1. Touchdown Vienna and begins the committed platonic relationship with 'Tourist Information Desk'. Our first encounter, a redhead lady (just her hair were read, keep that urban dictionary aside, please) at the desk. While struggling to understand the streets and the sub streets and the sub sub streets, I guess the travel desk lady understood our bewilderment and said, 'It's 5.50 pm, if you can wait for anothet 10 minutes, I will drop you to your accommodation. It's opposite the street where I live'. And the first whiff of the beautiful Veinna air.But wait a minute. We didn't know that 'I will drop you' means 'I will walk you'. This city walks and walks with stride of an athlete. Not surprised by the 'thigh gap' being a commoner's commodity here. So the redhead not only helped us with carrying the luggage (3 women. Don't expect us to travel light) but helped us give an insider's overview of Vienna. We were amazed at the humility and camaraderie of this woman whose name also we didn't know. This was our introduction to the level of trust for a stranger that the Europe exhibits.2. Are you from India?- Yes!Ah! Na'A'maste!Our three days in Vienna echoed with the above. It was amusing to see how people knew about nationalities and the local pleasantries of various nations. It somehow boosts your confidence of 'being known' and automatically creates a sense of belongingness. When after 'Na'A' maste' with a few too many, I asked a gentleman that how does he have so much knowledge about different nations of the world, their demography and their local pleasantries, he said:'It's the fear of Unknown that makes us susceptible to people around. Once we read, understand others, we know that it's just the geography which aparts us. In today's time and age, it's a must to read about /to know about different cultures, practices and traditions of the various nations. It's not the treaties that maketh a better world, it's the heart'.
Salzburg which is the birthplace of Mozart is enchanting from the minute you lay your eyes over it. Located between towering snow capped mountains, this cold region is a wonderful delight. I would highly recommend Pizzeria Toscana restaurant for some Italian food. It is by far the best Italian restaurant I have visited and to top it up it was quite reasonable with the rates as well.
Where to Stay: I wanted to visit The Floating Walkway, Dornbirn the next day so I took a train from Innsbruck to Dornbirn where I had booked a room via Airbnb for my first night's stay. The train to Dornbirn is around 2 hours. The journey is mind-blowing while you can settle back and watch the snow capped mighty alps.
Alpbach occupies a beautiful location on a sunny plateau at approx. 1000m above sea level. Thanks to its homogenous architectural style and lovely floral decorations which ensures Alpbach is "Austria´s most beautiful village".
How to reach Rattenberg: The best part about Alpbach is that you get to tour around the village free of cost. You can ask the hotel staff/host for a tourist card and there you go, transport is for free. OBB App is handy for the bus timings. One can catch a bus which directly goes to Rattenberg. I would suggest you to stop at Brixlegg and walk to Rattenberg alongside river INN. The walk next to the river is prodigious.With just 400 inhabitants Rattenberg is Austria´s smallest historical town. The medieval pedestrian zone with colorful box shaped buildings is dominated by the unique displays of glass craft. Also, the whole pedestrian zone has free WiFi. Yay!
Waking up early next morning, I went out for a walk. And to my surprise, Bad Goisern turned out to be a stunningly beautiful town.
Hallstatt is a picture perfect, fairy tale village located in the mountainous Salzkammergut region of Austria. This gem of a place was one of my dream destinations which far exceeded my expectations as I absolutely fell in love with it. Its striking location on the shore of the Hallstatt Lake makes it one of the most tranquil destinations in Austria and in the whole of Europe.
Go to the church where the Von Trapps got marriedThe Sound of Music is a much-loved film. Remember the wedding scene at the church where Maria, the governess with the voice of an angel, gets married to Captain Von Trapp, the father of seven children she had come to look after? The scene was shot at St Michael's church in Mondsee, about an hour away from Salzburg. Local buses ply so transportation is not a problem. The church is beautiful and the images of Maria in her big floating white wedding dress keeps coming back when you go inside.
St Wolfgang im Salzkammergut
I dont think Hallstatt needs any definition. The beautiful small village by the lake Hallstatt has already become instagram famous for its beautiful cottages and pictures. I booked myself a tour on Viator which covered Hallstatt, St. Wolfgang and Admont Abbey. The biggest surprise highlight was Admont Abbey. Like, I earlier mentioned about how Austria is breathtaking beautiful, this place does major justice. Located in between hills, this place is library goals. Considered among the most beautiful libraries in the world Admont Abbey, is straight out of a fairtytale. The place is covered with German literature and books on Karma and God and Evil. Another alluring detail is the architecture. The white and golden work details only add to more grandeur. They charge you 5 euros to take pictures, and its absolutely worth it.The next stop was Hallstatt. All my Instagram goals just squealed as we got down the bus. There is not much to sight see here, other than a boat ride around the lake. There is apparently a church which is house to human skulls, but I did not make it there. Dont want the spooky in the beauty. This village is pretty much a photostop or lunch with a view. Our final stop for the day was St. Wolfgang, another location straight out of a fairytale. This was a major discovery on my Austrian trip, considering I had no idea about this location and not to mention, I was greatly surprised by it. Considered as location great for summer, because of its beaches, this location is pretty much what you would imagine, when talking about fairytales. Colourful cottages, small shops selling beautiful decorative items, cafes with views, town square with well maintained monuments. Overall, I totally recommend this tour on Viator. Its called "Hallstatt with the panoromic view of the Alps."
Then in one fine morning, we headed from our University towards Bartholomaeberg in Vorarlberg, Austria which is adjacent to Konstanz. It's a small village situated up in the mountain, from where spectacular views of Mt. Zimba and drei Tuerme (three sisters) were clearly visible, as well as the city that lie down in the valley. We stayed in a chalet for a few nights and enjoyed the landscape with, off course, an extensive conference session. Then on the hike-day (yaaay!!), six of us headed towards a challenging trek lead by two professors, while the rest of the students group decided only to go-around uphill for a small untiring walk.