Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My first post as a Travelogue - Trip to Hallstatt - Top places to Visit before you become immovable

This is one of the best trips I have made in recent times, since being in Europe for more than six months now I have made so many trips with less pages to stamp on my passport due to my Schengen Visa. :) Why this trip has been so special? First it was my wife's birthday and the next is that I have been visiting loads of historical places, palaces, bridges and artificial sites other than beaches but never have I seen men being loved, cared, empowered by natures wealth. This was a surprise trip for both me and my wife, I didnt plan for long but was lured to this place by one of my managers 3 or 4 months ago. I was also informed that there will be a lot of Chinese people there and seems like there is a replica even in China, see video below.

I did some research on how to go there and the places to visit, where to stay. The basic things to do before a travel and always wanted that surprise element in my trips to find and try new things, experiences. Since I stay in Vienna now and been traveling in almost all the available transportation, I knew the best way to get there was the train. We took the WESTBAHN train from WIEN (Vienna) Westbahnhof (West Railway Station) and got down at Attnang-Pucheim and then took the REX RE (Regional Bahn) train to Hallstatt. I didnt know that after getting down I have to take a boat to the other side of the banks to reach Hallstatt, so there goes my first surprise element. One of the best hotels to stay there was the heritage hotel and the costliest one too, we skipped that and stayed at a Bed & Breakfast called Gasthof Bergfried which was charging per person per night and was running full. I will post the reviews of the stay later, which in itself would make this post even more boring.

My first impressions were not that great, as I was expecting way too much after looking at the online pictures of the lake. But I wasn't let down, the lake actually reacts according to the weather and reflects the surroundings. By the end of third day, I had seen a rainy day, foggy day, cloudy day and even nights with and without lights.

We walked along the bay with so much of enthusiasm searching for our stay with lots of starers looking onto us, which usually happens in a place where there are huge crowd of white skin, brown haired people and only two brown skinned, black haired people walking around with the sneakers on and I will never complain about my chinese brothers & sisters as they were busy with there cameras to click at each and every living and non living thing which was of so much of importance in Hallstatt (Pun intended there).

We walked past the oldest markt (market) in town and also a statue which was actually depicting the salt miner carrying a basket around digging salt.


One of the most exciting things we did next was to visit the Charnel House (Beinhaus), the house of skulls and bones. This was a place filled with lots of skulls which were unearthed as there was no place to bury more dead bodies, so it was simple they dug the skulls and bones out and then buried the new dead ones. The unearthed bones were stacked in a small room and has a small fee to go inside the room. Below here is an excerpt from one of the Hallstatt tour sites.

The Beinhaus (bone house) in Hallstatt dates back to twelve century AC. There are over 1200 skulls in the charnel, of them 610 have been painted in flowery designs, they are neatly stacked in rows along with next of kin and have the date of decease written on them. Since the cemetery is so small without the possibility to expand and due to the fact that cremations were in former days forbidden there was just not enough space. The graves were opened 10 - 15 years later and the skulls were removed along sometimes with other bones. The skull was cleaned and exposed to the sun and moon light for weeks until they were bleached ivory white. As one would decorate a grave with flowers the skulls were painted symbolically with a crown of flowers. This tradition began in 1720 AD. The last skull to go into the Beinhaus (Bone house) was in 1995. It is directly beside the cross. The woman died 1983; it was her last request to be stored in the Beinhaus (Bone house).


I will post some more places that we visited during our Hallstatt trip in the next coming posts.

No comments: