We met my family at one of the most iconic lakes in Austria. Lake Hallstatt and the surrounding village is straight out of a storybook. I usually try to steer clear of such beautiful places in August, but I went with the flow. I have to tell you, I am so so happy I did.
Yes, the tour buses stopped here in the morning and swarms of tourists filled the streets mid-day. But, here's the thing, outside of that, the streets were remarkably quiet and local. Way beyond "the strip" we ran across this talented artist making these pine works of art. We found out the pine ball is used to cap water carafes, and after about 10 minutes you can taste the essential oils contained in the soft stone pine wood and it's very calming. Just watching him work was relaxing. Like a glass blower with pine.
We rented a house back off the lake. It was a quiet residential area that backed into trails. We took the most amazing hike through the lush forest and found ourselves following a river where I had one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
P.S. The funicular to Salzwelten with the ancient salt mine with subterranean salt lake, and the Skywalk viewing platform is pretty sweet too.
I can't wait to go back to Austria, even in August.