We were fortunate to have our own personal tour guides in Europe once again. This time it was Jürgen and Eva taking us around the Austrian Countryside!
We began the day with a drive to the area where both Jürgen and Eva grew up, Salzkammergut. We went to the towns of Gmunden and Hallstatt. In Gmunden we saw the Alps (even the part with the "Sleeping Greek Lady", a place where the profile of the tops of the mountains looks like a sleeping Greek lady) from many different directions, and spent time by the lake in an old town that is known for its ceramics. We had lunch at Schloss Orth, which is a very old castle on an island in the middle of a lake. There Keith got pumpkin soup (which was VERY yummy) that seems to be popular here.
We then headed for Hallstatt where we walked through a town on the side of the mountain that reminded me of Cinque Terre, except that it was on a lake rather than on the sea. We hiked up and down the roads through the city to see the local houses and churches. One of the churches had a very unique cemetery that has the tradition of digging up the "long bones" and the skulls of the burried after they have been burried for 10 years (for space reasons). Then at that point, the skulls and long bones are put into a cave-like room called "beinhaus" (bone house) and the skulls are painted with the names of the dead person and many are adorned with paintings of flowers or other art (see picture below).
We then enjoyed a nice outdoor meal in Hallstatt where I FINALLY got to have Apple Strudel... Mmmmmmmmmmm!!!! Then on the drive back to Linz, we stopped up on a mountainside to view the city at night and to look at the stars. Wow... I don´t think I´ve ever been anywhere that I´ve seen so many stars at one time and so clearly! It was an amazing sight, and a wonderful day with our expert tour-guides, Jürgen and Eva!
Us at Schloss Orth and the Beinhaus:
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