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Hey. Let's Go To..Austria!

Oh, Austria..

Where to begin?!

So earlier this year I distinctly remember Sara showing me this amazing lakeside village that looked like it was pulled from a Bavarian fairytale book. Im taking about Hallstatt, Austria. If you look up Hallstatt on a map it almost looks unreachable. The first time I looked it up and searched AirBnB there were not many options to choose from. So when we finally decided to go we found this amazing cottage in the small town of St. Martin am Tennengebirge in-between Salzburg and Hallstatt. (link below where we stayed).

The cottage we stayed in had it all! It was a log cabin nestled in the foothills of the Alps. Big rooms, fully stocked kitchen, a playground (with trampoline) in the back yard and the world largest bunny. No joke. This thing was huge. It even had its own massive bunny compound to live in. The little village had a nice grocery store that we were able to stock up on the necessities for the trip.

We flew into Salzburg and immediately took to the old town. Salzburg is outstanding. Hohensalzburg Fortress overlooks the entire city from its dominating place on a mountain. Mirabell Palace and its gardens are something to see. We wondered the old cobblestone streets, tiny alleys, shops, and of course, beer gardens. We are suckers for heritage so we ended up getting able the most adorable lederhosen and Norah the cutest dirndl. Abel threw a fit in a store and wanted a recorder. So we caved in and got it. After a few agonizing seconds of him blowing in it loudly, a few nasty looks form nosy passersby, I was able to coax it out of his hand with a pretzel and somehow it was never seen again..

Back to the beer gardens. Im pretty sure Bavarians are known for a few things. Beer, sausages and pretzels. They do not disappoint. We decided to stop and have a drink at a great outdoor beer garden in called Sternbrau. We followed signs to this, went down a dark alley and it opened up into this amazing outdoor beer garden with places to eat, ice cream and a few different beer stands. Kids got ice cream, we got beer. I remember watching a Rick Steves video on Salzburg and he went to this place called Balkan Grill Walter that served authentic sausages. I had to find them. A quick Google search said it was 350 feet away from me. I was on my way. I found this little place tucked into an alley and it was operated out of a hole in the wall by two old ladies who were grilling up sausages quicker than you could order. You better know what you want or be prepared to be ignored. My goodness were they good.

We walked past where Mozart lived and got our touristy picture in front of it and made our way to the town center. They were setting up for a festival to start Oktoberfest. Kids rides, food and beer booths and all the stuff that makes festivals fun. The festival was during the weekend, so we made plans to return. Bellies full of sausages and pretzels we headed one last place a few iles down the road before we made our way home. One of Austria’s oldest breweries called Augustiner Brau. This place was amazing. You buy your mug, wash your mug in cold water, then they fill it up for you. The beer was amazing. They have food booths both inside and out. From traditional Austrian to chocolates, you cant go wrong. They also have a big beer garden with a playground for kids. I mean, beer for the parents and playground for there anything better. We finally get to the car to make out way to our cabin. It was just under an hour drive, but we were happy to grab showers and relax.

The next day we woke up early to head to Hallstatt. It was about 45 minutes away, but we didn’t even notice due to the amazing scenery. Mountains, streams, forests, fields, small village after small village till the road started to narrow and we found ourselves on a cliffside and a large lake to our right. We went through a large tunnel and when we came out of the other end we saw the amazing lake and village of Hallstatt. The amazing Instagram photos came to life right in front of our eyes. We pulled into a parking lot. Parked illegally (we didn’t find out till we left due to the ticket we got). We walked down some old stairs that led to narrow passageways into the main drag of Hallstatt. We walked through the medieval style streets with shops and cafes on both sides. Everywhere you walk in this town makes for an amazing picture.

The architecture and color of the buildings is fantastic. We walked through an old cathedral and grave yard. Made or way to the town center where the kids played in the fountain. We relaxed with a local craft beer. We found our way to a dock and dipped out feet into the water. The view was stunning from there as well. The kids threw food to swans and we just sat and admired the view for a good 45 minutes. We trekked on and found ourselves in a old woodworking / whiskey shop. We sampled the local flare and bought some handmade wood toys for the kids. We ate schnitzel and more sausages at this amazing lakeside restaurant and were suckered into buying proper stone beer mugs. We made two trips to Hallstatt during out stay and we would go back in a heartbeat.

You can’t go to Austria without taking a hike up the Sound of Music Trail in Werfen. It was a 20-minute drive from where we stayed.! You can drive up to the filming location of The Sound of Music, but we opted to hike because it was a beautiful day and there were activities to do along the way like playing chimes, Sound of Music facts, rest stops and a fresh spring to drink from. We strapped both kids to our ergos and made our way to the top. We stopped a few times to admire the view but the view once we got to the filming location does not even look real. We relaxed up there and got some amazing photos before making out way down. We totally recommend this! It was magical.

Since we are glutton for punishment, we decided to drive to The Eagles Nest in Obersalzberg near the town of Berchtesgaden, Germany. Atop this massive mountain sits Hitlers personal fortress. We are WWII buffs and have always wanted to see this. This was a 25 minute hike up stairs with kids strapped to our back and a 25 minute hike back down the stairs. Not easy but totally worth it for the view and history. This once massive luxurious fortress is now a museum and café. Once we got back down the stairs we then find out that there is an elevator that could have taken us straight up. Not just any elevator, a golden elevator.. Needless to say we slept well that night.

The next day we did something that we can’t recommend enough. We went to the Alpine Slides in Hallein. A short drive from our cabin. It’s a ski resort in the winter and alpine slides the rest of the year. You take a long ski lift up and it ends at a nice café with great food, loads of kids toys and good views. We were a bit scared on how the kids would react but once they we got going, they loved it! We went twice and they take a while to get all the way down. Also, they go super fast! We also tried to do a salt mine tour but little Norah was not old enough ☹

For our final day we went back to Old Town Salzburg to the festival that celebrated the start of Oktoberfest. This was awesome! We quickly realized that we were under dressed. Men, women and children were dressed in their finest Lederhosen and Dirndls. They take culture seriously here and it was awesome to witness. Tickets for rides were super expensive and we spent a small fortune keeping or kids entertained but it makes us happy to see them happy. The singing, dancing, food beer and general people watching made this day one to remember!

Overall, Austria and I think Bavaria in general is like no place on earth and it shows. The people have a thirst for live and all that it has to offer. The food is filling, the air is clean and the scenery is breathtaking. It’s a way a life I wish was born into. They live first and work second. One of the happiest places we have ever seen.

Here is a quick list of everything we did!

Where we stayed:

Alpine Slides:

Eagles Nest:

Augustiner bräu:

Sound of Music Trail:

Eat here in Hallstatt:

Best sausage in Austria: