While spending a second rest day in Hallstatt, my hiking buddy, Sarah, and I decided to rent bikes and ride to Bad Ischl on part of the Salzkammergut Cycle Path, about a 40-mile round trip. When we arrived at Hallstatt’s Information Center to rent the bikes, the only ones available were two self-propelled bikes. This was going to be interesting as neither of us had ridden this type of bike before. But, in the spirit of the adventure, decided to try. We were soon off on our adventure in our very spiffy bike attire of hiking pants and boots!
It took a while to adjust to let the bikes do the work, and, since they weighed a ton, the temptation was to power up hills on our own strength rather than gently pedal as the motor kicked in. Also, we would have to check at the local Tourist Information Center when we reached Bad Ischl to replace the battery. Our path took us down the eastern side of the lake so we once again saw Obertraun, the village where we boarded the ferry on the way to Hallstatt two days before. At several points the trail was literally hugging the side of the mountain as it met the lake.
We rode by several picturesque villages and stopped for a pastry in Bad Goisern, the location of our next night’s B&B.
Emperor Franz Josef vacationed in Bad Ischl frequently during his lifetime (1830 to 1916), often hunting in the area, his favorite pastime. As we neared Bad Ischl we came upon the impressive Jagdstandbild (hunting statue of Franz Josef) built in 1910 to commemorate his 80th birthday.
Bad Ischl is quite a sizable town and very attractive.
We exchanged our bike batteries and grabbed a cup of tea before setting off on the return trip. Somehow we had missed a giant tree sculpture of a dragon on the way out. He was really quite imposing!
The others in our hiking group had taken the day to visit the ice caves. We rejoined them after finishing our ride. Our stay in Hallstatt was completed by a visit to the Halstatt Museum with items that focused on the period of 800 to 400 BC (yes, almost three thousand years ago) when Hallstatt was a salt mining center. At another Hallstatt B&B, Pension Hallberg, we found a very interesting collection of Nazi paraphernalia which had been pulled up from the bottom of the lake. Nazi medals awarded to locals during WWII were considered dangerous to have in one’s possession after the war so they were thrown in the lake. They have been rediscovered and make for interesting viewing.
The section of the cycle trail skirting around the lake is very similar to parts of the Sun Moon Lake cycle path here. It looks like the kind of scenery that will make your heart happy to see.