I’ve visited Austria once before, about 4 years ago and I fell in-love. Being an eternal beach-bunny at heart, it was the first time I’d been in a holiday like this and by the end of last year, I was yearning to get back to the snow.
As soon as we landed in Salburg, the calm and still air instantly lifted my spirits. You know that feeling when you can taste the snow (sounds crazy, but you know what I mean), I had butterflies just thinking about seeing the mountains again.
Our self-contained apartment was in a little area called Reid, located just outside of the main town, St. Wolfgangsee. We like to be able to cook our own meals when we’re away (I’m a constant grazer so I need to keep my snack-hand happy) and the place we found was perfect; within walking distance of both the town and the foot of Schafberg mountain. Waking-up to the mountains each morning was breath-taking. I had my morning coffee just simply staring at them.
As the sun and clouds moved across and around these majestic and ancient beauties, they changed by the second. I could’ve spent all day taking pictures of their ever-changing faces. It reminded me of how we as humans change according to our environment, the weather, the seasons.
We did a quick turn-around as the sun was beginning its descent for the day and I really wanted to catch the last rays of light by the lake. Just as we reached the snow-dusted platform that reached out into the water, a ball of sunshine broke through the cotton clouds and touched its gentle ripples, it was the only light to make it and it stopped me in my tracks. It was so perfectly-timed, a few minutes later, it was covered by cloud. In that moment, I took a huge breath and soaked it all up.
Fortunately, the Christmas huts selling Gluhwein and cinnamon-spiced treats were still open for business, their lights twinkling against the setting sun. There was no sense of urgency, which I loved. We had a wonderful stroll and headed back for a cuppa and pasta, it was a long but beautiful day.
Day 2 began with a sunrise wake-up call, I looked out of our bedroom window to the most stunning view. The snow-dusted mountains were even more beautiful in the warm glow of the dawning day. Fragments of coral and orange skimmed the surface of the lake illuminating the brilliant white snow even more.
Despite the cold wind, we wrapped-up warm and began our walk to the neighbouring town of Sankt Gilgen. The lure of a warm coffee and cake provided the incentive! Well, the main incentive were the views; a mix of blue, white and a dash of earthy tones from of the buildings was the greatest sight. Cake tasted even better when you’ve walked to an adjacent town to snaffle it!
Most of our days were all about picking a walking route, packing our lunches and wrapping-up like human burritos for the day ahead. The latter days were more snow-filled so this hindered our walking ever so slightly. However, there’s something about being atop a mountains pass, with what seems like the whole world below you that’s worth trekking 4 hours for.
At one point, the snow was mid-way up my calves and finding my footing was pretty tricky but the view was worth it for sure. The snow settled in lattice patterns on leaves, icicles hung from snow-dusted streams, a blanket of deep snow stretched as far as the eye could see and we were the only two people there. Our footprints the first to tread the virgin snow on this day.
New Years Eve was a blur of frites and gluhwein, my absolute new favourite duo! Gluhwein certainly warms the cockles, I just love the combo of spices and the aroma that evokes cozy evenings and hot water bottles by the fire!
On New Years Day, we braved the snow and ventured by car to Salzburg. It’s such a magical place and the streets were still covered with a million fairy lights. The stage in the main square was there from the night before, locals and travellers alike making the most of the atmosphere. We had a nice meander through the backstreets and Christmas markets, the gorgeous aromas of clove and juniper filling the air.
The snow fell harder and we decided to head back via some other lakes en route. Quite by chance, we discovered a town called Monsee; the tiled square and main town buildings were glorious. Of course, I ushered us rather surreptitiously to the cutest, cavern of a coffee shop (I spotted the cake selection from afar #cakemagpie)…..”this way, dear. This place looks nice…..” Works every time! Luckily we both have the same sweet tooth so he didn’t take much persuading.
The sun began to fall lower in the sky so we made tracks for Reid. It was so nice to get back to our little home-from-home. It was small but perfectly formed; everything we needed and wanted was somehow there. And what it lacked in space, it made up for in views!
Our last day was the most delicious mix of wandering through the town, coffee breaks and writing lists! Yep. I love a list and I always like to reflect on the last day of my holiday with some notes about all the things I’ve loved. It matters not that a majority of my best bits were cake-related. It’s an accumulation of all the little things in life that make the whole seem greater. Having time away, just the two of us, was my favourite bit (mountain views and cake were a bonus).
I think that being in the mountains, reconnecting with nature and breathing the clear air can also help us to reconnect with the part of ourselves that can sometimes get lost in the noise of modern life.
I feel like I pressed the reset button and I am full of gratitude to have experienced this magical time in such a beautiful place.
Being home has been a treat also, I set some really solid intentions whilst looking at the majestic mountains as my inspiration and I intend fully to make them come true in 2019. I feel like the seeds I planted 6 years ago are going to blossom this year and if you’d like to see my healthy recipes, head over to my Instagram and if you’d like to see my favourite snowy must-haves, then head over to my Mountain Survival Guide on my website www.hollyswholesomekitchen.com
Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, fun-filled and prosperous new year.
All my love and encouragement.