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On the beaten path: Tirol, Salzkammergut and Munich

On the beaten path: Tirol, Salzkammergut and Munich

May 27th, 2019, 08:17 AM
  #41  
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St Gilgen-Furberg-St. Wolfgang – Day 8

We woke to cold, fog and spitting snow. We rugged up and walked down from our perch on the hill and through the outskirts of St Gilgen, locating the lakeside path to Furburg, a walk I’d found during my research.


Walk to Furburg along Wolfgangsee

While I have no doubt the views are incredible on a pretty day, today wasn’t that day.


St Gilgen as seen from walk to Furburg

We arrived at the empty Gastof Furburg restaurant well before lunch, and settled in for hot chocolate (me) and beer (Bill). We perused the menu, just in case, but nothing really appealed.

We backtracked to St Gilgen the way we’d come (four miles return) and began scoping out a lunch venue, finding the village absolutely heaving with day trippers and most restaurants full to capacity (Third Advent weekend).

After circling a few times, we noticed a lull in lunch traffic at Kendler Hotel Gasthof, so we grabbed a table and settled in for another good meal (Knoblauchcremesuppe and Rostbratwurtsl for Bill, that brilliant bacon wrapped sheep cheese salad for me - 31.60 Euro with drinks). Note to future visitors, the restaurant closes at 1:45, at least it did on this Saturday in December.

Knowing there was a men’s choir performance at St Wolfgang Parish Church at 5 pm, we walked down to the boat dock and joined the chaotic madness that was the ticket counter queue (32 Euro return for two), then joined the long queue to board the boat. The ferry was absolutely packed, standing room only on both decks. I worried that we’d sink.


Ferry from St. Gilgen to St. Wolfgang

We had no choice but to stand on the upper deck, where we huddled as close to a portable heater as we could. By the time we arrived in St Wolfgang some 25-30 minutes later, our toes had nearly fallen off.

Unsurprisingly, St Wolfgang was a complete zoo, people milling everywhere.


St. Wolfgang

We located the church, wandered the streets for a bit, took a lot of bad photos and then called into the very busy Hotel Peter to warm up over a few drinks (noting that they serve food all day). Every table was full; the couple next to us - occupying a table for four - was approached several times by potential customers asking if they’d share the table but they continually refused - one persistent woman being turned away three times.

We returned to the church well before the concert to secure a seat, and good thing, as it was a full house. We really enjoyed the performance.

Then it was back through the crowds to the boat dock, people shoulder-to-shoulder squeezing through narrow passageways lined with small open fires, me wondering how many people ignite during Advent in St Wolfgang.

We’d just missed the ferry to St Gilgen so had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. Many of our fellow passengers were well-lubed and quite jolly; we were able to sit this time, and realizing they served beverages on board, managed to order and down a Prosecco during the short journey.

St Gilgen was now calm and sedate, much more our style. We made a dinner of Advent Market Raclette and bread, after which we crept up to the apartment via the ‘back way’; a somewhat challenging, icy, dark path. We made a wrong turn and had to double back, but eventually found our way, thanks to Bill and his uncanny sense of direction.

We’d been out for eleven hours; and had barely seen the sun.


St. Gilgen

To be continued…

Last edited by Melnq8; May 27th, 2019 at 08:22 AM.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 27th, 2019, 11:12 PM
  #42  
 
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Hi again!

Hope you don't mind my posting a few photos here -- this trip report reminded me of how beautiful the Wolfgangsee is! In 2009 I did a similar walk around the northern tip of the lake but didn't go all the way to Fürberg; I stopped and enjoyed the views from this little restaurant at around Brunnwinkl:






This was Sep 2009

Thanks again for your report!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 05:19 AM
  #43  
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Lovely indeed swandav!
Melnq8 is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 06:02 AM
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I finally clicked on this Mel, a wonderful trip report. I love the days when you are just wandering around with your camera. Really beautiful. Not sure how thrilled my wife would be about the temperatures you had, might require an electric heated base layer. But the Trinkschokolade would be a selling point for sure! And the Crystal World.

And something else you noted to always keep in mind, "An abysmal weather day had somehow become magical."
Thanks for posting.
Nelson is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 06:40 AM
  #45  
 
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I like seeing Swandav's September photos and comparing them to Mel's December photos! Both times of year are beautiful.
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May 28th, 2019, 08:59 AM
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I love reading about your experiences and seeing Swandav's and your pictures. I"m not certain I would have anticipated the crowds but I suppose we should expect that weekends especially will be crowded no matter what the temperature. It all looks magical in the snow. We visited the area in summer and loved it but I see now that we need to go back in winter. Thanks again for posting about your trip.
Trophywife007 is online now  
May 28th, 2019, 09:58 AM
  #47  
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Thanks everyone, I'll try to get this wrapped up soon.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 11:43 AM
  #48  
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St. Gilgen/Hallstatt – Day 9

The day began with a glimmer of hope – a promising - but fleeting - sunrise.


Is that the sun? St. Gilgen

We figured the time had come to visit the much revered, UNESCO World Heritage Listed village of Hallstatt.

We bundled up and walked down to the bus stop near the Spar, the promise of sun a distant memory, and boarded Bus 150 to Bad Ischl, paying the driver 9.90 Euro each for the one way trip from St. Gilgen to Hallstatt.

Bad Ischl was much bigger than we expected, but not particularly appealing from the seat of a bus. We waited ~20 minutes at the Bahnhof for Bus #542, which eventually deposited us at Gosaumühle.

Our bus was met by a passenger van with a Postbus sign on the windshield (evidently the pro tem Bus 543 in the ‘low season’), which barely fit the connecting passengers, let alone their luggage.

We were then whisked away alongside Hallstatter See and through a long narrow tunnel, arriving at Hallstatt Lahn some ten minutes later. An interesting journey to say the least.

In retrospect we should have expected it, but we were surprised at how busy this tiny village was on such a cold, gloomy December day. Whether it being Third Sunday of Advent played a role in that I will never know, but there wasn’t an Advent Market, so that wasn’t the reason.

We walked the length of the town, amused (and then annoyed) by the masses of selfie-stick armed Asians, most of whom only looked up from their cell phones long enough to preen and pose in front of one. I couldn’t but help feel sorry for the ~778 residents who have to deal with this on a daily basis.

All we really knew about Hallstatt prior to going was that it’s a tourist magnet. And for good reason – it’s a gorgeous little village tucked between the Dachstein Mountains and Lake Hallstatt. And while I have no doubt that it’s absolutely stunning on a perfect summer day…just the thought of how manic it must be…thanks, but no.

Since our visit I’ve discovered that Hallstatt is so popular with the Chinese that they’ve cloned it:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/hallstatt-china


Hallstatter See


Hallstatt

Winter days are short; it’d taken us almost two hours to get there and it would take two hours to get back – and it was so very cold – so we did what we could in the little time we had.

We walked the village from end to end. We walked up to and poked around the Catholic Parish church. We explored the Marktplatz. And of course we took a gazillion photos.


Hallstatt

Café Derbl in the historic marketplace seemed a good spot for lunch, so we joined the queue and waited 10-15 minutes for an available table. The owner was patient and very accommodating, allowing several of his device addicted patrons to charge their phones on his counter. We were the only people in the room not staring at, or charging a phone. Shame, considering what lay on the other side of the glass.

We warmed up over plates of cheese Spätzle with fried onions, good and filling. Bill tried, and liked, the chestnut beer (37 Euro with drinks).

After exploring a bit more, we walked down to the dock and eventually took the ferry (2.50 Euro each) across the lake for the short trip to the train station, the sun making an ever-so-brief appearance and giving us a tiny glimpse of blue sky.


Leaving Hallstatt via ferry


Leaving Hallstatt via ferry

With only seven minutes before the next train, we joined the queue to purchase train tickets from the one and only ticket source, a ticket machine, the people in front of us taking so long that we worried we’d miss our train (9.90 Euro each for train and return bus).

Note: Having to purchase ferry and train tickets independently seemed rather inefficient considering the traffic that Hallstatt gets – surely there’s another way?

The ride back to Bad Ischl was very scenic and we’re glad we’d chosen to make the full loop instead of returning the way we’d come. Bad Ischl was pretty much a ghost town on this Sunday afternoon – nothing seemed open, not even at the train station.

A 40 minute wait later and we were on our way back to St. Gilgen via Bus 150.

To be continued…

Last edited by Melnq8; May 28th, 2019 at 11:48 AM.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 01:26 PM
  #49  
 
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We visited Hallstatt in the summer. It was raining of course, but incredibly picturesque (and crowded).
One of the highlights for me is gardens, so I do enjoy June to September travel. Hallstatt being so tiny, had the teeniest little garden pockets in front of their houses. Really added to the fairytale effect, but reinforced how little escape from prying eyes the locals have.
Adelaidean is online now  
May 28th, 2019, 01:35 PM
  #50  
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I'm sure it was gorgeous Adelaidean. Our trip to Switzerland in June of 2017 really made me appreciate all the lovely gardens and flowers, which of course we don't see in the dead of winter.

I have to admit I really missed the sunshine this time around - the lack of blue sky often makes me question why I bother taking photos.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 01:45 PM
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Sounds like there hasn’t been much sunshine so far, I keep checking webcams and rarely see blue sky.
Adelaidean is online now  
May 28th, 2019, 02:01 PM
  #52  
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Well, at least you have no shortage there in SA!
Melnq8 is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 07:52 PM
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Every morning in Hallstatt we'd see girls wearing big wedding-like dresses (usually pastel color) posing in front of the fountain in market square but Hallstatt comes into its own in the evening when day trippers leave. Eat dinner next to the lake in summer and watch the swans come. We were there during June (2016) for 5 nights and used it as a base for day trips. Oddly, as we traveled the area, not too many tourists seemed to make it to the other places nearby such as St. Wolfgang and Bad Ischl.
Trophywife007 is online now  
May 28th, 2019, 09:11 PM
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Oh but I love your winter, moody photos! But yikes it sounds like it was just not good to linger outside!

Happy that my photos made an interesting addition/counterpoint and aren't seen as a distraction.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
May 28th, 2019, 10:10 PM
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"I have to admit I really missed the sunshine this time around - the lack of blue sky often makes me question why I bother taking photos."

I agree that it's tricky to capture the mountains in grey weather; I have plenty of snaps in my digital trash can to prove it. I finally took the time to investigate, and now know to change my Aperture settings so only half of my snaps end of deleted (rather than 90%) But then, I love brooding grey/blue photos.

In case you are curious, this is the view from atop Zwölferhorn from February of this year. Continuing to enjoy your report!


fourfortravel is offline  
May 29th, 2019, 05:14 AM
  #56  
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Fantastic photo Fourfortravel!

We didn't manage either the Zwölferhorn or the Schafbergahn due to poor weather and operating schedules. Maybe next time.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 29th, 2019, 12:53 PM
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Mel, I only saw this trip report today. I hardly ever check the "Austria" threads. Love it, of course. Wow, you really got tons of snow! Thanks a lot for posting. I was there in March and it was totally between seasons. St. Gilgen deserted, Zwölferhorn gondola still running. Since others posted pictures here, I'll follow suit - I hope you don't mind ;-)


St. Gilgen, totally deserted in early afternoon.


Schafberg, seen from Zwölferhorn gondola.
Ingo is offline  
May 29th, 2019, 02:14 PM
  #58  
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Ingo -

Nice to see you here - great photos! Maybe we'll have to go back in March - you know how much we love deserted
Melnq8 is offline  
May 29th, 2019, 03:51 PM
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I'm surprised that March is considered in between seasons, considering you are in the mountains. Here in New England where I live March is still winter, and ski resorts are still operating. Anyways, it's interesting to see photos from different times of the year.
KarenWoo is offline  
May 29th, 2019, 10:43 PM
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Mel - yeah, I know ;-) Another plus: It was not as cold as you experienced in December, and longer daylight.

Karen - Wolfgangsee doesn't have large skiing areas. Just smaller ones at relatively low altitude. Mostly frequented by locals and during school holidays, so they close early.
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