Fri - Sep 13
The forecast for Salzburg for the next week is cool with periods of rain and this morning it was cloudy with light rain and cool (about 50).
Last night's concert was just OK. While the main attraction, Eine Kliene Nacht Musik was good, the remaining three pieces, and their 1 1/2 hours with break, showed that even geniuses like Mozart have their low moments.
But the Mirabelle Palace, and the room the musicians played in was a fine example of the grandeur of the 1600's and 1700's. It was built in 1606 and restored after a fire in 1710.
We had gotten to it a bit early and found a small Italian bar a short distance away for some coffee's and to while away some time.
Back about 10:30 to wrap up packing and then to bed.
Up early again, though it's a light day with just a drive to Hallstatt and a stop along the way. The weather remains rainy and cloudy (thought no downpours or wind thank goodness), and it extends down to Hallstatt, our final stop today.
Our first stop is Bad Ischl and the road down to it is again beautiful. The drive takes us along two lakes with mountains along both sides of the road. Bad Ischl is a typical small town and there is a market day when we arrive. Parking though is easy as we find an underground lot that is basically empty. It also has green and red lights over each parking space as you drive in it making it easy to find an empty space.
We got a map from the TI and wandered about an hour and then left for Hallstatt, about a half hour away. Entry to the town is through a tunnel they cut in the mountain. There's little parking except in three lots, and two of them were full when we arrived, but our hotel has its own space and there were no cars when we arrived. This is a small hotel, family run, and we could see the owner in her kitchen, which is fairly large, preparing various things for tonights meal as they run a restaurant in the hotel too. Internet service, fast, a balcony for our room overlooking the mountain, computer for anyone without one, everything you would expect in a much larger hotel. About that car stuff, there is no driving in town. Everything is in walking distance. In fact, most people get here by train, the station in across the lake, and they take a boat ride across the lake to get to the town.
It was rainy and cloudy, and even though we would have preferred sun, the place is breathtaking. The low clouds that hang in the valleys and off the water add a nice atmosphere to the place. It's cool too, about 52F.
We stopped for a brief coffee and cake around 1 pm and met some other travelers from Ohio, talked a while, and then headed out to sightsee. There are beautiful homes hugging the lake, picturesque views at every turn and a huge waterfall in the town that feeds the lake.
The town was a salt mining center and even now has a mine nearby, and there was a museum, very modern in its displays, all high tech, 3-D videos, realistic displays, etc, that cover the town and the area's development from 2,000 BC to now. There was an excellent Catholic Church as well as a 'Bone Chapel', that contains over 1200 painted skulls. This is one of kind chapel in the world. Due to limited room in the cemetery bones were dug up after 12 years to make room for the freshly dead. The skulls were painted and dated. They stopped the practice in the 1960's when the Catholic Church began permitting cremation; however one woman who died in 1983 managed to get her skull added. Their other bones, mostly legs and arms, were stacked like cord wood under the table like shelves where their skulls were.
We walked about until near 5, shopped a bit for souvenirs, and then headed back to the room to rest up for dinner. We found a very nice upscale hotel and restaurant and made a reservation for 6:30 for a table on the window overlooking the lake.
Dinner was superb. Classy dining room and the window seat was perfect. For Karen a Chicken Breast, pounded and crusted with ground pumpkin seed and warm potato salad with red onions. For Mike, another whole roasted Trout, with Rosemary potatoes and a salad, a nice Riesling for two, then coffees with a mix of ice creams for Karen and a wild berry strudel for Mike.
By 8 we were no longer hungry and left for a short walk back to the hotel.
Tomorrow is forecast sunnier, though with some clouds, and about 61. So we're hoping to get some pictures of this gorgeous town with some sun and then start our 2 1/2 drive to Melk.