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Old 23rd October 2016, 22:52   #1
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Default A week in Austria!

Hi All,

This is my first travelogue, so please excuse any mistakes.

We went on a 1 week trip in July of this year to Austria. We had gone to Switzerland a few years back and were able to rely on the super efficient train system there without needing to hire a car. However, reading the forums on TripAdvisor, it was clear that although the infrastructure in Austria is great, we would still require a car for at least a part of our trip.

Based on advise on TripAdvisor forums, it was also clear that for a 1 week trip it did not make sense to have more than two hotels/locations as base to explore from. The flight tickets to Vienna were already booked, so that left us to decide on one additional base location. Looking at the geography of Austria, the 3 main areas to cover in a short 1 week trip are Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. Reading up more about Austria, it became apparent that the lake district around Salzburg - called Salzkammergut - was a great area to explore. It would be difficult to explore Innsbruck from Salzburg as a day trip, so we dropped Innsbruck from our plans and decided on Salzburg area as our second base location.

We love natural beauty and are not particularly fond of cities or museums. So, we decided to stay at a lake side village called St. Wolfgang instead of Salzburg. Although St. Gilgen would have been equally good, however we decided on St. Wolfgang based on hotel reviews and availability. We wanted to stay at a lake side village, so that ruled out Bad Ischl. However, for those who don't plan to hire a car, Bad Ischl is the most suitable place to be based out of in Salzkammergut due to its rail and bus connectivity.

So, we had a broad overall itinerary in place:

Day 1: Land in Vienna. Stay overnight.

Day 2: Explore Vienna and surroundings. Stay overnight.

Day 3: First half in Vienna. Pick up car in the afternoon and head to St. Wolfgang.

Day 4-7: Explore Salzkammergut.

Day 8: Return to Vienna. Drop the car. Fly home.


Day 1:

We landed in Vienna airport. First order of business was to book the car rental. I had explored car rentals online and even booked one through www.autoeurope.com. However, upon looking at terms and conditions of the car rental, I noticed that the driving license on which your international driving permit (IDP) is based should have been at least one year old. Although, I have a valid driving license from India, however I am currently based out of India and my IDP was based on my resident country driving license which was less than one year old. I called up AutoEurope and they confirmed that this is a mandatory requirement. To their credit they canceled the booking without any penalty. However, reading around it looked like this was not a strict requirement as long as you had a driving license at least one year old. So, I decided to take a chance on booking the car rental when I arrived in Vienna instead of booking one beforehand and having issues later on.

The car rental companies at Vienna airport are located at the ground floor of car park P4. Its right in front towards right when you exit the terminal. I tried Europcar first as it had good reviews on TripAdvisor. Although they had car available, but it was quite pricey. I had expected this as due to low availability of cars during summer, there are very few last minute deals, instead you have to shell out more. There was a long queue at the Hertz counter, so didn't even bother. Tried out the Sixt counter. Although I had never rented from Sixt earlier, based on reading travelogues online, I knew that it was a decent company. The counter was very well maintained and the agent was very friendly and answered all the queries I had. Most importantly driving license was not a problem ! He didn't have any cars available for pickup from the city, but cars were available for pickup from the airport. After lot of discussion during which he was extremely professional, we finally booked Nissan Juke for pickup on Day 3 and return on Day 8.

We then went back to the terminal to book train ticket to the city. After such a pleasant experience at Sixt, we had a rather unfriendly interaction with the lady at the ticket counter. Thankfully, this was the only rude experience we had in Austria (although there was one German boat tour personnel, more on that later). We had booked our stay at Hotel Altstadt and the hotel booking clearly mentioned directions on how to get to the hotel:
"Every 20 to 30 minutes there are buses, the train (S7) or the CAT (City Airport Train) leaving to the City Air Terminal Wien-Mitte. The rate is between € 6,- and 10,- per person and the duration between 16 (CAT) and 30 minutes. From Wien-Mitte please take the underground line U3 until Volkstheater. Take the exit Burggasse, make a left and follow Burggasse for about 5 to 7 minutes. After the second traffic light, turn right into Kirchengasse. Our hotel - Kirchengasse 41 - is easy to find because of the grey canopy above our front door."

We were able to find our hotel easily, although it involved a walk of around 5 mins from the Volkstheater metro station. We had booked Hotel Altstadt purely based on TripAdvisor rating. The hotel was good, but we could have probably booked a cheaper hotel and felt satisfied since we anyway don't enjoy cities much.

After resting for a few hours, we went to see St. Stephens cathedral. Its quite an impressive structure and the area was bustling with people. We could not go inside the cathedral as there was some event or concert going on. Some pics of the cathedral and surroundings below.

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We then went to the Sala Terrena concert (http://www.concert-in-vienna.com/). The concert hall was tiny. It was painted all over - walls to the roof - and looked beautiful. Mozart had performed in this concert hall when he had initially moved to Vienna from Salzburg. He had even stayed in the building for a few months during this time.

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We had never been to a concert and had no knowledge of classical music. So, we had no idea whether we would like the experience. All our doubts were laid to rest when the music began. There were only four musicians, however since the hall was so small and acoustics so well designed, we could hear the music clearly and beautifully. It was neither too loud nor too soft. We had heard some of the Mozart pieces earlier, however most of the music was new to us, but we loved it. Intimacy of the setting and gentle evening light peeking through the window made for a surreal and moving experience. It was heaven.

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We then walked around the city.


Vienna State Opera.

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Albertina Museum. The place where Jesse and Celine look at the State Opera in the movie Before Sunrise.

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Volkstheater.

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Wow, this is taking longer than I imagined and this was just Day 1. Can now appreciate the huge amount of time and effort that goes into preparing those perfect team-bhp reviews with flowing narrative, pictures, and error-free spelling and grammar !

Cheers,
Desidino
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Old 28th October 2016, 16:42   #2
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Default re: A week in Austria!

Day 2:

There seems to be a limit of 30 pictures per post. Hence, I am breaking up the posts by day.

As I mentioned earlier, we enjoy natural scenery and are not big fans of cities. So, while the general advise on TripAdvisor was to spend at least 2-3 days exploring Vienna, we barely spent a day in Vienna – Day 1 evening and Day 3 first half. For Day 2, we headed for a bicycle tour of Wachau Valley.

We went to the Schottenring subway station and then reached the Vienna Explorer office. After filling the forms, we met the remaining tour members and all of us then headed back to the subway station with our guide. We then traveled through train to Krems which is where the Wachau Valley starts (the other end being Melk). It was a short walk from the station to collect the bikes. The guide made sure that the seat height was set correctly for all of us.

Off we went on our green bikes !

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A brief stop in between the vineyards.

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While the road was mostly level which made biking fairly easy for the most part, however there were a few steep climbs which really tested our stamina. For most part of the tour we were at the tail end. Even some older ladies were ahead of us :( I don't mean to scare anyone and would highly recommend the bike tour even if you are not very fit (as long as you don't plan to lug along your kids). For those considering bringing their kids along, Vienna Explorer does provide child seats and kids tag-a-long bikes. However, make sure that you are super fit since there are a few steep climbs which would be difficult to manage with kids.

A water break on the way.

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First wine tasting of the day. Unfortunately did not take any pictures of the actual wine tasting. We tasted 3-4 different types of wines. Got to know that Wachau Valley is famous for its white wine.

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Our next stop was the beautiful little village of Durnstein by the Danube.

Entering Durnstein.

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Heading towards hiking the local hill where there is an old castle at the top where King Richard of England was held captive.

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Beautiful view of the Danube flowing through the Wachau Valley.

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View of Durnstein.

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Castle at the top. We were too exhausted to get to the castle. Also, the tour members were supposed to re-group soon for lunch.

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The walk back to Durnstein.

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Second wine tasting.

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After our second wine tasting, the weather started to deteriorate, so we started back on the return journey. By now, we were exhausted yet happily content with the biking, wining, hiking, and dining. It started to rain while we started biking back and we could see dark clouds on the horizon along with the occasional thunder. So, of course we had another round of wine tasting !

Third wine tasting.

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Third wine tasting was by far the best since by then the group had got comfortable and friendly with each other. We were such a loud bunch that I was feeling a bit sorry for the others in the tavern. Luckily we received no complaints and it was a perfect end to the beautiful day !

Our guide on the ride back.

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We had never gone on any kind of group tour before and were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it. While the freedom of traveling alone cannot be beaten, the lively atmosphere of a group tour is also great fun. We decided then that our next trip would be a group tour whenever it happens.

Last edited by desidino : 29th October 2016 at 13:00.
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Old 29th October 2016, 18:57   #3
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Default re: A week in Austria!

Day 3:

We had the first half today to explore Vienna before we collected our car from the airport. We went to Schönbrunn Palace which was the summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs.

Schönbrunn Palace from the front.

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Schönbrunn Palace from the back.

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Gloriette.

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Neptune Fountain.

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As the weather was bad and it was drizzling, we did not explore the gardens. Instead, we took the imperial tour that included the Great Gallery and apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth. Small audio devices called audio guides are provided free of cost wherein you type in the number of the section you are currently viewing and can listen to the narration through the earphone provided. Photography is prohibited inside the palace. There was no queue either for the tickets nor for collecting the audio guides. So, you don't need to buy the tickets beforehand or download the audio files to your mobile device (instead of collecting audio guides) from the palace website. Overall, it was a good experience, especially due to the audio guides which made it easy to appreciate what we were seeing. The tour took 30 minutes which was just the right time for people like us who would go to museums or palace tours only if the weather is bad.

Back in Vienna we took the Vienna Ring Tram which takes a circular loop around the Vienna Ring Road called Ringstrasse. This is a tourist tram and includes headsets to listen to the commentary on the various landmarks during the loop. Unlike the audio guides in Schönbrunn Palace, the headsets provided in the tram did not include any option to select the landmark you wished to hear about. It was a continuous running commentary which was not synchronized with the landmarks we were passing through, so it was difficult to understand what was being referred to. The conductor on the tram was only responsible for providing tickets and distributing the headsets. Would have been better if there was a guide on the tram explaining to us what we were seeing. Give this tram a pass if you are in Vienna.

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We then went to see the Hofburg Palace which used to be the main seat of power of the Austro-Hungarian empire and winter residence of Hapsburg dynasty. We didn't take the palace tour.

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As we exited the Hofburg Palace, we saw the Maria Theresa statue.

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Musicians having fun.

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Natural History Museum and Art History Museum.

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That completed our Vienna sight-seeing. We then went to the airport to collect the car. The process to collect the car was pretty straightforward. I had expected Sixt to send a person along with us to confirm the dents on the car. However, as we had taken the SCDW insurance (Super Collision Damage Waiver) which was the most comprehensive insurance, we were told that dents were anyway covered so there was no need for any confirmation. We anyway went through the car panels as well as we could to check if there was any major dent or damage. Thankfully there were no major dents.

Based on advise on TripAdvisor, I had not opted for navigation system since many times these are already installed on the car, so there is no point in paying extra unless you really feel the need for a navigation system. I had already purchased a SIM with internet pack from the airport, and planned to use Google Maps in case the car did not have a navigation system. Luckily, the car did have a navigation system. I had earlier read on one of the team-bhp travelogues that the bhpian had a problem with the navigation system which was providing voice over in German. I checked and thankfully the voice over was in English. The said bhpian also had a problem exiting the car park as the car rental company had not provided him the parking card. So, had already made sure that I collected the parking card from Sixt. All controls checked, we started off on our first car journey in Europe !

Beautiful Austrian highway. Gods were particularly kind to us as the weather cleared up in the afternoon.

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Plan was to first visit the Melk Abbey and then proceed to St. Wolfgang.

View of Melk Abbey from the road.

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Streets of Melk.

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Melk Abbey.

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We then headed towards St. Wolfgang.

Entering the lake district - Salzkammergut. Approaching Traunsee.

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Lake Traunsee. The pictures don't do justice to the scenic beauty. The entrance to Traunsee was just amazing.

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Our destination - St. Wolfgang by the Lake Wolfgangsee.

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Last edited by desidino : 30th October 2016 at 10:57.
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Old 1st November 2016, 01:15   #4
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Day 4:

This day onward was when the real Austrian scenic vacation started ! In fact we felt later that we should have straightway headed to the Salzkammergut region instead of spending 2 days in Vienna.

I will let the pictures do the talking. Hope that I am not breaking any forum rule by uploading too many pictures.

Today, we had planned to cover Schafberg and loiter around the Wolfgangsee area. The weather forecast for the day was good, but the forecast for the next day was not looking good. During our previous trip to Switzerland, we had lost 3 days to rains during a 1 week trip. So, we knew the value of good weather during European summer. Also, given that we had the car with us, we decided to cover some of the other areas in Salzkammergut today itself instead of covering them at leisure the next day. Although, it did mean that the day was rushed, but we just did not wish to risk not getting to see the natural scenery in all its glory due to bad weather.

Schafberg is reached through a cog railway - Schafbergbahn - from St. Wolfgang to the top of Schafberg. The St. Wolfgang station was 5 minutes walk from our hotel. We booked the tickets when we reached the station. Although, we could not find a ticket for the next trip, we were able to get tickets for the trip after. If I remember correctly, there were trips every 15-20 mins, so we only had to wait for about half an hour during which we walked by the lake. The train ride was smooth as expected. Once we reached the top, we saw people climbing up the stairs of the station instead of directly walking towards the mountain top. Turned out that passengers were supposed to confirm the time for the return trip. There is no restriction on the time that passengers get to spend on Schafberg, so they may choose to return by any of the trips back.

Train at the top.

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Beautiful scenery at Schafberg.

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We went back to the hotel for a short refresh.

Our hotel - Seebockenhotel.

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Dining area at the back of the hotel.

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Wolfgangsee.

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Adjacent hotel.

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Walking through St. Wolfgang towards the car park.

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Car parking was included with the hotel stay. We had a tough time entering the car park during our first try. After a lot of trial and error, the boom barrier finally lifted. Turned out that we had to place the car really close to the boom barrier for the system to activate and recognize the car parking card.

We next headed to Hallstatt and Dachstein-Salzkammergut. We could not find parking in Hallstatt and so headed to Dachstein first. It turned out to be providential since if we had stopped at Hallstatt first, we would not have had the time to visit Dachstein due to the cable car timings.

Up the cable car at Dachstein. The cable car ride is quite long and very steep. My wife had a sever pain in the ear due to the sudden altitude change. Its better to take some cotton or cover your ears during the cable car ride. Once you get to the top though, the pain goes away quickly as the body adjusts to the altitude. Do try to go in early for the cable car rides as the last cable car ride back from the top is usually around 5:30 pm.

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Views at the top.

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Five Fingers Platform with view of Lake Hallstätter See.

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Will have to split day 4 into two posts due to the sheer number of pictures.

Last edited by desidino : 4th November 2016 at 13:01.
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Old 1st November 2016, 01:25   #5
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Day 4 (contd.):

I had to break up Day 4 due to the sheer number of pictures.

Dachstein (contd.)

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Guys paragliding.

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Back down the mountain.

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We did not go to the Dachstein ice caves as we wanted to use the sunshine time to the fullest. But, they would make a good alternative to visit during a rainy day.

We then headed to Hallstatt. Best part about European summers are the long days. So even though we reached Hallstatt quite late in the evening, we still had plenty of sunshine to explore the village. Hallstatt is the village by the lake that you see on Austrian postcard pictures. It made its fortunes through salt. Before refrigeration was invented, salt was used to preserve meat and was hence valuable. Salt mines of Hallstatt brought prosperity to the region for centuries. We didn't visit the mines as we don't get the idea of going underground when there is such beautiful scenery outside.

Hallstatt.

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Bräugasthof restaurant by the lake. The fish here was the best we had in Austria !

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Some window shopping.

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A different view to see how the houses are almost stacked on top of one other.

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Some more window shopping.

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Market Square (Marktplatz).

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Iconic Hallstatt postcard view.

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The village church.

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That ended a long but beautiful day.

Last edited by desidino : 3rd November 2016 at 22:52.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 23:16   #6
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Day 5:

The forecast for today was not good, so it was a mighty pleasant surprise to see that the weather was perfect !

View from the dining area behind the hotel.

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The plan for today was to go to Salzburg. But, we didn't want to spend more than half a day in Salzburg, so we decided to head to Postalm scenic alpine road and Lake Gosausee before visiting Salzburg.

Postalm is one of Austria's largest alpine pasture. There is a toll of Euro 10 to use the road.

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Our Nissan Juke taking a short break.

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Heading towards Gosausee (Lake Gosau). It was a very DDLJ like drive.

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Mountains around Gosausee.

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Road side free parking just before Gosausee.

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Gosausee. Pictures don't do justice to this lake. You can't see it in the pictures, but the mountains almost totally envelope the lake. We had a soul moving experience just sitting in silence looking at the lake. There is a walking track that loops completely around the lake. If we ever go back to Austria, Gosausee would be at the top of our must see places and we would dedicate a full day for it. Gosausee is not highlighted as a major tourist destination in Austria and is overshadowed in popularity by its neighbor Hallstatt, but by the Gods, what a beauty ! We felt it was the most beautiful lake in all of Salzkammergut.

There was even a cable car at Gosausee. But, we didn't ride it as my wife was not very enthusiastic after previous day's ear pain at Dachstein cable car.

Gosausee with Dachstein mountain in front.

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We then headed to Salzburg.

Statue of Mozart who was born and brought up in Salzburg.

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Fountain on the way when Maria goes from the convent to the von Trapp villa in the movie Sound of Music.

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Hohensalzburg Castle.

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Funicular to get to the castle.

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View of Salzburg from the castle.

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Lock bridge. We were surprised that no one was selling locks at the bridge. So, could not put a lock of our own.

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View of the castle from Mirabell Gardens.

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Walking back after another wonderful day in Austria.

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Last edited by desidino : 4th November 2016 at 13:52.
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Old 4th November 2016, 00:42   #7
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Day 6:

Our good luck with the weather ended today. We spent some time in the morning strolling by the Wolfgangsee and St.Wolfgang.

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We then started driving dejected towards Berchtesgaden even though the weather was bad since we didn't want the day to be a total washout. As luck would have it we got stuck in a long traffic jam due to road construction work. After the loo, traffic jams must be the most popular places for brain waves. I looked up the weather in Austria, and while the weather in Salzburg area was bad, it turned out that Innsbruck was sunny. We had earlier excluded Innsbruck from our itinerary since it was 3 hours from St.Wolfgang, and we could use 6 hours of driving to-and-fro to instead better explore the lake district. But, due to the bad weather in Salzkammergut, we decided to head towards Innsbruck.

Lake Chiemsee in Germany on the way to Innsbruck.

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Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens near Innsbruck.

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Cable car to Nordkette.

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View from Hafelekar at the top of Nordkette.

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View from Seegrube, the mid-station on the way to the top.

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Lake Mondsee near Wolfgangsee on the way back.

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Last edited by desidino : 4th November 2016 at 14:49.
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Old 4th November 2016, 01:37   #8
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Day 7:

The weather today was great again. We headed to Berchtesgaden intending to get there this time. My wife and I are both huge "Band of Brothers" fans, so we had to go to Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest). It is a mountain top retreat near Berchtesgaden which are built as a present for Hitler's 50th birthday.

Road to Berchtesgaden.

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Road to Eagle's Nest. Personal vehicles are not allowed on this road. We parked at Hintereck parking area at Obersalzberg. The ticket counter for the bus to go to Eagle's Nest is next to the parking area. Obersalzberg is a mountainside retreat above Berchtesgaden that was home to the topmost leadership of The Third Reich including Hitler and Goering.

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Queue at the elevator to take you to Eagle's Nest.

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At the Eagle's Nest. We walked to the top of the hill.

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View from the top.

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Lake Konigssee at the distance.

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Back at the Eagle's Nest.

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The place were Easy Company guys are relaxing when Major Winters gives them the news that the German army has surrendered, in the HBO series, Band of Brothers (the best television series ever).

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The view from the room where Hitler entertained his guests of the state.

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Documentation Center back down near the parking area. It has a comprehensive display and audio guides about Hitler's Germany. There are bunkers below it that can be viewed by the visitors. Go here if you are really interested in the history of The Third Reich. We felt that we could have skipped this and instead spent more time at Lake Konigssee.

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We then headed towards Lake Konigssee for the boat tour. St. Bartholoma was the mid-point stop before reaching the other end of the lake. During the boat tour, there was a person giving commentary in German. Those who could understand German seemed to enjoy the commentary. Would have been better if there was an English commentary too. Mid-way through the boat tour, the commentator started playing the Flugelhorn (a traditional Bavarian brass instrument). Listening to the music echoing across the lake was a beautiful experience.

We got down at St. Bartholoma. I asked the commentator about timing for the next boat, but was brusquely waived to another guy near him who spoke English. That was a sour moment given the earlier great experience.

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Reaching the other end of Konigssee.

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A short walk to reach a small lake called Obersee.

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Lake Obersee. Since the last boat trip back was around 6 pm, we didn't have time to walk to the other side of Lake Obersee.

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This grand old man had first reached the back of the hut from the other end of the Obersee through a motor boat. He then came out of the front of the hut with a small motorized trolley kind of a vehicle filled with used bottles probably from a restaurant at the other end of the Obersee.

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Back to the Konigssee.

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Eagle's Nest - a speck at the top of the mountain.

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Thus ended our wonderful trip to Austria. Koniggsee/Obersee along with Gosausee would definitely be at the top of our must do list if we ever return to Austria.

Last edited by desidino : 4th November 2016 at 13:56.
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Old 4th November 2016, 10:46   #9
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Trip Notes:

Here are some links and notes based on my trip research. Have included advise found on net within double quotes.

Vienna:

Vienna Metro map.
http://www.viennaairport.com/jart/pr...netz_de_en.pdf

Vienna Tram Tour.
http://www.bigboytravel.com/europe/a...enna/tramtour/

Vienna Walking Tour.
http://www.bigboytravel.com/europe/a...eewalkingtour/

Rick Steves Audio Tour.
https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-rea...ustria-germany

Advise on a TripAdvisor post about eating dinner at a Heuriger, a kind of wine garden restaurants, out on the outskirts of town. We didn't do this.
"Do Nussdorf – just at the end of tram “D”. Go to Heuriger Schübel-Auer or Heuriger Kierlinger.
If you want to make it a perfect afternoon either walk up “Nussberg” starting at “D” or take bus 38A from U4 terminal at Heiligenstadt up to Kahlenberg (all one ticket) and walk down the hill. En route stop at Sirbu and/or Heuriger Hirt.

For pictures and routing-idea look at “Beethoven Walk - Kahlenberg, Nussdorf, Heiligenstadt”."
Sala Terrena concert.
http://www.concert-in-vienna.com/

24 hours in Vienna.
http://www.austria.info/us/austria-a...ours-in-vienna

Wachau Valley Wine and Bike Tour.
http://www.viennaexplorer.com/group-...ing-wachau.php

Advise on the net about the Danube Canal. We didn't do this.
"And for a fun summer evening vibe in the city center, head to Vienna’s beach scene on the Danube Canal. Here a selection of bars such as Strandbar Hermann, the Badeschiff, ‘Tel Aviv Beach’ and the Café Bar Urania offer a touch of Riviera flair."
Advise on the net on driving from Vienna to St. Wolfgang. We relied on the navigation system which took us through the shortest route since we didn't have the whole day for a leisurely drive.
"Instead of the Autobahn, take Route 3, called the "Austrian Romantic Road," west from Vienna. On the north of the river you can follow this lovely old road into Krems, the most rewarding stopover in the Danube Valley, with its old churches, ancient houses, and cobblestone streets. The location is 80km (50 miles) west of Vienna. You can use Krems as a base and set out on two side trips; first to the old wine town of Dürnstein, 8km (5 miles) west of Krems. The town still preserves part of its once fortified walls. From Dürnstein, follow Route 33 along the south bank of the Danube to Melk Abbey, the greatest baroque abbey of Austria. The distance is 31km (19 miles).

Leave Melk and drive to the Autobahn (E60) that runs west to Salzburg. At the junction with Route 145, head south into Gmunden, Traunkirchen, Bad Ischl. Then to St. Wolfgang."
St. Wolfgang:

Things to do in and around St. Wolfgang:
  • St. Wolfgang (lake cruise)
  • Schafberg (cog train)
  • St. Gilgen - Zwolferhorn Cable Car
  • "Stop at St. Gilgen and you can either walk to Furberg (30mins) or take a ferry. Nice place to eat."
  • The walk around the Schwarzensee between Bad Ischl and St Wolfgang
  • Bad Ischl
  • "The walk from the Rettenbachalm just outside Bad Ischl to the Blaa Alm is fabulous. On the way from Bad Ischl to Loser."
  • Loser Panorama Road. Altaussee.http://www.salzkammergut.at/en/liste...altaussee.html
Salzkammergut tourism website.
http://www.salzkammergut.at/en

Hallstatt and Dachstein:

On getting to Dachstein and 5 fingers platform.
"Follow the road along Hallstättersee Lake to Obertraun. On your way to Obertraun you pass the Hirschbrunn natural monument and Kesselquelle spring. This is where you’ll find the famous Dachstein Caves (the Giant Ice Cave, Mammoth Cave and Koppenbrüller Cave) as well as Dachsteinbahn Cable Car.
Get down at Krippenstein Station of the Dachstein cable car line to go to the 5 fingers platform."
Hiking options in Dachstein.
"For a real mountain hike you could take the gondolas up to the top of the Krippenstein (just up the road from the Obertraun Youth Hostel) and walk to the Gjaidalm or onwards to the Wiesberghaus and down to Hallstatt."

http://www.dachstein-salzkammergut.c...sporty/hiking/

http://www.wiesberghaus.com/.
Parking at Hallstatt.
"As regards halstatt, there is a carpark in the tunnel but only for 1 hour and with steep steps. but the best park is about 300m on the right after the exit of the tunnel. it is adjacent to the funicular to salt mine funicular."
Salzburg:

Walking Tour.
http://www.bigboytravel.com/europe/a...reewalkingtour

Bike Tour.
http://www.mariasbicycletours.com/in...our.sFaktenSOM

Car parking.
"Coming from St wolfgang area, i use "linzergasse" car park. this avoids going over the river and is a very short walk to the altstadt. another close by park is at mirabelplatz."
Rick Steves on visiting Salzburg.
https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-rea...ld-in-salzburg

Berchtesgaden:

Things to do:
  • Konigssee
  • Jenner mountain (Jennerbahn gondola)
  • Eagle's nest (Kehlsteinhaus)
  • Rossfeldpanoramastrasse
On Konigssee boat ride.
"Take the boat ride across the Königssee (€16,90 round trip) to the far side of the lake. You can get here by going to the Tourist Center at the lake and walking past all of the shops down to the shore. The boat ride alone is worth it, with gorgeous views of the green lake water, waterfalls, and a stop at St. Bartholomew's Church along the way. Once you've reached the other side, you will find a warm and cozy restaurant with better than decent food. From there, you can continue on to start the trail to Röthbachfall, which is Germany's highest waterfall at 470 metres (1540 ft) tall. First stop is a stunning old boathouse on the banks of the Obersee."
Koeniggsee boat tour timetable and other information.
http://www.seenschifffahrt.de/en/koe...ble/timetable/

Driving in Austria:

Driving regulations.
http://www.austria.info/us/basic-fac...ons-in-austria

Website to search for car rentals.
www.autoeurope.com

Info on the toll sticker/ vignette. We had confirmed with Sixt that the vignette on our car was valid for at least 1 week.
http://www.asfinag.at/home-en

Explanation video on vignette.


Scenic Roads:

Romantic Road. It is more of a marketing name. We did do the loop, but relied on the navigation system to take us through the shortest route. And since we had already been to Krems during our Wachau Valley bike tour, we went through Melk instead of Krems.Grossglockner alpine road. Zell Am See. We would have done this if we had a few more days to spare.
  • http://www.frommers.com/destinations...alzburg/264344
  • http://www.austria.info/us/austria/n...gh-alpine-road
  • http://www.adventureaustria.com/ten-...ves/4580964477
  • Advise on the net about the scenic drive: "We drove south from Salzburg to Mittersill then took a very scenic road to Lienz. We then worked our way back up to Heiligenblut (one of the most picturesque villages in the world) where we had lunch. After that we went up to the Grossglockner glacier and made our way over the Alpine high road back to Bruck where we turned east then north and headed back to Salzburg."
  • Advise on the net about things to do on the drive.
    • "1) Edelweissspitze (2571 m.s.l.): sojourn time 20 minutes, with a superb view of the thirty peaks over 3.000 meters high.
    • 2) Kaiser-Franz-Josephs-Hoehe (2424 m.s. l.): sojourn time 11/2 – 2 hours, you will have enough time to take the cable car to the glacier or to watch the marmots and the Alpine ibexes and to have lunch in a self-service restaurant.
    • 3) Heiligenblut (1370 m.s.l.): sojourn time 45 minutes, beautiful mountain village with gothic pilgrimage church.
    • 4) Fuscher Lacke: sojourn time 45 minutes, little lake with restaurant “Mankeiwirt” with a tame marmot! and a museum of the road building."
Map of Salzkammergut:

This is an inverted map to highlight Dachstein at the top which is the tallest mountain in the region. So, while the map shows Salzburg on the east and Vienna towards south west, in reality Vienna is towards north east of the Salzkammergut region and Salburg is to the west.

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You can order physical catalogue for free from the Salzkammergut website (http://www.salzkammergut.at/en). Catalogues link towards the bottom of the page doesn't seem to be working now. PDF copy of the catalogue can be found below.
http://www.salzkammergut.at/uploads/..._EN_gesamt.pdf
Map is on page 90 and 91 of the catalogue.

Salzkammergut google maps.

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Last edited by desidino : 4th November 2016 at 14:58.
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Old 5th November 2016, 10:48   #10
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by GTO : 5th November 2016 at 10:49. Reason: Bump
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Excellent travelogue desidino ! Great narration and pics. Rated it 5 stars.
Austria looks amazing, almost like a mystical place in some of the pics.
The places to visit on my bucket list keep increasing with such threads.
If you don`t mind can you share the cost breakup for such a trip ?

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Old 5th November 2016, 17:26   #12
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Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. It's amazing to see the beautiful places through your lens.
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Old 5th November 2016, 23:13   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faithless_1984 View Post
Excellent travelogue desidino ! Great narration and pics. Rated it 5 stars.
Austria looks amazing, almost like a mystical place in some of the pics.
The places to visit on my bucket list keep increasing with such threads.
If you don`t mind can you share the cost breakup for such a trip ?
Thanks faithless_1984 for the kind words and the 5 stars !

And thank you Admins for including my travelogue on the front page !

Please find below the detailed cost breakup. Due to conversion from Euro and other currencies, the INR prices are approximate. But, the total cost should be accurate to within INR 5,000 or so.

A week in Austria!-austria-expenses.jpg

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Old 5th November 2016, 23:19   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Max View Post
Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. It's amazing to see the beautiful places through your lens.
Thank you Mad Max. Austria is a truly beautiful place
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Old 6th November 2016, 23:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desidino View Post
Please find below the detailed cost breakup. Due to conversion from Euro and other currencies, the INR prices are approximate. But, the total cost should be accurate to within INR 5,000 or so.
Thank you, That's really helpful. I have one question, are the figures for visa charges and airfare per person or cumulative for the group? Was this a group of 2/3/4?
An inspiring thread. As someone said, the bucket list keeps getting longer

Last edited by benbsb29 : 7th November 2016 at 18:50. Reason: Fixed broken quote tag.
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