We hiked in a beautiful rain free, partly sunny day. We started the day with yet another scrumptious breakfast. We had arrived on Sunday evening, and the place was deserted – we had to let ourselves into our rooms. So we were not quite sure whether breakfast would even be served. But the hotel was well populated when we came down – complete with 3 Austrians having their breakfast beer in the bar lobby. Although Michael & I didn’t partake, there were custom prepared bacon and egg options. There was even a champagne option with your orange juice. We all packed a bit of fruit and/or bun with meat and cheese for our lunch. I am quite certain that one of the waitresses spotted me however and I don’t think she was too pleased. She didn’t say a word, but kept a close eye on me. I’m still feeling guilty!
We started the day by retracing our steps back to Bad Aussee – although this time we all traveled together and we took the riverside route the girls had found. We hiked along the path which ran between the River Ischl and the back yards of many lovely homes with manicured plants and odd chicken coops and more horses. The river had many sets of rapids, and there were fish ladders for the spawning trout along side the damns.
Past Bad Aussee we encountered a section of the trail which was closed due to bridge reconstruction. We were directed to hike up to the main road for 2 km and then follow the bike trail to come past the construction. Our attempt to follow an alternate trail which appeared on our trail map apps failed when an older couple caught us and wouldn’t let us pass on their private land. So we took the longer route without any further issues. At the end of the detour was a rustic riverside stop. Unfortunately it is the end of the season and it has closed during the construction, but we stopped and had our makeshift lunch.
The walk for the rest of the day was still beautiful with breathtaking cliffs along the river and then onto Lake Hallstatt. The recent rains filled the mountainside waterfalls and rivulets everywhere and the snow peaked mountains in the distance enhanced the views. We came to Obertraun where the River Ischl meets Lake Hallstatt and there were more densely space lovely homes and boat houses along the shore. The lake was again the unique grayish colour here and clear enough to see to the bottom.
At the very end of this long day of trekking (over 22km), we took the ferry across to the Unesco site of Hallstatt. Our hotel met us dockside at this beautiful town where the houses are built into the hillside. As Michael had warned us, it was overrun with tourists. The Chinese especially love it as it is the real-life version of the town which has been replicated in China. Unfortunately the town has become over run with kitschy tourist stands from end to end (think Niagara Falls). I did splurge and buy some scented bath salts for a nice soak in the tub – I went with Sisi’s (the wife of emperor Franz Joseph) favourite blend of roses and lavender.
Dan & Suz were on dinner duty and they wandered the town and also up the hill to the church overlooking town. Michael went wandering to photo and I caught up with the other ladies who had gone out for a wine. After 3 or 4 failed attempts at getting served, we gave up and headed back to our hotel where a wonderful waiter from Croatia served us and even rustled up some grilled fresh bread with olive oil despite the kitchen being closed. He spoke many languages; English fluently and he had learnt German in just 3 months. He left Croatia due to extensive Mafia type extortion and taxes. So he no longer works in IT – he is now a waiter but much happier.
After another fine dinner, we all decided to pack it in a bit early. Tomorrow is our last day of trekking, and this was our last new town as we return to Fuschl am See tomorrow.