My friend Asa Jernigan told me some years ago about a beautiful lake near Salzburg he had visited. I tucked that tid-bit of info away in my noggin’ and somehow recalled it earlier this summer. I was scheduled to stay in Salzburg for two nights but a week before the tour commenced we had two additions making our group larger than expected. Short by one room in Salzburg, I decided to look for accommodations in the countryside.
Wolfgangsee is a glacial lake situated about thirty miles south of Salzburg in the region known as Salzkammergut. It is about five miles in length and 370 feet at its deepest point. The settlements around the lake, especially St. Wolfgang and St. Gilgen, are popular resort towns, mainly in summer.
I used bookings.com to locate rooms for my group at a little community outside of St. Wolfgang known as Reid. HAUS WINDHANGER was a wonderful choice! Hemmed in by the lake, the mountains, meadows, and cows, this proved to be a comfortable and peaceful place to stay.
Upon arrival, owner Annemarie met us at the door, showed us our rooms (with balconies and beautiful lake views) and provided a brief introduction to the village, dining options, and walking activities. As we had been driving most of the day, we were ready for some food. Annemarie suggested two guesthouses with restaurants about 500 meters up the road. We donned our jackets and struck off up the road. This pleasant walk took us along the lake with endless views of pastures and cows all framed by the soaring mountains in the distance.
We stopped at the first place we came upon. LEOPOLDHAUS looked like a charming old-styled guesthouse done up in the typical fashion with lots of wood and a clean, spic-and-span atmosphere. We were greeted by the owner, who at first thought we were looking for rooms, which she was ready to put us in! Explaining we’d like dinner, not rooms, our group was seated in a private dining room and served by the owner’s charming daughter. We made an evening of our dining experience! Being carefully guided through the local menu choices by our waitress, we feasted on fresh-caught fish, rich beef, and venison. All this was complemented by traditional salads, local cheeses, potatoes, and of course, local wine. By the end of the evening we had our waitress sitting with us at the table filling us in on her life and what it’s like living out here in this beautiful countryside.
Crunch-crunch-crunch… the sound of our group walking back up the gravel road to our guesthouse. After that hearty meal, we needed a short “stretch of our legs”to get us moving again. Crunch-crunch-crunch… a dog barks in the distance, a low-pitched horn is heard from a boat on the lake, a cow shakes her head and moos, bells from the goat herd tinkle on the distant hills. We walk in silence taking in the pleasant smells and sounds. Stopping to look at the moon’s reflection off the water, we see the twinkling lights from St. Gilgen on the distant lake shore. Crickets chirp and a wise old owl lets out a series of “hoots”. Crunch-crunch-crunch… off we go to throw open the windows, throw on the down comforters, and listen to the sounds of the night. zzzzzzzz……