A little alpine fix for the two of us before the holidays, because the children responded with, “Anywhere but Tirol” when asked where they wanted to travel for the Christmas break. They just don’t get it.
We Came for the Cows. Again.
A compilation. In the Spring Tony and I took a day trip to the former Reichswerke Hermann Göring in Linz, now in part the Vöestalpine Museum of Contemporary History. Over the summer Jack and I had occasion to drop in on the little-known Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance in Vienna; and, disappointed by a new French cafe that was way oversold, found ourselves one afternoon wandering the Servitenviertel neighborhood of Vienna’s 9th district, rich in Jewish history.
With the past weekend in Vienna forecast offering the usual July heat without compelling reason to suffer through it, we impulsively made reservations on Friday evening for the following night out in the Salzkammergut. Then followed the plan: a walkabout a glacial Alpine lake (there are 76 to select from!), after which we would head to the resort to enjoy the pool before dinner. The following morning, another small hike before heading home.
Last year we spent the long Thanksgiving weekend in Innsbruck, and fell in love with Tirol. This year we chose the Salzkammergut for our getaway, hoping to be equally as enchanted by the Bavarian-style villages and their Advent markets. (Spoiler: we were enchanted!)
At the last minute we decided to have a family Thanksgiving on the night before, which worked beautifully because it meant we had leftovers to enjoy in Salzburg! After settling Clayton Theodore on Thursday at the rental apartment, we set out for the markets. The forecast snow had not quite arrived and the skies were gray and gloomy, but the hot chocolates from the first market perked our spirits.
On our last four passes since living here through the lakes and mountains region of Austria known as the Salzkammergut, we have had rain and fog and gray, be it May, June, September or December, and generally irrespective of the weather forecast. If one also counts our first gray visit fifteen years ago in the springtime, that makes five tours through the Salzkammergut with less-than-guide-book-perfect weather. Ergo, when heading to the region on Saturday for an XC tournament we held low expectations.
Tony and I stopped in Mondsee first for coffee and to stretch Clayton Theodore, who was not at all pleased that he had been roused from his sofa slumber at 05:30 for a three hour car ride. The town was waking up; the small market lifting its covers, and, what? The sky is blue? We hastily parked in order to stroll the town and bask in the sunlight.
Mondsee, like many of the other towns in the Salzkammergut, is picture-perfect Bavaria. Except that it is Austria. In my opinion, the Salzkammergut and Bavaria could merge to become an unbelievably charming country.