Austria - February 2018
We boarded our flight from Paris to Vienna and from then to Salzburg. Why was I not surprised that Air France made a mistake of not checking in one of our baggages till Salzburg ? We pick up our rental car and then hit the road for the start of an epic winter experience. We head to the small town of Hallstatt which is about an hours drive from Salzburg.
We stopped on the way to just about every place we thought was a good viewing point. It was a cold but a relatively clear day. Here is a quick stop near a beautiful lake. This was also the first time we were driving in Europe ( We have driven mostly in those few countries where its left-hand drive , so the right-hand drive did take some getting used to )
Winter painted the town beautiful black and white.
We crossed Hallstat and continued to drive till the next town of Obertraun where we would be staying. We were surprised that almost all areas in Hallstatt (Airbnb/Hotels) were booked. So we had to stay in the enxt town. But it was a blessing in disguise. We came home to a cozy little place. The owner lived next door and the home had everything we needed. The front yard was full of snow and had a little snowman.
Next morning was beautiful, bright and sunny. It was time to fly the drone. What a perfect setting. It was calm all around, no one around, with a still lake in front of us with snowy montains in the background and nestled in the valley far across the lake was the small town of Hallstatt. I was worried about the drone batteries draining at zero degrees but thankfully they worked very well.
The pretty town had a supermarket, a bakery and a pizzeria - All that is needed for two nights of stay.
Next morning we drove to Hallstatt and went up to the viewing point - The Hallstatt Skywalk. The view from top was great and from here we could see the town of Obertraun. . It also has a Salt mine but at the time we went it was closed. There is a restaurant right on top and we had lunch there.
We drove on for two more hours from Hallstatt to reach the town of Zellamsee - another pretty Austrian town. But this was colder. The lake at Zellamsee had frozen and there was a chilly wind blowing over the cold lake and hitting us hard. Walking along the town, we found that the town was actually bustling with activity. People we skiing in the mountains nearby. And the center of the town was full of shops,cafes and even pubs playing loud music. We were glad to get into one of these cozy cafes.
We were back in the car again as it was getting quite late and we had to drive back to Obertraun. It took us about two hours and we reached Obertraun late night. The drive was a bit adventurous. There were hardly any vehicles all along the way. Some parts of the drive were winding mountainous roads with hairpin turns which were pitch black illuminated only by the car headlights.
Next day, it was time to head back to Salzburg. We decided to take a slightly different route and we made an uplanned stop at a lakeside town called Mondsee. This was a perfect place to stop for an hour or so and have lunch in a cozy lakeside restaurant.
And thats the excitement after seeing a hundred ducks swimming in the water !
Our Driving Route
WARNING: Surprisingly, most places in Austria do not accept credit cards ! So carry loads of cash when you visit Austria.