Where the Hills are Alive


  • Real Life
  • Saturday, 20 May 2017

The idyllic and picturesque market town of St Wolfgang in Salzkammergut lake district.

Salzburg

Salzburg is a quaint little town despite being the fourth-largest city in Austria. I made a pit stop there during my recent Eastern Europe travel although I was there not long ago.

During my previous trip I visited several popular tourist sites but missed out the beautiful lake district nearby. This time I planned to spend a whole day there.

The city is the birthplace of one of the world’s most prolific composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and gained its fame from the award-winning movie, “The Sound of Music” which featured many of its stunningly beautiful sites and scenery. 

Adding to its attractiveness is the Old Town of Salzburg or Altstadt. It is reckoned to be the biggest World Heritage Site in term of size. It has shopping streets, cathedrals, a fortress, a monastery and two big hills and a river that cuts through the city.

 

Amazing Auersperg

Impressed with the excellent hospitality and service of Hotel and Villa Auersperg the last time, I stayed there again. The boutique hotel with 32 cozy and tastefully furnished rooms is situated in a quiet part of the city within a few minutes’ walking distance from the Old Town. 

Since I have only two days here, I seek help from the courteous receptionist on directions to various places and venture to the Old Town. 

Passing by Mirabell Gardens I recall Maria and the von Trapp children singing Do Re Mi. Also on the eastern part of the old town are the shopping street of Linzergasse and Mozart-Wohnhaus (Mozart’s residence). 

The Old Town Hall, Mozart Geburtshaus (the famous composer’s birthplace) and many other heritage buildings are on the west of Salzach River. Here I notice most tourists walk in the same direction. My instinct tells me there must be a famous site or an event happening ahead. 

So I follow the crowd and come to Residenzplatz, the grand 16th century square with a beautiful fountain where Maria splashed water and sang I have confidence in me”. 

Lo and behold! It is a big Christmas market called Salzburger Christkindlmarkt with tens of stalls set up on the grounds sandwiched between three iconic sites: Residenzplatz, Salzburger Dom Cathedral and Salzburg Museum. 

It has its origin in the late 15th century and opens for 4 weeks every year and today is the first day of business. And I happen to be here - how fortunate! 

After milling around the stalls for an hour and dinning in a restaurant nearby, I returned to the hotel. The hot shower and the comfortable bed are the best combination for a restful slumber on a cold winter night. 

I rise early next morning to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel restaurant. The spread of locally-produced organic food is wide and the first thing I take is organic honey diluted with warm water. The ambience is delightful.

 

Picturesque, extraordinary views 

I hire a taxi for an excursion to the picturesque Salzkammergut lake district. Heading south-east out of the city, an amazing scenery of beautiful Alpine hills, valleys and lakes unfolds. 

An hour later I arrive at my destination, St Wolfgang, an idyllic and indescribably beautiful little market town on Wolfgangsee Lake. 

The place is filled with tourists as they make their way into a few short streets full of shops selling souvenirs, clothes, food and several beautiful motels. 

The locals are very courteous and invite me to taste their home-made produces like cheese, cookies and wines brewed with herbs and spices. I sip a spicy wine and it warms up my body. 

The best way to enjoy is to roam aimlessly and explore anything interesting. I end up at the most recognisable building, the Pilgrimage Church with its tall tower. 

Pushing the big and heavy wooden door I enter the sanctuary. There is a Gothic altarpiece painted by a famous 15th century Renaissance painter and sculptor as well as many paintings depicting biblical incidents in other parts of the building. 

After taking a light lunch I walk along the lakeside and come to the Cog-railway train station.

The one-hour ride up Schafberg Mountain is enjoyable as the view stretches further into the horizon.

The panoramic view from the peak is stunning. I can see four lakes and several villages amid rolling hills and fields. 

For now, the visit to St Wolfgang and Schafberg Mountain is very rewarding and satisfying. 

I have discovered another beautiful town called Hallstatt on another lake not far from St Wolfgang. That gives me a good reason to revisit Salzburg.

 

 

Real Life

 

Chermaine Poo is a chartered accountant turned actress, TV host, emcee and columnist. Now she juggles between motherhood and running her classic car restoration workshop, Restoration Performance Design. And because she doesn’t sleep, she writes this columns and a blog on www.chermainepoo.com. Follow her on Facebook.com/ChermainePoo, and Instagram.com/ChermainePoo or drop her an email at info@chermainepoo.com

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