The Hills Are Alive ...

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July 17th 2008
Published: July 19th 2008
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We came to Zell am See on a whim and found mountain paradise. Having never heard of this lakeside Austrian town, the initial magical trainride deep into mountains blooming with Christmas trees, hidden castles & crumbling stone bridges over aweinspiring gorges was an adventure in itself.

A personal pick-up at the station by our friendly Irish B&B hosts began 3 days of luxury. A room all to ourselves (devoid of snoring, drunk travellers), fluffy white doonas and free buffet breakfast. The afternoon of our arrival saw us accidentally hiking to the peak of Schmitten hohe, our 2000m high neighbour, after planning a lazy walk to a hillside pub a mere 40 minutes walk away. 5 hours later we were descending through alpine meadows with glaciers to the left of us and cows to the right, our knees aching to high heaven. To detract from the pain, we treated ourselves to a good old Austrian schnitzel the size of a garbage bin lid and rolled home to those waiting fluffy doonas.

Despite Zell am See's plethora of surrounding mountains just begging to be climbed, day #2 had us slothing around the lake watching paragliding extraordinaires in death defying acrobatic plummets towards the water. As luck would have it, the town threw together a festival that night, (must've heard we were coming!). so the night ended with traditional fried gloop in pastries topped with sauerkraut amidst jazzy live bands and locals jiving in the streets.

By the way, Zell am See was a welcome change after Salzberg .... the home of boring old Mozart & even more riveting, 'The Sound of Music'. We were there for a day. It bucketed down the entire time. Nuff said.

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