All hail Hallstat! Wow...this place is special. A gorgeous lake, surrounded by alpine mountains, trimmed with perfect chalets and people on boats. It was like a dream. After parking our car and grabbing some lunch from the grocery store, we walked along the edge of the lake for about a mile until we found the perfect place for a picnic.
Yes, this place exists in real life. This was where we picnic'd...between the swings and the water, the girls could have played there all day.
This is the famous picturesque Evangelical Church of Hallstatt. We ate our lunch right there in the garden along the lake. On a side note: the Chinese loved this place so much that in 2012, they built a full-scale replica of the entire town in Huizhou, Guangdong province.
We decided to rent one of these awesome electric boats and ride around for an hour. To our girls utter delight, we even let them drive as long as they wanted. It was their favorite part of the entire day and I have to agree- it was magic. Lots of pictures below to document the occasion, because pictures speak louder than words on this one.
After leaving, we drove through parts of northern Austria and Germany (the Bavarian region of Tirol) to get to our next destination. I would like to have a moment of silence dedicated to this drive because it was the single most gorgeous drive I have ever been on...words, pictures, nothing could do this justice. The mountains went on forever, the churches with their huge steeples accented on the mountains were so so so stunning. It was my favorite part of our whole trip.
After grabbing dinner, some time at the park and finding our hotel in Pertisau, we settled in for the night on Lake Achensee in the Austrian Alps. The mountains are definitely our family's happy place. We woke up the next morning and took the Rofanbahn cable car to the top of the mountain. It was a beautiful, but slightly overcast day, so we set out for a hike right after disembarking. Not 5 minutes in, it started to pour rain! We hurried back to a little cabin cafe and dried off while sipping hot chocolate.
The coziest little cabin where we waited out the weather.
All of the sudden the rain cleared, the clouds parted and we set back on our way. We heard those lovely alpine cows ringing their bells, which I love so much. I wasn't sure if I'd ever get a chance to hear them again after our trip to Switzerland, so when I heard them again, I was so excited.
We hiked to the top of the nearest mountain, where there is an iron "eagle's nest" that provides a stunning view of all of the surrounding mountains, which stretch as far as the eye can see.
This trip cemented the idea that one day our family needs to live in the mountains!! Being out in nature, especially in the mountains, does something good for your soul. Everyone just got along- we all laughed, sang, and cheered each other on during our hike (the same thing, unfortunately, does not happen when we are closer to sea level).
These views. I just can't get enough of them.
This is the Eagle's Nest, where a friendly crow kept landing right by us. So cool.
On our way back down, we passed a big group of men sweating, panting and struggling with this hike. It definitely wasn't easy, but it made me so proud of how awesome my girls were getting up to the top. Tessa practically hopped up the mountain!
We came across this little clearing full of huge boulders- like a rock garden- and the girls loved climbing and hiding on them.
We are still working on the timing and facial expressions of our jumping pictures...haha! I love it.
Pertisau was a last-minute decision for us to stay at and we are so glad we found it. It was gorgeous and perfect for a short stay.