My day of rest, for real

Trip Start Aug 16, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Where I stayed
Brauhaus Lobisser

Flag of Austria  , Upper Austria,
Friday, September 11, 2009

So today I was really, truly sick of being a tourist. I never thought it would happen, but I guess after almost 4 weeks I finally got burned out. I didn't feel like doing anything at all. But I had to take a 4.5 hour train ride to Hallstatt in the morning.

Yesterday I stopped by an English bookstore in Vienna and bought a book, because I was already thinking about doing nothing today. So I spent a lot of the train ride reading (it was a book called "City of Bones", in the same vein as the Twilight books). I actually had to transfer trains for the first time, and I was a little worried because there was only 12 minutes between connections. The train I took from Vienna went directly west towards Salzburg, but I had to get off in Attnang-Puchhein to catch a train south to Hallstatt.

When I got to Attnang-Puchhein it was a very small station. I went to check the departure board to see what track my connecting train was on, and it was the track directly opposite where I got off. Except that the display board for that track was displaying a destination of Vienna, and I think it said something underneath about it being 10 minutes late (in German, of course). A few minutes later I heard an announcement in German and all I could understand was “regional express.” I knew that was probably referring to my train, and I assumed they were announcing a track change for the train. The train to Vienna had just arrived and I didn’t think there was time for my train to arrive at the same platform. So I went back to check the departure board, and it did indeed show a track number change for my train.

I remember reading in Rick Steves guidebook about watching out for track number changes, and just watching if people all of a sudden ran to another platform. But I was pretty much able to figure it out on my own, so I was very proud of myself.

The train ride down to Hallstatt became much more scenic. Prior to that, the countryside had been fairly flat and uninteresting. But as soon as we headed south, we crossed a couple of rivers and headed into some real mountains! We went along the side of a lake with some massive mountains jutting out of the other side and I was quite excited. This was the first time I’d seen real mountains since leaving home.

When we finally got to Hallstatt, it was just as Rick Steves described it. It’s a little town on the side of a large lake, surrounded on all sides by towering mountains. It was cloudy and very cool, but the lake was very calm and black. It was quite beautiful. The train station for Hallstatt was actually on the other side of the lake from the town. I had to take a boat over to the city itself.

When I got to Hallstatt (about 1 pm), I was feeling very exhausted and didn’t feel like doing anything. So I just checked into my first private room since Orvieto about two weeks ago. I actually passed some beautiful buildings on the way there, but I didn’t even care. I just thought, “Oh that looks cool. Maybe I’ll come back here later.”

It was nice to actually have some privacy. Most hostels really aren’t bad to stay in; I’ve quite enjoyed a few of them. But you don’t really have any privacy. You’re always around people, who are strangers, whether it be in your room, at breakfast, or just hanging out in a common room. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I was travelling with someone else, but being on my own it gets hard to tolerate.

So I ended up not leaving my room for the rest of the night. I read my book some more, actually took a nap, and then read a lot more (it was a really good book). I thought about going out to dinner, which is what I normally would have done. But I just didn’t feel like it, so I stayed in my room and ate leftover munchies.

I almost didn’t want to go to bed, because I didn’t want to have to leave my room in the morning. But eventually I got really tired and couldn’t concentrate on my book anymore, so I went to sleep.

Tomorrow I’ll leave Hallstatt and go to Salzburg, where my brother Derek will join me on Sunday!

Auf Wiedersehen!
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