Part 2 of the Hallstatt posts brings out the subtle beauty of the village hidden in the mountains, waiting to be uncovered. During the unexpected hike, I’ve already discovered the trails scattered around the small village, but Hallstatt is so much more than that.
Tiny green, flower-like plants were sprouting from the rocks, very cute and delicate. When you look closely, each of them looks like a mini-rose that has turned green with envy but without the vicious thorns to launch an attack or even to defend itself…
A wooden owl points my way to “Salzbergweg”, making sure the visitors don’t get lost. Signs like this are rather useful when you literally don’t know which way you are going.
Not many restaurants in Hallstatt were open during mid-January, but I was starving by noon and settled down at one of them for lunch. This dish is called “Austrian bio noodles with home made rucola- herb- pesto and crayfish”, as described on the menu. The restaurant may not have the best service, but this is one of the most aesthetically pleasing dishes I’ve ever seen. The colour contrast of the crayfish and pesto greatly stimulates the appetite, and while light, the pesto was so delicious! In hindsight, I probably should have ordered an apple strudel too since everyone else seemed to have ordered it 😛
Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage site and I bet it is proud of it. More specifically though, it is the Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut region that made it with its unbelievably stunning, authentic, and well-preserved natural landscapes.
Outside the church of Hallstatt, I met a friend – ohai there. He seemed to be oblivious of my approach, minding his own business. I walked slowly towards him…
…and he was gorgeous. He reminded me of badass cat in Belgium, actually, except I wouldn’t really describe him as “badass”. He was more…serious with such an INTENSE look in his crystal clear eyes that can pierce through your soul. It was love at first sight.
Behind the church was a beautiful cemetery, adorned with wooden tombstones and individual flowerbeds and lampposts in front of each grave, where the deceased ones rest in peace. It reminded me of the one I saw in Lauterbrunnen, adding some colour to a quiet town.
This angel in the cemetery reminded me of the one in front of Mozart’s grave in Vienna, only it is very small and modest. It looks like the guardian angel of the cemetery, watching over the graves while greeting its visitors.
I found out later that I missed the ossuary while I was at Hallstatt, where some 700 painted skulls reside. Yet, what I got from Hallstatt was more than the tourist attractions that it offered. It was the gift of being content even if I was completely alone, of perfect serenity in a perfectly unknown corner somewhere in Austria, of being embraced by mountains and lakes in all of their glory.
I would sit down and rest a little, but I wasn’t sure if I would be intruding as this seemed to be someone’s private property. Again, I didn’t see anyone coming out of or going into the houses in Hallstatt, and the only person I saw whom I think was a resident was someone walking his dog.
With the ferry ride across Lake Hallstatt, here we wait for the train back to Vienna, arriving in one minute. And so, my visit to fairyland ends.