Armed with our life lesson learned from our previous visit to Austria, we purchased our Austrian autobahn vignette while in Slovenia and proceeded gingerly along the autobahn. We decided to spend the night in Hallstatt, Austria -being halfway to Munich where we needed to drop off the car and catch our flight – and very beautiful from what we had heard. We made it there only after one small detour 🙂 in mid-afternoon with a steady rain. We then started our search for an accommodation. 3 hours later (almost 8 pm), stressed out, hungry, and grumpy, we still had no zimmer! We learned about an hour into our search that there was some kind of world heritage convention going on in town, and the likelihood of finding a room was very small. By now, it was dark, and the next town was quite a ways backtracking, so we were determined to find something, or spend the night in our cushy Benz. The very last street near town we had not explored finally paid off. Sylvie knocked on the door of a house showing “zimmer frei” and an elderly man spoke something in German and went to get his wife. She must have taken pity on us because she gave us a key and told us to come back in 30 minutes to give her time to clean a room. Sylvie had seen the room and it indeed needed major cleaning, but we weren’t about to get picky! The couple turned out to be very charming, using their translation book to communicate with us, and served us a delicious breakfast in the morning. They seemed very eager to make us happy. We loved Austria again! That evening we went to a small restaurant, which was also quite a search in itself due to the town being full, with locals wearing typical hats, smoking cigarettes, the proprietor doing schnapps shots with clients, and a big friendly dog roaming around the tables.
After eating too much breakfast (by now we both put on at least 10 pounds), we strolled around town, rented an electric boat, and toured around the lake with its many swans.
By early afternoon, we needed to get going to Erding (a town just outside of Munich), but not without a good ol’ cow crossing bringing us to screeching halt!
Not wanting to repeat some of the zimmer-hunting experiences, we had reserved a B&B for the night before we were to fly out of Germany. The good thing about booking the out-of-the-way B&Bs is that they are likely to be in the quiet countryside in a nice setting. The bad thing about some of those same B&Bs is that they can be hard to find. Thank god for the map app on our iPad which saved us this time! (not always the case). The old man who checked us in didn’t speak a word of English, but that didn’t stop him from running through his checklist. We listened politely and nodded our heads, but got the gist of it. The premises were incredible and modern, and even had its own resident peacock. Our room was the size of a large apartment, and the breakfast the best we’ve had in Europe. Germany redeemed itself food-wise in our eyes (we also had an excellent dinner in Erding the night before)! Yes, it’s all about food anymore. We’re just getting old!