This post is written by Katie, about her solo trip to Belgium, Germany, and Austria.
Today I woke at 8:15am to an empty room. I went to the cafeteria for breakfast and had my tray with fruit juice spilled on me when a worker accidentally knocked it over. I tried to clean off the stickiness, but with only partial success.
I went back to my room, packed up everything, took the sheets off my bed, and checked out. Then I used the wifi for a bit before heading out to catch the 10:27am 170 bus to the train station.
The youth hostel Eduard-Heinrich-Haus (Euro 47.20 for two nights in a 6-bed female dorm on Booking.com) in Salzburg worked out really nicely for me. It was away from the main tourist sites, but close to a few bus stops which made getting to the train station, main tourist areas, and Berchtesgaden easy. There were a lot of youth there, as would be expected. They seemed to be attending courses in classrooms at the hostel. There were three markets relatively close, but they all closed rather early (between 5pm and 7:30pm). There was a washer and dryer that cost Euro 3 each to use in the basement of the hostel (but even after spending Euro 6 on the dryer, many of my clothes were not dry and I resorted to hanging them up). The room was fine, except it would be better if the sinks were not be in the room with the shower as this makes it impossible to get ready in the morning if someone is showering and wants the shower room to themselves (most people do). The big lockers in the dorms were nice. There were a decent number of plugs around the room (but not one for each person unless you count the bathroom ones). Two beds in the middle of the room were adjoining, but there were never more than five of the six beds full during my stay. Breakfast was a buffet of bread, cereal, yogurt, and canned fruit – served 7am-10am. Reception sold sandwiches, beer, and bus tickets. Wireless internet (which only worked in the lobby) was Euro 2 for 240 minutes unless you booked on booking.com and then it was free. My room had a table with four chairs. The hostel lobby had plenty of space to sit and work.
The 170 bus did not arrive until 10:45am but then it did not stop despite my signalling. I took the 3 bus that was shortly behind it.
Once at the train station, I grabbed info on the 150 bus to Bad Ischl as well as train information on how to get from Salzburg to Hallstatt. Online I had read that taking the 150 bus to Bad Ischl and then the train to Hallstatt was the most cost effective. This seems to be especially true for day trips since my one way ticket cost Euro 10.40 whereas a same-day round-trip ticket cost Euro 12.
I was the last person to get on the 11:15am 150 bus to Bad Ischl – I barely made it! The bus ride was pretty. Fuschl am See looked awesome – by a lake with a slide going into the lake, an outdoor climbing wall, and multiple mountains nearby that surely have good hiking. I’m putting it on my list!
St Gilgen is much bigger, but also has a lake and mountains and looks nice. There were a surprising number of school children (5th grade?) getting on and off the bus in various cities around noon – should they not be in school? After many stops – including two longer ones at busbanhofs – we made it to Bad Ischl at 1:02pm. I missed the 1:03pm REX to Bad Goisern, so I was forced to wait at the Bad Ischl Hbf until the 2:20pm R3418. I bought my Euro 2.10 ticket and settled in.
The R3418 came on time and was relatively empty. I thought the schedule had showed just one stop between Bad Ischl Hbf and Bad Goisern Hbf, so I exited the train at the second stop. I should have realized when the sign said “”Goisern Jodschwefelbad” that I was in the wrong place. I had forgotten to actually write down directions to Herberge Mörtel Mühle, so I tried to go from memory as I oriented and walked down the road. For a while I just thought I had gotten the scale of the distances incorrect, but then I realized I must have exited the train at the wrong station. Of course there were no maps around, so I kept walking towards whatever tourist information office signs kept pointing towards (clearly targeted at motorists). I eventually reached the tourist information office, which kindly gave me a map, pointed me in the right direction, and said I was five minutes away.
I found Herberge Mörtel Mühle (Euro 85.50 for three nights in a 7-bed female dorm on Booking.com) with little trouble after my visit to the tourist information office. A note was waiting at the door saying to ring the bell, so I did and the owner came out quickly. He offered to take my big backpack, and showed me to my female dorm for the night and gave me my choice of beds. I picked a lower bunk in the corner, and then we went back downstairs where he offered me a ‘welcome tea’. It was all a very nice welcome! Then we discussed my plans to hike to Simonyhutte tomorrow, and he suggested I take the Dachstein cable car instead to cut out the hard, long climbing and be able to spend more time on top of the mountains. I can still hike over to Simonyhutte if I wish.
My room mate from Hong Kong arrived shortly after, but she ran off to try and see Hallstatt before dark (apparently this is a bad idea, since it gets shady in Hallstatt earlier due to the mountains). I headed to the grocery store and wandered around Bad Goisern. It’s a really nice town, with mountains in every direction. Herberge Mörtel Mühle is nicely located about 5-10 minutes from the train station and by the river (with the train station on the other side). It was fun to just sit by the river and wait for (very infrequent) passing trains. Herberge Mörtel Mühle has a home-like feel, and the owner tries hard to make you feel at home. It’s a relatively new place, so the owner is still settling in and trying really hard. I sat downstairs at the big wooden table and worked on my laptop for a while.