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Austria // Breweries, Lakes & The Sound of Music

14 Aug 2016
Anyone who follows my Instagram will know that I've been away for the past two weeks and making sure that every man and his dog knows about it. I haven't had the chance to travel much so as you can imagine, I was very, very excited about seeing two new countries. A lot of people asked me why we picked Austria and Slovenia, with a kind of 'I'm confused, why wouldn't you go somewhere more exotic' look in their eyes and the truth of the matter is that I bang on about watersports to anyone that'll listen (even though I'm rubbish at most of them) and the Soca Valley of Slovenia is supposedly the 'outdoor playground of Europe', or something like that. Also, how do people afford flights to Bali in peak season? HOW?

We started off in Salzburg before heading on over to Bled, Bovec and finally Ljubljana in Slovenia, staying in a mixture of Airbnbs and hostels. I genuinely enjoyed being in both accommodation types, but while it's great to get the social aspect of a hostel, it's so, so blissful to have a room for just you and a friend. I also personally believe that snorers should be put in rooms with other snorers, but I am also aware that this is a pretty unrealistic task for hostels.

As Austria is the home of The Sound of Music, we also managed to watch the whole 3 hour film in the hostel one night. I loved the first 2 hours but then my concentration disappeared and so did all my tolerance for a drunk English girl in the hostel lounge who sang every lyric of every song with incredible passion for the whole duration of the film.

Oh and, every single person we met (even Americans who don't even live in Europe) questioned us on Brexit, which was annoying but to be expected. It was usually then followed by a good 10-minute rant about life and laughing about how stupid we all are.

The best views of the city are definitely from the castle area. You don't have to actually go inside but if you trek it up the hill and walk around a bit then you'll easily get to see Salzburg like this (it's seriously worth the trek!) 

I loved the charming little arcades that are dotted around the old town, although they were all full of very expensive jewelry shops they're great for window shopping. The old town in general was fantastic and reminded me so much of Montpellier in France. There were so many cafes and restaurants about (albeit very pricey) so we tried our best to sample as many as possible before we left.

Park Mirabell is absolutely stunning, and the gardens are chockablock with benches you can sit on to eat your lunch. Seriously worth a visit, especially when the weather's good!

On Day 3 we woke up to the sound of torrential rain but went along with plans to go on Salzburg's 'Lakes and Mountains Tour' anyway. The first hour of the journey was spent listening to a very soothing lady telling us about the area while looking out the windows and imagining what the sights would be like if they weren't completely concealed by the rain. We passed Red Bull Headquarters which was crazy, and I swear I've never seen offices so beautifully designed before! 

Our first chosen stop was St. Gilgen Wolfgangsee, which I would 100% recommend for a half day trip. It's pretty small but the views out onto the lake are stunning and the water has apparently won an award for its cleanliness.

We had a daily coffee break because Austria does a mean coffee and this was a solid week before we ran out of funds (I'm not even going to admit how much over budget I was by the end of the holiday). Our favourite place was hidden away in St. Gilgen and was probably in my top 10 cutest cafes of all time! My cappuccino was an extortionate 3,50€ but well worth it for such an adorable place.

We left St.Gilgen, hopped back on the bus and headed on over to Mondsee. By this point, the weather had dramatically changed and we spent the rest of the afternoon sunbathing and swimming in the glorious Mondsee lake.

Other highlights of Salzburg were:

Augustiner Brewery
Apple Strudel
Trying out the Weiner Schnitzel
Massive bag of Pom Bears for 1,99

One thing I will say is that Salzburg is definitely doable in a day or two, depending on how quickly you get around. There's no point in taking public transport in the city in my opinion as all sights are in walking distance of each other.

Next up will be Lake Bled, Slovenia. 

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Please feel free to leave a comment, it really makes my day! Imogen x