Monday, October 31, 2005

High Above Hallstatt

One of the benefits of living in a Catholic country is that you get a LOT of national holidays, and not just on Monday either! (Did you know that in Ireland they get the day off work for Hallowe'en??) In the last week there have been 3 national holidays, 2 of which I have been able to take off work, and most of the days in between are basically holidays because no one comes into the office. Brilliant! However, not everything is great in Catholic countries - Sunday's are strictly days of rest, and in Linz very little is open; only a few restaurants and petrol stations. But I digress - the point of this post is to tell you how great the village of Hallstatt is. During the national holiday on Wednesday (Austria's "Independence Day"), I travelled to an area near Salzburg called the Salzkammergut ("The Salt Commodity Chamber") where there are loads of mountains and generally beautiful scenery. Hallstatt is the centrepiece of the region - a small village sandwiched between a huge lake and mountains made out of 85% salt (Jon wonders; why they don't dissolve when it rains?). Following this are a lot of pictures - click on them to see full size; it's worth it!

(Hallstatt: salty mountains also pictured)

(The village square)

As we climbed up the side of the hill overlooking the village, the view got better and better. That was a LONG walk... but it was well worth it. There was a beautifully kept cemetary overlooking the lake. Apparently because it is such a popular cemetary, the bodies are exhumed every 12 years to make way for new people. The old bones are displayed in a charnel house - I took some pictures, but looking at them makes me feel uneasy. I have no right to show people's remains to others.

(if it's possible to have a favourite cemetary, this one is mine)

Somehow, I managed to take 360 pictures in one day. I wish I could show them all here. The ascent continues...

(Pagoda halfway up)

(More lake/church/mountain action)

Our trek up unnecessarily windy paths to the top of the hill was tiring, but well worth it for the view. If Brucey were here, he'd probably call it a "bobby-dazzler" of a view.

(Looking down on the tiny Hallstattians, I inherited a messiah complex. This soon evaporated when I realised I'd put my jumper on the wrong way round that morning)

This may very well be the place that I retire to. As long as I don't have to wear lederhosen like these chaps...

(Those are some fiiine lederhosen)


At 8:42 am GMT, Blogger thisguysplace said...

stunning pictures mate.
are they all up at flickr?

At 9:22 am GMT, Blogger Jon said...

Not yet - I've been taking too many pictures recently and I've reached my upload limit for the month... damn...
Soon though :-)

At 6:33 pm GMT, Blogger Jon said...

Pictures now up on flickr, hooray! Although the hallstatt pics alone have gotten rid of my limit for the next month already...

At 7:12 pm GMT, Anonymous Jay said...

Godamnit, I had typed this Lonnnng ass comment today and it didnt get posted up! (either that or I didnt click on the post button and closed the window - bleugh!)

Anyways, it went something like this: There's so mcuh comment on this entry, I dont even know where to begin...

Firstly, these pictures are amazing!! I sense that you have been keeping this photographic talent as a secret from me?! Tsk Tsk, I do not approve of the LIES but nevertheless, very impressed (shall organize to have your exhibition when owner of my own venue/gallery/shop in the near future).

Secondly, I dont know who the ruddy devil told you about Halloween being a day off in Ireland but jeez wheez, it might not be entirely true you know...!

Thirdly, 360 pictures?? A teeny bit excessive, I say? I mean, c'mon man - Im oriental and even I dont take 360 pictures in one day (despite the fact that its embedded in our genetic code)!

Lastly, while there's nothing wrong with having a favorite cemetry (mine's this one in Savannah - its in the movie, "midnight garden of good and evil"), its oh-so-wrong to have bodies exumed every 12 years to make way for the fresh new dead 'uns, no? Then having dead bodies on display - could such disturbing things happen in a nice, cutesy village like that?!


At 7:48 pm GMT, Blogger Jon said...

Thanks Jay! I'm just waiting for someone to sponsor me with a full flickr account... :-P

If you ever get to go Hallstatt (which you SHOULD) you'll want to take 360 photos too - maybe it was good that the weather wasn't that great when I went - if it was summer I think my camera would be slightly overwork and probably go on strike!

If I took that many in a small village, how many will I take when I go to Vienna and Prague next month??

Also, when you set up your new venue, can I have a bar named after me? Preferably "Bar Van Tango" or "The Emperor's New Bar", something like that :-)


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