.
Late morning, I took a stroll through the town the other direction than I did last night. Then I took a ride on Stephanie across the lake to the train station. I had the boat all to myself going over except for the skipper and first mate. Got some nice shots of the town. The cool breeze was just right. While waiting for the train to arrive, about five swans came by to check us out. Four all white ones and one dirty gray one, the ugly duckling I reckon. The train arrived and down the path came a steady flow of backpack, suitcase and camera totin’ tourists, all coming to MY town, wassup with that? The trip back across the lake was nice and took a slightly different route so I was able to get the angles I wanted for my pictures. I bet I looked liked one of those awful tourists. Oh wait….
Several times during the day, the church bells of the catholic and the protestant churches just started clanging without any coordination or rhythm or melody. It’s not the top of the hour nor the bottom of the hour. Then, BANG! I just about jumped out of my shoes as the sound echoed several times off the mountains. BANG! I looked around and no one seemed to be too concerned about it, and so neither was I, I guess. BANG! Cannon were being fired from different places in the town. BANG! I asked someone at the Gasthof later about it and apparently today is a holiday. It’s called Maria Himmelfahrt, unsure of the spelling. No real translation, but the sentiment is Mary goes to heaven (himmel=heaven, fahrt~=journey).
Right about noon, the rain started coming down, perfect for sitting on the balcony and reading. Here’s the thing though, I’m carrying my book around with me and it’s a Clive Cussler book, my favorite and real page turners they are, but I’m finding it difficult to keep focused on it considering my surroundings. Oh what a dilemma.
The wind picked up quite a bit stirring up whitecaps on the lake. This just keeps getting better and better. All I need now is some thunder and I’m a happy camper. I’m probably going to have to take a nap if this keeps up.
Well, I got my thunder, and lightning to boot. And I took my nap. The balcony door was open and I went to sleep to the sound of the rain and thunder. I got lucky, the cannon had stopped for the day. I think I fell asleep pretty quickly. Woke up about 3:00 and took another hike through the town, walking up a little higher on the cliffs. There’s another set of roads and walkways up there. I enjoyed the exercise. I also took a tour through the Hallstatt museum which was very informative. They did a nice job.
Came back to the room and read a little then had dinner at the restaurant downstairs. I think I overdosed on crème tonight. I had crème of garlic soup, fresh lake trout with pea pods on noodles in a wonderful crème sauce and apple strudel with crème and vanilla.
Headed back to the room to relax. It has been a full day you see. Perhaps I’ll watch a movie tonight.