Thursday, October 5th, 2000 Traveling to Hallstatt in Austria
Up before 6 am, we finished breakfast by 7:30. Spent some time talking with a couple from Texas and her sister from North Carolina. They’d just arrived last night and were headed to Interlaken in Switzerland so shared our favorite places with them from our trip last year. They were going to the castles today so we told them how to find the ride on the horse wagons if they didn’t want to walk all the way up the hill. Weather is overcast but not raining.
Jim had packed the car before breakfast and we were on the road to Garmisch Partenkirchen by 8:15. Arrived there by 9:15, then on to Reutte. From Reutte we headed towards Mittenwald to see the violin museum. On the way Jim spotted a truck on the side of the road with a huge Elk in the back. It was about 9 am and we were in the town of Griesen. Jim turned around and we requested permission to take a picture. At first they jokingly said yes, but for money! There were three men standing there inspecting the trophy. The youngest of the three had shot it in the local mountains. There were at least five points on each horn!
The rain was starting, but only lasted for about a half-hour. We arrived in Mittenwald about 9:45 am; parked and found the museum by asking for directions from some clerks in a drug store. It is the Geigenbau und Heimatmuseum and chronicals the history of violin making from the early 1600’s. Not only violins by the dozen but also several rooms restored to the early 1600-1700 periods. The historic figure of note was Mathias Klotz, the one to bring the craft to Mittenwald.
Back on the road about 11 am; we headed for Innsbruck, Austria. Arrived about 11:30. Found the Zentrum, parking and a bank in that order. The ATM would only take the credit union card so we used it three times and got some Austria Shillings. The value is 15 to one dollar. So 1,000 ATS is only worth about $67.00. Next we searched for a water closet or toilette! Asked and asked and asked…finally got the final directions from a horse cart driver. The only public toilet was in the park next to the Theater, the Dom and the Holtsburg. Wow! Were we ever glad to find that! Interesting sidelight, the attendant in the women’s was a man and in the men’s it was a woman. Felt much better and well worth the 5 ATS it cost! We then went back into the Zentrum and enjoyed the old buildings dating back to eleventh and twelfth century. The church was St. Jacok (St. James), very plain on the outside but rococo inside. We left Innsbruck about 1:30 pm and ate our lunch (packed at breakfast) in the car as we headed towards St. Johann.
Arrived in St. Johann about 2:45; clear weather. Jim had trouble remembering everything as it was over twenty years ago when he stayed here for two weeks when he competed in the World Senior Bike Race...same year that Elvis Presley died. It's much bigger now! Saw a McDonalds on the edge of town; he commented that he probably would have eaten better if that had been there then. He’d had trouble reading the menus in the 1980's. Parked the car and walked around town, stopped by his old Pension. It looks like it is just a private residence now.
Then we went into the church and also looked at the bicycle shop which was closed. Back to the car and on our way by 4 pm. Headed toward Hallstatt by way of Salzburg. Note on cows. Almost all of them are contained in their pastures by a thin cord which could easily be knocked over by them…they must be trained by electric charge on a single wire from the time they are young. Jim’s comment on St. Johann was that just as Thomas Wolfe said, “you can’t go home again”. Things change with time. Progress keeps marching!
Arrived in Hallstatt about 18:13 which is 6:13 pm. Still light out, overcast and dusk is arriving. Jim found the Hotel Seethaler. Down a walkway that they call a street. Then up many stairs, into the house and up another three flights of stairs. No English spoken. The first room had no bathroom. So we requested a different room. Finally got room number 13. It’s on the top floor. Has a bathroom. No towel racks in the bathroom. Had trouble getting two bath towels, which are really hand towels so that we could shower tonight. Fortunately we have a bar of soap with us. Will have to get that cleared up tomorrow. We only have one electrical outlet that we can use.
But the view is fantastic. You can see all the way over the lake! We got settled in and then went walking for dinner. Found one restaurant that was open and took advantage of it. Nice, and also good food. We really enjoyed our dinner. We met a mother and daughter who were traveling together on the train. Only had backpacks. They’d been to Prague and were telling us all about it and how great it is! They were speaking both English and French. They were from Montreal Canada. Also two girls arrived before we were done and one was from Mexico and the other from Atlanta Georgia.
We walked home by moonlight and settled in for the night. About 10 pm another guest arrived and was looking for a room with a shower…he settled for the room that we’d turned down??? We’ll see what happens tomorrow. We’d locked our door and they tried to open it. Oh Well!
Interesting comment from Jim tonight. He’s really going to start working on his diet when we get home. Just like I quit smoking fifteen years ago; he’s going to quit eggs, butter, cheese, ice cream, etc.! We’ll see. But, to be honest; he has done well on this trip. Hardly any butter or eggs. And he’s trying more salad and even cucumbers! It's tough when you've never had to watch what you eat and then as age creeps in and we do less exercise it suddenly begins to matter what we eat!