Heavenly Hallstatt

October 15, 2007


The road to Hallstatt, Austria was slightly hellish for us, but once we arrived, we found the divine Bravarian-like beauty, worth the effort. Up until this point, we have not had any real concerns with our vehicle, it always seems to be able to chug up and down any steep mountain terrain we have put it through.

Most people see Hallstatt as a day trip via train from Salzburg as it is only about an hour and half away by car, but we wanted to spend more time here than just a few hours. The road did not really seem bad at all, although we did go over some mountains, but suddenly we smelled that horrific burnt metal kind of odor that one never wants to smell when driving.

We pulled over and were sniffing away, trying to figure out what it was and even if it was us. When we were in Turkey, I jumped out of a taxi because of a similar smell, as I was concerned to be in a vehicle on a very hilly road that smelled like this. We soon figured out that it was not our taxi, but the bus ahead of us. We smelled that smell in Croatia too, when a couple driving a new car pulling a caravan, drove in and parked next to us. They had just burnt out their transmission, but it again had us sniffing to make sure it was not us.

This time we thought it might be us, but we are still not sure to this day. If it was another car, truck or bus, they were long gone by the time we found a place to pull over. There was definitely more smell inside our vehicle than there was outside in the fresh air. The good news is when we lifted up the hood, there was no odor and the smell seemed to be dissipating. The bad news was there seemed to be some of this odor coming from our wheels and the front ones had some stains on them.

After thinking about our options and resting a little, we decided to head for the campground which was not too far, as there were no gas stations nearby where we had pulled over. We made it with no further problem and by chance, the campground was right next to a gas station.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, where everything in Austria pretty much shuts down until Monday, so we figured we might as well enjoy ourselves in the mean time and deal with this when we could. We did find out that there is a fantastic road side service in Austria that comes to you, so if one is going to have
a problem, this is a good place to do it.

It was the week end of October first, so there were only two or three hearty German campers in the small campsite surrounded by mountains and blazing fall colors. This pretty campground is called Campingplatz Klausner-Holl ( and it has a great location that is just a half kilometer from the center of Hallstatt. There is a fantastic park on the lakeside very close by which Mozart loved and a TV room, so we caught up with a little CNN.

I am not sure why we watch CNN as nothing changes much and we keep up with basics online, but we do like to take a peek if it or BBC is available. Mozart always likes to look for cartoons or a kids show and she has managed to enjoy such in many languages by getting a little taste here and there in various countries.

We decided to forget our troubles and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. The next day there was a Bavarian style small Octoberfest and there could not be a more idyllic setting to see children and adults dressed in their traditional lederhosen and drindl  outfits. Sometimes we got the surreal feeling that we were walking in a postcard-like reality.

They celebrated nearby our campsite and that most gorgeous park with views to die for. There were only locals in this part of town and it was breathtakingly beautiful and so peaceful. Mozart had a blast on the wonderful, mostly wooden playground right on the water, surrounded by majestic mountain peaks. They also had a zip line, but the favorite item was a wooden ramp that one uses a
rope to pull to the top.

We enjoyed walking around this perfect lake-side Alpine village. Even the police station has a huge, perfectly espaliered tree along its wall that was bright yellow and charming. We loved the way they grew trees right next to houses and the window boxes dripping with flowers. We ate a yummy lunch under a gigantic, grand tree in a restaurant near the placid lake which reflects all the beauty, while Mozart fed more swans between courses.

Soon all of our concerns melted away, but we did meet a mechanic who was kind enough to come to our site and give us advice. He is the one who told us about the great road service, so we did call them and were so relieved to know that we did not have a problem. Our brakes did exactly what they should have done and were fine. We had them checked before we left Spain, but it was good to hear this specific reassurance before doing any more traveling in the mountains. We would be heading to the the Czech Republic after this, so Austria seemed to be a better place to handle this to us.

The good news was that we got to have an extra day Hallstatt since we waited until Monday morning to call the road service mechanic. It slowed us down a little, but it was such a heavenly spot, that we did not mind at all. It costs us a hundred euros (equivalent to about a  hundred dollars for us) to have the road service mechanic come to us, but we felt it was well worth the money spent, even though it turned out that we had no problem.













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It was nice to see your pics which showed me Hallstatt in the colors of Fall.


I've recommended it in my blog, too - Hallstatt is absolutely, incredibly, wonderful. There's nowhere like it.

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