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  • It took us 3 hours on the public bus to get to Hallstatt but it was totally worth it! The trip went by quickly even though we had to change buses 3 times since most of it was spent admiring the scenic drive through the mountains and small villages of the Austrian Alps. We also got to watch all the local kids get on and off the bus since we quickly realized they don't have traditional school buses.

    Once we made it to Hallstatt we came upon such a tranquil and pristine view of the lake that surrounds the tiny town in the heart of the Alps. We rented a little cottage apartment right by the park where we got to sit out and enjoy the swans in the lake. The following day we had a little adventure where we went to the ice caves formed over 10 million years ago and hiked the Alps to get some amazing views and fresh air! We also discovered a new hobby we hope to take up one day.... paragliding! How cool would it be to soar about the mountains and experience things from another perspective!?
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  • We got supplies and some local cheese and beer from the supermarket in the village (passing scores of Alpine Coughs on the way!).

    Leaving Lichtenstein we passed the border controls again but no staff were present on the Austrian side and we sailed through.

    We plan to do the south west corner of Austria before heading to Croatia for 5 weeks and returning to do the rest of Austria in December.

    Will had planned this part of our journey and took us on a mountain pass called Silvretta Hochalpenstraße (High Alpine Road) - and high it was! There was a toll of €21.50 and we were just in time because it closes every year at the end of October due to the weather and safety.

    There were 34 hairpin bends and we climbed nearly a kilometer to 2032m above sea level and Silvrettasee, the top lake. It was amazing on the climb to see the road behind us snaking down the mountain and the road ahead reflected in the wing mirror as it bent double!

    There were two large lakes on the pass and both were dammed to create hydro electric power. The colour of the water was very different from lakes at lower altitudes, it was a glacier blue. Walking along the dam wall with the snow capped Alps towering over the lake we felt like we were looking at a painting!

    Vicky was a bit overwhelmed by all we'd been doing and so we drove on a bit further to a beautifully situated stopover (with wifi!) and decided to stay a few nights to try and process all the wonderful experiences we've been having.

    The next day Will had downloaded the MAPS.ME map of Austria and done his research. He'd found a track leading 4.5km up the mountainside to a viewpoint. Unfortunately, the track was old and couldn't be seen on the ascent so we ended up walking up the road. An old blue painted wooden bench whose seat was rotted away in the middle signalled the site of the viewpoint that had been left to ruin. However view however, had not been left to ruin. The tree lined river Inn meandered through the valley floor, lush grass fields either side and pine clad mountains rising up to frame it all. We could even see the van! As we were perched on either end of the bench, musing on how much the Toblerone we were eating looked like the mountains it was modelled on, a rainbow formed, stretching itself from the mountain top down to the river! We thought it couldn't get any better when we spotted a faint second rainbow outside the first. So much for having a day without too much excitement!

    There was evidence of the track on the way back down so we thought we'd give it a try, despite not having seen where it came out on the way up. We felt very small walking amongst the tall trees and thinking about the size of the mountains around us. After clambering over and under fallen trunks, we came to a gorge that had opened up through landslides when the hillside was in flood. A large cable emerged from the ground that was probably the reason the path existed. There was a small path leading down the hill to our side but it was very steep and extremely overgrown so after about 20 metres we doubled back the way we'd come to take the road back to the campsite.
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  • It turns out we needed more recovery time than expected after Oktoberfest, as we started battling a cold in Mozart's hometown - Salzburg. We found out the hard way that no pharmacies or grocery stores are open on a Sunday so we had to fight through our colds by taking it easy, but we still managed to enjoy our limited time in this beautiful city. The scenery is unique, nestled in the Alps with a river running through it, buildings carved into the cliffs, a castle overhead and an old wall surrounding the town. They also had a lively atmosphere in the town due to their own Oktoberfest celebration; their culture seemed similar to the Bavarian culture we experienced in Munich, but a smaller town feel.Read more

  • We're a little delayed on posting about Vienna but here it is. We enjoyed the city with beautiful weather our first day which made it even prettier to walk around. The city is full of beautiful architecture and a vast cultural scene. There are many museums, the opera, and influence of the Royal Hapsburg family the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire all over.

    The second day was a bit colder so it entailed doing some laundry, jumping in coffee houses and taking it easy. We decided to take advantage of a free museum that occurs every first Sunday of the month and waited in line for 30mins only to get inside and find the museum was only in German! That made for a quick visit! Wiener Schnitzel and apple strudel followed for dinner and hit the spot.Read more

  • Gustav Klimt is a famous Austrian artist probably best known for his painting The Kiss, pictured here in a reproduction. Klimt attended the Imperial Arts College of Vienna in 1887.

    The other photo is a portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer

  • The Albertina houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with approximately 65,000 drawing and approximately 1 million old master prints, as well as more modern graphic works

  • Forget to tell you about the Hotel. We are staying at the Mercure Wien City, just a short 10 minute walk to Vienna Square. It is located on the Danube Canal. The Danube river is Europe's second longest river.

    The hotel is boutique, the room is "European" cozy. My OCD is definitely get a workout. You know me everything has its place

  • It's 1:10 AM Friday morning and we've returned from our multi-country tour. Three countries in 15 hours. There were no international incidents, although Bryan said I was close a few times, NOT!

    There are many pics to sort through, 48 in total, so I'll post tomorrow. For now here's our travel map from the trek

    Nite all

  • This is a world renowned opera house. Its history dates back to the mid 19th century. It was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrabe. Built in 1861 it was set a blaze by an American bomber during WWI in 1945. It was rebuilt to its original glory 1948-1956

    I hope to tour inside later in the week. More pics to follow

  • We enjoyed dinner with the company owners at Graben30 then had night caps in the Bristol lobby lounge

    I spotted this 50 year old bottle of Louis XIII Remy Martin available to you for the small cost of 8,990€ or $13,480 CDN, box included of course. Instead we enjoyed wine and sampled the various region brandy blends