Austria officially won my heart, and no, it wasn’t the endless opportunities to serenade Husband with my best version of The hiiiiiilllllls are aliiiive with the Sound of Music, ah ah ah ah. I may not be 16 going on 17, but I still tried to have confidence in confidence alone and took every opportunity for serenading; singing is one of my favourite things after all.
We spent a week in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, which is an hour out of Salzburg, a city that is known in Europe for its quaint charm and outstanding classical music and a city that is known to the English-speaking world as home of The Sound of Music. We stayed in St. Wolfgang on the Wolfgansee (a lake).
Here are a few of my favourite things from our trip:
1. Austria is stunning in every way. The lake is perfect colour, surrounded on all sides by beautiful mountains. St. Wolfgang is a peaceful place and not overrun by tourists.
2. Austria and Austrians keep the German and Swiss cleanliness and efficiency but pair it with Southern European warmth and friendliness. It’s a great combination.
3. Almdudler. Partly because of the name because, really, it’s called Almdudler, and you pronounce it “Alm” plus “doodler.” But mostly I loved it because of the taste. I’m not a soft drinks person, and I can’t stand fizzy water, but this drink was fabulous. Wikipedia compares it to ginger ale, but I don’t think that is remotely correct. I have never tasted anything like it, but I had one nearly every day. Refreshing, tasty, unique. Long live the Austrians.
4. Boats. I love them. Any kind of boat, any kind of water. It is freedom, beauty, peacefulness and calm.
5. Watching Small One climb up a big-kid slide like a little mountain climber. The look of determination on his face is priceless.
6. Visiting Salzburg – I don’t know when I first started dreaming about seeing this city, but it was a long, long time ago. I was only there for a day, but it did not disappoint. Even though I live in Europe, I haven’t seen many of the most famous sites, but I have seen enough to know that my “type” of city isn’t the big, glittering kind (except for Paris, my favourite). I love the smaller, mid-sized cities that have well-preserved old towns, colourful buildings and quaint alleyways. Salzburg has all of those things and more.
7. The Sound of Music connection. Husband had to remind me that his participation in the tour was a significant act of love and sacrifice on his behalf. It’s a good thing he told me because I would not have recognised it as such because who wouldn’t want to go on a Sound of Music tour, am I right, am I right? I say connection here because I don’t want to recommend the tour company we used. Our guide was hilarious and full of
disappointing interesting information (did you know that the von Trapp family did not actually cross the Swiss Alps on foot and escape to Switzerland? They took a train to Italy then got a boat to England. It took me a while to get over that). But we hardly went to any of the big sites, only to the lake across the outside of the house and the gazebo used for I am 16 Going on 17.
Here I am “running” around the fountain featured in the Do-Re-Mi song. I think this is in the Mirabell gardens
8. We had dinner at this place in St. Wolfgang, and sadly I cannot remember its name. The food was good, but the ambience was probably one of most favourite. Its terrace was on the lake, and our table was a meter away from the water. The decor was simple but co-ordinated and colourful. We watched the swans and ducks paddle away and fish out of the water for insects hovering above them. The sunset was lovely.
9. Settlers of Catan marathons with Husband and his brothers even though I sadly only won one game. Next time.
10. This fountain in Salzburg – I think it is the Pegasus fountain. It might be my favourite fountain in the world.