Friday, August 21, 2015

Hallstat, Salzkammergut, Austria

Scott took this out the window of our bus along the way
It's was quite a job the first few mornings to get our buses loaded up and everyone accounted for. Today we took a trip through the beautiful lakes region, Salzkammergut, to the village of Hallstat. This charming village reminded Scott and I of Cloverly in Devon and the Cinque Terre in Italy. It's so pretty and iconic that it's been copied in China! Known for it's production of salt, it dates back to the prehistoric times and gave it's name to the Hallstatt culture, linked to Celtic and pre Illyrian peoples in the Early Iron Age c.800-450 BC. Some of the earliest archaeological evidence of the Celts was found in Hallstatt. Human remains have been found dating back to 5500 BC.
The "streets" in the town were really sidewalks

Looking down the lake - the town is on the left
Our local guide - quite a character
The town is built on terraces rising from the lake.
And flowers are everywhere
And small shrines
The view from the walkway down the lake
Our group gathers to hear the guide
The church where the Chorus sang in Hallstat
Our funny guide took us through the upper village first, taking in the Catholic Church and graveyards and then the Protestant church where the chorus sang and Rip played the organ. We had an hour of free time to have lunch (our "breakfast" sandwiches), see the shops and take photos. Then we were off in the bus to our hotel in Linz, the Courtyard by Marriott, another modern and very comfortable place just out of the old center. After a brief rest and an excellent buffet dinner, we were off again in our buses for the pilgrimage church of Postlingberg, high on a hill overlooking the city. It was a steep road up occasionally crossing the little tram that climbs up from the city center. It was another very steep set of stairs and paths before we finally reached the church and a great view of the city.
This was the Chorus' second complete concert and they were wonderful. Afterwards a neighbor came up and said how much she had enjoyed it. She wished the promotion had been better so that more people would have known about it. I'm sure the tour operators tried but there is so much going on in Austria during the summer that it's very competitive.
The inside of the Catholic church we just visited with 2 alter pieces

A good view of the levels of sidewalks
You don't have much of a backyard here
And your front stairs are steep
Traditionally after 10 years the bodies are exhumed and put in a ossury
Another view of the cemetery
The front of the Catholic Church
Rip and his mother
The town square with the center fountain

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