Austria part 1: Salzburg//Hallstatt

Salzburg, Austria,

Not sure I have the words but here goes nothing.

Salzburg was recommended by an artist in Munich, specifically for picturesque landscapes.

I was not disappointed! The architecture was amazing, my hostel was perfect, the city was surrounded by mountains and lakes (Sound of Music)  and the people were friendly.

Upon arrival, I scouted the city, picked a vantage point along the Salzach river, with a view of the hilltop fortress!  My spot was on a very popular walking / biking path, which served as a constant stream of potential collectors!

After a few hours I had a strange feeling of mortality gush over me like a wave.

Normally I can pretty much paint anything, anytime with almost any distraction.  But in this instance I was hesitant to acknowledge that there was simply too much information in my view to properly finish in a timely manner:   Multiple cathedrals, an Opera House, and entire bank of pastel colored buildings, a mountain in the background, and a hilltop fortress!  Due to time constraints there is 100% possibility that i’ll be force to finish this painting  “gasp” from photo reference!

Finishing this piece from photo is not the worst thing in the world considering the sheer amount of detail.   The piece should have an interesting feel, different from the rest of the collection (pure on sight plein air)

I spent the first night in the hostel watching futbol, having drinks with a few fellow travelers, and hatching a plan to visit Hallstatt the next day.


After one too many scotches i found my way to what I think was my bunk.  Fortunately I set my alarm.  The hostel was fully booked and I didn’t have a reservation for July 3rd.  I would normally roll with the punches but in this case I was meeting a small group of fellow backpackers to venture  together to Hallstatt.  We were supposed to leave about 7 minutes after i woke up! Fortunately one of the staff at the front desk was also an artist.  He was sympathetic to my predicament and “found” a room for me some how.

I had never even heard of Hallstatt or Salzburg for that matter.  The night before at the very happening hostel bar, our newly formed group of friends did what backpackers do: sit around and tell travel stories, drink pints (or scotch in my case). During this merry time, Allen form San Francisco, suggested we go to Hallstatt. He showed us pictures an had did some research regarding getting there.

So we (Myself, Allen, Ellen from San Diego, Sandy from Canada)  made a pact: Meet at 7:30 sharp, catch city bus 150 into the “Sound of Music” type mountains.  From there we board a train, and then a ferry.  It all seemed pretty doable.  Then I got on the bus, hungover for the first time on this EAQ.  I was weighted down with my portable studio/ gallery: 6 paintings 2 blank canvases, approximately 17 tubes of mixed matched acrylic colors from multiple sets, my easel, brushes, backpack and a bag from the grocery store (watermelon / chips/ blueberries/ water/ and 2 road beers)

The bus was completely full! Standing room only in the isle! I was not a happy camper.  The lady that was awkwardly nestled under my outstretch arm informed me that the ride was only an hour an 40 minutes! This was a city bus making stops, not a fancy touring coach with WIFI and a pisser.  Just people going to work and a few hundred tourists going exactly where we were going.  As the locals exited the bus everyone in my group found seats.

We got off the bus, caught the first mountain train and cruised on into the the Hallstatt station. (which was really just a sign on a post and a little track side shack on the platform).

A quick stroll down the ferry ramp and BOOM, the coolest view i’ve seen on this trip and probably top 5 in my life. What made it extraordinary was the reflection in the water.  The village was made of pastel colored buildings on tree filled rolling hills all nestled between two mammoth Fjords that seem to slam themselves right onto the lakes edge. The reflection of the whole scene was mirror like and so stunning I knew right away. No scouting necessary, “I’m not getting on the ferry, i’ll be right here for the next 3 hours…”.

My friends traveled on and for the next few hours I painted in peace.   The ferry drivers, one male one female, were taking an interest in my profession.  After multiple rounds of ferry drops (one every 45 minutes) I finally won over the guy.  His counterpart was not impressed.  But you can’t please them all.

During one of the stops I met Vana, she was a student and an artist. She liked all the work but had a sharp eye and picked the only painting I had that was all palate knife. ((Up to this point and at this rate i’m physically unable to carry everything I make so I gifted Vana the “3 Trees” piece” )) Vana was elated with her new artwork and was somewhat in disbelief!  Seeing the smile on her face was worth more than gold.

I packed up and jumped in the Lake and watched to my suprise Ellen and Sandy both make small water color studies on a near by bench with a view of the village.  It was nice to watch someone else make some art for a change:)

We made our way back to the hostel, some of us watched football, some sound of music.  We said our goodbyes and headed off in all directions across Europe.



Austria part 1: Salzburg//Hallstatt


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