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Report 1988: Yes, Zig Has Written About our Bavaria Trip!

By Zig and Georgia from Kentucky, Spring 2010

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Page 12 of 30: Monday May 24 - The Trip to Hallstadt

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After breakfast we headed to the train and bus station for a day-trip to the tourist sight of Hallstadt. Couldn’t find a bus ticket office with a human being so we had to deal with one of those automatic ticket machines. These bus ones didn’t offer any English translations so it was a little bit dicey. Sort of figured it out; we were going to have to change busses in Bad Issl, which wasn’t some sort of moral condemnation like Bad Dog! But rather an indication that at some time in the past there had been medicinal baths (like hot springs) there.

When we got on the bus the driver told us we’d paid too much; we should have just bought the tickets from him. Sigh. So much to learn. Everything is different in a foreign land. You just have to be willing to make mistakes. With luck, you only make each one once!

As confusing as it all was for us, we met a young Japanese woman traveling on her own. Her only means of communication with the local people was to hope she could find someone who could understand her broken English. But she asked lots of questions from the people around her and thus was able to do quite nicely, I guess. No fear there. And great faith in the people who crossed her path.

In Bad Issl we found where our bus was supposed to be but couldn’t find any mention of it on the scrolling bus schedule. Our Japanese friend said she was going on to Hallstadt on the train. Our tickets didn’t say anything about a train but when a train pulled in at the station we figured it was better to catch whatever conveyance was heading where we wanted to go so we jumped on too. When the conductor came by I handed him my bus tickets and said nothing. He stamped them with a pleasant “Danke,” so I guess we did right.

Hallstadt was a lovely village at the edge of a lake completely hemmed in by Alpine mountains. Some of them still showed patches of snow. The sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds and the water was clear and serene. The train stop was just that, only a siding with no other buildings at all. It was directly across the lake from the town. But there were trails heading around the lake and one trail heading down to the edge of the water where we found a ferry dock.

Everyone (except the bicyclists) was taking the ferry. The ride across the lake gave some beautiful views. The town and mountains reflecting in the lake doubled all the grandeur. In the town itself it seemed like every building had a banner stretched between windows. They seemed to be protesting something. I asked the “skipper.” He said that since Hallstatd had been made a world heritage site the government wanted to institute zoning restrictions on what could and what could not be built or remodeled. (I could already see where large commercial development was moving in - large hotels) but the local people, like local people everywhere, didn’t like outsiders trying to run their affairs. The local people have been preserving their heritage for 7,000 years all by themselves and they didn’t see any reason to change that practice.

Lovely windows and alters in the Catholic Church. The town is built right along the margin of the lake and then up a lung-busting flights of stairs to the front doors of many houses. A tunnel has been built as well so there was one pretty impressive traffic intersection where they were building the hotel. In all this peaceful spot that was the one bit of pandemonium.

We had a nice meal of sausage and French fries plus a great local beer. Who would have thought that the sausage and French fries and beer would be so good in Germany and Austria? Ha! We met a nice couple at the dock who live in Vienna and work at the U.N. headquarters. He is retiring in a few years and plans to move back to the San Antonio hill country. Quite a bit different from Austria and Germany.

Back in Bad Issl on the return trip we had a 45-minute layover so walked into town and found another church with lovely Lamberts glass fused and laminated into “furniture.” The ambo, the altar, the confessional door and the Baptistry were all made of such lovely glass.

Asked for iced coffee at a Kontintorei and got a coffee float! It was yummy. We saw young couples everywhere who couldn’t keep their hands off each other, and even younger teens still at the age of tormenting each other. How cute. And how quickly that will change.

Back in Salzburg we visited an outside WC in Mirabell Garten (where Maria and the kids danced around the fountain) that required €.50. Georgia had only a €1 coin so she put it in a machine she thought would give her change. Instead of change, out popped a non-descript little box with the strangest label on it. I’m not sure Maria ever saw anything like it.

(to be continued)

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