Sylvester and Li

Sylvester and Li at Grundlsee

On 7th May 2018 Sylvester, Li, Taisha, Tshering and I visited Hallstatt, a lovely tourist attraction in Austria. We also stopped at Gaishorn, Grundlsee, the famous salt mine near Hallstatt, Altaussee, Krippenstein funicular station, Traunsee, Altersee and Bad Isch.

"See" means "lake" in the Austrian language, which is similar to the German language. Altersee was where Sylvester grew up, and where many years ago I had a boat ride with Sylvester, Li, their lovely daughters who were small at that time, Yuna and Taisha.

We left Sylvester’s house early in the morning on the day of our trip at about 8.00 am. We travelled along the mountain road towards the highway which runs between Wien and Graz, but we turned in a junction to Gaishorn and stopped at Rastplatz Gaishorn, which is a rest place at Gaishorn, to admire the surrounding scenery, including a mountain in a distance.

Halstatt, our destination, is actually located to the west of Gutenstein, where we started, but because of the mountains around Gutenstein, we had to go east towards the highway between Wien and Graz, go south towards Gaishorn, then turn west in the direction of Salzburg. We did not have to reach Salzburg, which is about 85 kilometers away towards the northwest. It was certainly worth travelling the loop as the Austrian scenery on the way was beautiful with rolling countryside of green grassland, distant mountains, and little towns.

We stopped at Grundlsee, after passing a small village with exquisite Austrian building. We had a lovely boat ride at the courtesy of Sylvester. The lake where our boat cruised over was calm and placid with charming eating places and hotels around it.

We then visited the well-known salt mine at Salzwelten near Hallstatt at about 1.00 pm. It is the oldest salt mine in the world, going back a thousand years. As the next guided tour was some time away, and the tour of the mine would take about an hour and a half, we decided to give it a miss, and went to Hallstatt for our lunch. Sylvester took the opportunity to buy some salt from the mine before we left.

Taisha and Grandmaster Wong

Taisha and Grandmaster Wong at Hallstatt

We went though a long tunnel to reach Hallstatt. As soon as we arrived, I knew Hallstatt was a captivating place, besides a delightful lake, the Hallstatter See, with delightful architecture. There were of course a lot of tourists, particularly Chinese tourists from China. I learn that there is also a Hallstatt in China in Luoyang and in Huizhou, which replicated Hallstatt in Austria.

I told the group that many years ago I might have visited this small exquisite town before with my wife, recommended by Professor Alois. My wife and I went through a tunnel and the beautiful town was by a charming lake. But the difference was that we visited a nearby mine (I can’t remember what mine it was) not far from the exquisite town, but it was not the famous salt mine at Salzwelten.

We had lunch in a charming restaurant by the lake, the Hallstatter See, with the elegant town on one side prohibited to motor traffic, and mountains all around the lake. There were some pretty white swans swimming in the lake, a waterfall, and a town square with a lot of people. It was just lovely walking on the road with joy and beauty all around.

We left Hallstatt by another route, not through the tunnel where we came. Soon we arrived at Krippenstein funicular station. We were supposed to visit the first station where we would explore a cave with prehistoric relics, but as we were short of time with many other places to visit, we decided to give it a miss.

We arrived at the town of Bad Ischl, named after an Austrian emperor. We had tea by the Ischi River. We sat in the open under shades and the place was not permitted to motor traffic. Life was, and of course always is, just wonderful.

We walked to the town square and then to the emperor’s residence where the emperor and his royal household would stay in winter. However we were late and the emperor’s residence was closed. It was after 5.00 pm.

We then drove to Altersee, a charming lake area where Sylvester had his childhood days. Sylvester told me some interesting stories of his boyhood years. The water of the lake was so clear that you could see pebbles at the bottom of the lake. Some lovely swans were swimming in the lake and a few came near us. Many years ago Sylvester and his lovely family took me for a boat ride in the lake.

We then drove home to Gutenstein by another route. Beautiful countryside with typical Austrian houses rolled by. We passed a number of beautiful lakes. We then drove along the highway between Salzburg and Wien. Making good use of time, I took a nap. When I woke up we were nearing Pernitz. Soon we arrived at my hotel. It was past 10.00 pm.

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Madrid, 11th May 2018

Grandmaster Wong

Grandmaster Wong at Bad Ischl


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