Europe Day 4 (Hallstatt – Munich): Amazing Obertraun and Old Town Hallstatt

We wake up this morning to a fresh winter bliss. Snow is everywhere and the weather is so nice. We open the back glass door and take numerous pictures of us playing with the snow. The boys take off their clothes and walk bare feet in the snow, showing off their guns. Mona and I put on our cutest outfit and accessories and pose in the snow too.

Coming from a tropical country, being in the snow brought a lot of amazement in me. I know I have had snowy winter in the past but nothing compared to this place. Not only the cold breezy weather and the all-white snow, the mountain and lake view was just mesmerizing. This view reminded me of when I was a little kid. My parents used to have this calendar with scenic photos of different seasons overseas and I vividly remember how I dream to visit these places one day. Man, what a dream come true.

But now comes the bad news. We did not know that this place is such a beauty and we booked this AirBnB for only one night. Plus, when we arrived it was already dark and we did not see anything. Our plan was to just spend one night in this place then move on to Munich, Germany the next day. Jacky and I promised to ourselves that we would visit this place again in the future. Moreover, we found out that this place is connected to a ski resort – our favorite thing! God bless you, Obertraun!

In the afternoon, we went to this little place called the Salzburg Viewing Point. It’s supposed to be like a skywalk platform off the cliff where you can see magnificent view of Salzburg mountains and lake. Sadly, the place was closed when we reached there (they don’t open in winter). If they had been open, the view would look like this photo from wephilistines.com. Since it’s closed, we just bought hot chocolate from the vending machine and used their restrooms. hallstatt-viewing-platform

Fun fact: most of the toilets in Salzburg have a security door where you need to either get the key/passcode from the staff or you need to pay a certain amount of money to open it. So, prepare your coins!

Moving on, our next destination is the old town Hallstatt. We drove pass by the entrance but we could not find any parking space. The officer then told us that the parking space close to the old town is restricted to 30 minutes tops. There was another parking lot somewhere along the way which was about 10 minutes walk. So after taking a few photos by the entrance, Jacky and I drove the car to the parking lot and came back walking.

Before entering, we asked a tourist information center for a restaurant to have our lunch. The staff was friendly and she gave us a few options. We decided on the one with the best view. It’s a restaurant in a hotel called Seehotel Grüner Baum and it beautifully stands by the lake facing the mountains.

On our way to the restaurant, we walked pass many marvelous shops. They are small and old fashioned but decorated nicely and still Christmas-y. They sell many things from china plates, scarfs, hats, alcohol and other souvenirs. We entered one of the bigger shops where they sell a lot of different things and we got souvenirs for our family and friends back home. I got my brother some tiny bottles of Austrian liquor.

There was only one pathway going uphill and we finally reached the restaurant. It looks kind of small for a hotel and the front did not impress me that well. But, well oh well, once we got inside, everything’s changed. The restaurant was packed with tourists and busy waiters and waitresses. For the back of the wall was huge huge windows spanning from one end to another. They were showcasing the nature’s charm of blue and white snowy mountains and lake. This place is totally a romantic place if you can get the seats by the window.

We sat down not far from the window and immediately order our food. They have mostly steaks with soups and we ordered what they recommended. We took turns going to the toilet (because it’s tricky here in winter – we need to drink a lot so our skin is not dry and the cold weather forces us to pee so often). Ah maybe this is why most of the toilets here are well guarded.

First came the soups which were delicious, they were creamy and rich in flavor. Then the steak was also spectacular. This place has by far the most delicious food I had in Europe. Jacky ordered roasted chicken and it was great too. Although, the prices were more on the high side, but it was totally worth the money and the uphill walk.

I just can’t wait for my next visit to this place hopefully somewhere in the fall so it’s not so cold but we can already play ski. Beside, then we can also visit the viewing point that we missed in this trip.

Our stop in Hallstat was far too quick. We continued our road trip to Munich just lunch. We set our Google Map GPS and hit the road. Because it’s still in the afternoon, now we could enjoy the view from the car. Our left and right was shielded with high mountains with snowy pine trees and when the sun almost set, the sky was bursted with a tiny streak of orange. The sky soon changed to dark blue and night enveloped us once again on the road.

When we reached Munich, we had a hard time finding a restaurant that’s still open until we found Yuki Hana Japanese restaurant. Once we parked our car, we found out that this restaurant is so tiny and could only seat so many people. We had to queue with other people OUTSIDE the restaurant without heater – in the cold cold winter night. It was one of my coldest temperatures I have to experience especially in an empty stomach and not enough layers. We waited for about half an hour before seating. Luckily the food was worth the wait.

Continuing our journey, we need to find our AirBnB staying place and it turned out to be on the outskirt of the city. The neighborhood was dark with only dim yellow street lights. When we got there, the host did not show up. We called and called and left messages and no answer. We were desperate and cold when we found a light from neighboring house. We found some guy and asked him about our host. He helped us call her and she told him that she’s caught in a traffic and would be home as soon as possible.

He actually told us too that the rooms for us were usually not locked. Our rooms apparently were on the third floor through an outside spiraling stairs. Worst nightmare. In the middle of the night with cold winter wind blowing, we needed to take our 10 luggages upstairs. By we I mean Jacky and I and Jacky’s sister’s fiancé because the rest were just too tired I guess.

We were still a little bit chilly even inside the house because the heating system was central and we still had not met with our host who were now almost 2 hours late. We did not know how to adjust the temperature and although there were some portable heaters in the house, only 2 work and they’re for Jacky’s parents and Jacky’s sister’s room. After we took shower and ready to sleep, the host showed up and greeted us. Though, she seems lovely, I hate to say that I was deeply disappointed with her treatment.

I will find the link to this AirBnB – I know it’s on Jacky’s account and I don’t know his password.

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