Hallstatt, a Christmas tale town


Hasn't it ever happened to surprise you looking "Christmas Tale Town" or "Christmas in a fairytale town" at Google? To us yes, maybe too many times.

And it is that when one imagines spending Christmas, Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve and / or New Year's Eve away from home, one imagines doing so in a town surrounded by snow or a picturesque Christmas town or in a small house with a fireplace in the middle of the mountains

When we decided to set course for these lands, our first idea was precisely that, spend the end of the year in a little house with a fireplace in the middle of the snowy mountains. All that there was. What was not available was already. However, after what was lived yesterday in Salzburg and the special Christmas atmosphere that we experienced, we believe that we could not have chosen a better place to spend the end of the year.

Even so, we have not missed the opportunity to hit an early bird, despite yesterday's party, and quickly we have set sail for that place, that little fairy tale town, getting into full Austrian Alps.

That little town is called Hallstatt and it shares a landscape with high icy mountains and an immense lake at the bottom of a valley. Getting there from Salzburg are about 79 km, about 1 h 20 min If it weren't for the multitude of stops you want to make along the way.

In the district of Hallein, past this one, and 45 km from the city of Mozart (Salzburg) is Abtenau, a town that was the place of one of our many road stops. There, what surprises us most, in addition to its beautiful bell tower, is to see the multitude of original Christmas decorations in the middle of the street (in Spain they would not last even one night) in addition to the ornate houses of the main square. In winter, Abtenau, becomes a winter sport center for what it looks like.

As we continue to climb meters, the fog begins to surround us. It has to be said that our Class A It is behaving very well. Nine of the package, with winter wheels and hardly any movement on the roads.

We keep making stops at snowy places beautiful. We pass the frozen river and stop at one of the ski resorts in the area of Dachstein-West, Russbach, which is between 800 m and 1450 m

But something special awaited us. It was 11:30 when a descent to a kind of valley began to dazzle what awaited us.

We had read about Hallstatt and had even seen photos. When we closed our eyes we wanted to imagine that town hidden in the mountains, far from the tourist crowds of the summer, small, picturesque, of Christmas postcard houses surrounded by high snowy mountains, with the lake that always appears in the movies, of tranquility, of peace, of silence in those dreamlike places ...

... Hallstatt has given us all that and still managed to surprise us. Hallstatt, is a picturesque town taken from a story of fable, hidden in a privileged place ...

The place that will welcome us is the Gasthof Zauner (COMPLETE ARTICLE ON ACCOMMODATION HERE), a small town house run by a family that has been in town for many generations. In fact, there is total confidence in guests as there is no reception. The best parking to leave the car is the P2 (in the tunnel area), above the town, since although at this time of the year they allow to circulate through the town, it is so small that there are hardly any places, so they have enabled multiple parkings on the outskirts (which makes us intuit how it will be put in summer). There we settled.

The town history Nor is it wasted, since there is the oldest salt mine in the world, with more than 3,000 years and the oldest water conduction too. Its greatest splendor was in the Iron Age, !! 7,000 years ago!

There we spent the rest of the morning, taking a pleasant walk, "talking with the swans" (what did Paula say?) And "making Tyrolean friends", hehe ...

... until we choose a place to eat, since hunger squeezes. This place is called Gasthaus / Café Zum Mühlbach, and is located in the upper part of town, next to our pension. It is a pleasant place to eat for affordable salads, pizzas or meat dishes. In fact we chose pizza today accompanied by good beers and a salad (18.80 EUROS all)

Although we have not commented, as everyone intuits, Hallstatt It was declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1997. Much of this merit resides is Hallstätter See, one of the most beautiful lakes that we have never seen, located 508 m above sea level, and tucked between the steep mountains. In summer you can do trekking, hiking, kayaking, etc ... in all this place

The icy waters of the lake contrast with the pastel-colored houses and the gigantic mountains, now snowy or foggy. The last photo is the Zeuner House, our accommodation, a very cozy pension next to the central town square

Although, without a doubt, the most beautiful photos are on the jetty where the town and the lake come together to leave a beautiful Christmas postcard

As yesterday in Salzburg, here we meet again really original Christmas stands. Today we have possibly enjoyed the prettiest Christmas store We have seen in our life. We have not seen much of the above exposed anywhere else. We have not been able to avoid temptation and we have brought our own memories and a gift (40.60 EUROS)

Nor do we stop entering another picturesque little house where the owners run a kind of cafeteria / restaurant worth drinking something hot (5.50 EUROS) if only to see it inside.

The night begins to appear, and the cold begins to notice, so we will go through the accommodation to take some more shelter and decide a place to dine.

Although it has been almost by chance, one of the most famous places to dine in all Hallstatt is our own pension, Gasthof Zauner (COMPLETE ARTICLE ON ACCOMMODATION HERE), which on its second floor has a restaurant with one of the best menus in town. !! Today we are going to treat ourselves!

The most complicated thing was to get a table, because it requires prior reservation even for those of us who are staying, but a little face here and a "please, please" over there and we have prepared a last table (and that is that we have gone down in Spanish, late hehe). The dinner !! EXCEPTIONAL !!. In addition to the traditional beers, Paula has tried a variety of meats that include liver, venison, pork and veal and Isaac has eaten a pepper tenderloin to suck his fingers.

Without a doubt, Hallstatt's best image is Markplatz illuminated at night, with its wooden nativity scene, its giant Christmas tree and a good company.

We take a last walk, until we decide that tomorrow we will take advantage of the day with another early bird, and return to our guest house, illuminated, with its pine wood balconies and covered with ivy. A great success

You can not start better this 2010. Family, readers and friends, we are very well within our story of fable. A hug to everyone from one of the most charming, mysterious and hidden villages of Upper Austria. !!More tomorrow!!

Isaac and Paula, from Hallstatt (Austria)