Saturday we decided to be adventurous and made a trip to Hallstatt, an idyllic town that was repeatedly popping up on my Instagram feed, along with a buzzfeed article. We wanted to get out of the city, but neither of us were too keen on the South of Music tours, so this sounded like the perfect replacement. We read about an all day bus pass for 25€, but according to all of our helpful transportation information desk friends, these don't exist. Instead, we were instructed to buy our tickets from the driver which resulted in about double transportation expenses for the day. Thankfully the ticket price was the only hiccup in our plans, everything else (including the two bus connections) went smoothly, putting us in Hallstatt shortly before noon.
Despite the information about the bus being off, I did appreciate the well laid out walking tour listed on the aforementioned website. We were (far) out of WiFi range, google chrome is smart and kept the page loaded for me so I could walk us through the sites. Stops 2, 3 and 4 included more money and lots of time (viewing the salt mines was a lengthy 4-hour visit) so we decided to skip ahead to stop number 5 "The Hallstat Stroll". This city has record of first inhabitants as far back as 5000BC, making it some 7000 years old, a number I can hardly wrap my brain around. The origins and present day business revolved around the salt mine, but all aspects of the city from the laid back locals all the way to the curious tourists make it a place not to miss.
Completing this walk definitely doesn't require any type of guide, map or book, simply follow the flock of tourists wandering about. That being said, to make it more interesting, worthwhile and informative, I used our little tour guide to spice things up. Learning bits and pieces of the history of the small town, changes it went through over the years and how it came to its present state forced me to be more present as I explored. It's easy [for me] to wander a town, admire the beauty, observe the people and eat the foods while somehow floating above it all with a feeling of disconnect.
After our wander around town, quick visit into a few buildings and multiple awkward meetings with a bride and groom on their wedding shoot, we decided it was time to take to the lake. Our original thought was to take the ferry ride back and forth, relaxing on boat and taking in the views of the lake. While waiting for the next departure we stumbled upon a boat rental office, and for only 13 euro/hour we couldn't pass it up (cheaper than the ferry would have been for the both of us). Neither Ariel nor myself have much boating experience but these little electric boats were pretty straight forward, on/off, fast/slow, turn.
Our ride around the lake was beautiful and freeing, not at the mercy of other tourists, a captain or schedule. Really we had all the time in the world [if we were willing to pay for it], but by the time our first hour was coming near I was ready to be back on land. The breeze on the lake chilled me to the bone so I was happy when Ariel agreed that a hot coffee was next on the agenda.
We warmed ourselves over hot coffee and bakery before venturing back to find a bus out of the city. Due to some miscommunication and confusion with how we arrived [local bus/taxi from Hallstatt Gosaumühle Bud stop] we wound up in a taxi taking us all the way back to Bad Ischl, again not in our budget plan. Clearly transportation was an issue for us this day, actually transportation was nothing less than a headache since leaving Prague. Misfortune and annoyance aside we arrived back in Salzburg in one piece, loaded up on snacks [and wine] and ventured back to the hostel for a picnic dinner.