As I efficiently whipped up a delectable dinner complete with a Syrian pumpkinseed oil salad, Chicken Cream pasta & Halloumi Chicken Pitas, I multitasked to get everything ready to go for our long weekend getaway & what would be my solo Switzerland trip. I packed as smart as I could muster as I would be gone for one week & wanted to have a light backpack to trek around with. Once Phil arrived at my place, we took some time to eat and then headed to Westbahnhof to catch our train to Bad Aussee. It was a beautiful ride & Phil’s aunt & uncle were waiting for us at the Bad Aussee Bahnhof to pick us up. A few minutes later, we arrived at their beautiful 4 story villa high up in the hills. After climbing a few flights of stairs to the top floor, we were shown to our room and then had some coffee & light sandwiches while chatting before calling it a night.
Day 2: Hallstatt
Since Hallstatt is located only 15 minutes by rail from Bad Aussee, it was really quick to get to-even though it looks quite different! After departing the local line train, we walked downhill to catch the boat across the Hallstattersee to the adorable town of Hallstatt. As soon as we stepped onto the boat, I could not stop marveling at the beautiful place in front of my eyes. A sparkling lake, cute houses lining the edge, high alps all around, gorgeous restaurants by the water, etc. Once we snapped a few photos, we were off to explore the quaint village town. Signs for the Salt mine were plastered all over the place with arrows pointing in the direction of the attraction. Since Hallstatt is really compact, we had enough time to visit the salt mine, sightsee & eat. The salt mine was a lot of fun-we got to get dressed up in silly protective clothing outfits & walk, slide and explore the 8 degree celsius salt mine. We were in a very laughing mood so we took a ton of pictures, recorded some funny videos & enjoyed it very much. See pictures below!
We ate at a place called Simony’s and it was decent but not my favorite. I bought a pink fanny pack, a cuckoo clock magnet for my mom & a postcard for my future postcard coffee table project of all the places I’ve been. After we ate, we lounged in chairs by the water & relaxed before we walked around narrow passages & boarding the boat back to catch the train. When we arrived back at the villa in Bad Aussee, we were presented with venison and knockl dumplings homemade by Gabor. Wish I would have taken pictures, it was amazing! Then it was time for the sauna (yes, they have one on the ground floor!) and attempting to go in the pool. The pool was very neat because it was one that had a powerful jet where you could swim for miles if you did so choose! After showering, we fell asleep ridiculously early from being exhausted from the day. 8pm was the earliest I have fell asleep in a while.
Day 3: Altausee
Altausee is located right next to Bad Aussee & after a filling breakfast complete with fresh pressed Italian coffee, Elisabeth & Gabor set us up with their road bikes to bike out to the lake. Once arriving at the lake, we had to get off the bikes and push them since the hiking trail was so narrow. I noticed after about a half hour that Austrians actually do wear dirndls & lederhosen on a daily basis; which was cool. After docking our bikes, we hiked around the lake & after an hour, Phil ran ahead and I misunderstood why he did. I had mentioned that we should run part of the lake to get some more exercise but he never said when & I assumed he had to use the restroom. After standing on the close bridge waiting patiently for around a half hour & trying to contact him via mobile phone, I was getting worried. Like clockwork, ten minutes later he called my phone and asked me where I was. He told me that he was already at the bikes on the other side of the lake and thought that I was running behind him. A little discerned, I ran the way back to the bikes and met him at the seat he had saved for me at the restaurant. Little did I know we were only getting a snack here and not lunch. No big deal-I was mostly thirsty anyway and the strudels looked amazing. I ordered a large glass of water and Himbeer strudel before we took off again on the bikes towards Ramsen, where Phil wanted to bike to. After biking uphill for almost an hour, Phil turned to me and gingerly asked if we should go back. We had no idea how far it was, what it was & it was a random place he picked on the map to go to. Famished & exhausted, we turned around back to Altausee to the lake. Fast forward to sitting at the Cafe Strand overlooking the water, we were shot down for inquiring about lunch-they were not serving it anymore. We grabbed beverages then headed back towards Bad Aussee to find some lunch. We ended up at Berndl’s which was very good. Shortly after arriving back at the villa, we had just an hour till dinner-oh boy, this would be a challenge! I did have to give some of my portions away to Phil so that I wouldn’t be stuffed too full. We had veal cutlets, spring green beans & lots of fresh herb kartoffel. We were past the exhaustion point from all the biking, hiking and running that it was nice to read and relax while Phil studied for an exam that he aced on Tuesday.
Day 4: Departure Day
Since I was headed to Switzerland and Phil had to return to Vienna, we had to rise early for breakfast around 5:30am and be out the door to the Bahnhof at 6:30am. It was an early morning and I was feeling the exhaustion just after we arrived off our train in Bad Ischl and boarded our Post bus to Salzburg. We traveled almost 2.5 hours to Salzburg just in time to get a bite to eat, Phil to escort me to my Zurich departure platform, say goodbye & then Phil to wait for his train back to Vienna. I was a little teary and nervous about traveling 8 hours by train by myself but I knew it would be fine and help my personal growth as well. Once aboard the train, all was well & I basically napped, snacked & read about European destinations all the way to Zurich where I switched to Bern then to Interlaken. Once in Interlaken, it was a piece of cake to find my hostel, Balmers Herberge, take a shower, grab a bite (risotto cakes expensive!!!) to eat and some pear cider to drink. Afterwards, I phoned Phil & fell fast asleep after. Read my next post for my adventurous week in Interlaken 🙂