Our next destination was another one that completely took me by surprise. Hallstatt, a village on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region, was not a place I had ever heard of. We took a train from Vienna, and I was sure we’d be headed to Salzburg, somewhere I had hinted to Bridgette previously about wanting to go. But much to my surprise, we did not get off at Salzburg station. We got off in some remote location, where we transferred onto a boat. When I first laid eyes on Hallstatt, I thought we were entering a fairytale….
Hallstatt is the kind of place I thought only existed in storybooks. It was picturesque no matter where I looked. Buildings were draped with lovely vines and flowers, we were surrounded by a glistening lake, and butterflies circled around us. I was literally speechless with delight, just trying to take it all in.
We ended up staying in Hallstatt for 3 nights, and it was very relaxing and peaceful. The village is small, but filled with cute shops and restaurants which we enjoyed strolling through each day. We took the funicular up to the famous 7,000 year old salt mine and learned all about its fascinating history. We had an afternoon picnic by the lake, where we delighted in a leisurely afternoon reading and chatting while indulging in the most delicious cream puff rolls ever. We spent time praying inside the town’s church, lighting candles for those that we prayed for. We watercolored, inspired by the idyllic scenery all around us. We had dinner in bed one night while watching anime together. One of my favorite memory was a night where we ventured out to town for a late dinner, only to find the entire town shut down by 9pm! There was nowhere to get food, so we went back to our Airbnb and found some airplane snacks that we had in our backpacks.
Another favorite memory from Hallstatt was an afternoon when Bridgette and I were enjoying a lovely lunch at a restaurant right on the lake. I had been praying about a challenge that I was going through, and God sent a butterfly to remind me that hope lies in knowing that He is still in control. The butterfly landed on my hand even as I was eating, which never happens! And, it remained on my hand for the longest time. It brought me so much hope in that very moment as I heard God reminding me to trust in Him.
Thinking back to the entire trip now, I would probably say that Hallstatt was one of my favorite stops. I hear it’s even more beautiful in the snow-covered winter, so I do hope to be back one day!