Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Austrian Lakes

I took my first European tour to Austria in July & it took us two days to get there. 

First leg of the trip was via the Eurostar to Brussells Midi station & then on to Cologne where we stayed overnight. I loved the Eurostar; it was the first time I had travelled on it & we went first class. Fabulous! I don't think I'll ever enjoy air travel again.

Second day we travelled from Cologne along the Rhine Valley to Salzburg. What fantastic scenery, castles or rather schlosses & lovely valleys & mountains. It took over seven hours but it was a wonderful journey. It's so great being able to get up & walk around, go to the loo, have a trip to the buffet & stretch your legs. I had to laugh though, when I went along the carriages to check if everyone was OK one chap kept asking how much longer to get there. Just like when you take children anywhere by car. He couldn't understand why we were taking a scenic route when a fast train would get us there just the same. You wonder why people book holidays without checking the itinerary. 

Well we eventually arrived & next morning we had a ferry trip out onto the lake. It had been absolutely pouring an hour before but by the time we went onto the ferry it started to brighten up. This photo was taken from inside the ferry as it was raining a little, it's not particularly clear & you can see some reflection in the photo.




 Traunkirchen Parish Church


The weather brightened up quickly as we finished our little lake cruise. Now I'm not a fan of cemetaries but around the side of the church was a lovely little cemetary. The graves were beautifully kept. However what puzzled me is how small they were. At first I wondered whether they were children but I looked at a few of the headstones & whole families were in there! Maybe they were cremated!



There was a ferry landing beside the church which we used to travel up the lake.

Lake Traunsee

Here's a view from the hill above the church looking down on the lake.


The cafe at the bottom right of the photo sold fabulous ice cream!


It's amazing how fast the weather can change in areas where there are lakes & mountains. I took the photo above to try out the camera on a new tablet I had bought but it was so bright I couldn't see what I was taking. Didn't turn out so bad.

Then I walked across the road towards the lake & in that few minutes this was how the light changed. 



It was still warm so I went for a swim just past that bridge. It was fresh but not freezing. 



A back street!


And Another


Another View of the Lake


This part of Austria is suffering economically as it doesn't have the advantage of all year round tourism. No skiing here! The photograph above shows a shop & guest house which has closed. 






An Antique Shop in a Former Life


Sadly there were a few shops & cafes which had closed in this really small village. 

One of our day trips was to the beautiful village of Hallstatt. We went there by train & then across the lake by ferry. It was gorgeous. It's the most photogenic place I've ever visited. Sadly it was a little crowded.



Hallstatt



As you approached by ferry across the lake the houses & shops looked as it they were growing out of the mountain. The reflections in the lake are wonderful.



The houses cafes & shops around the central square were really pretty with their beautiful colours & flower boxes.


I climbed up to the Catholic church below (lost count of how many steps) 


At the top once again I found a beautiful little cemetary.






























Another day we visited Gmunden a small town across the lake very famous for its ceramics. A few people didn't like it but I did. I loved the colours that the houses were painted even though it was a rainy day it still looked pretty.















Gmunden's Glockenspiel

The glockenspiel on the town hall which still plays wasn't made locally as their ceramics weren't suitable. It was made in Meissen!

The main town square looking pretty dismal. No different to anywhere else when it rains!

I'll save Salzburg for another day!

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