When this is the view that you get throughout the bus journey along the lakes of Salzkammergut, you know there's something incredibly special about this place.
My immediate reaction to this unparalleled natural beauty was WOW where have I been all my life! It was paradise on earth - the other world.
Without wasting anytime, we ventured out on the first day to grab a piece of this Habsburg monarchy's fairytale nature land. Our first journey was a wonderful bus ride (via Bad Ischl) to the dramatically illuminated Dachenstein Caves, located within easy reach of a cable ascent followed by a 15 minute walk. It was also our first encounter with delicately ice-capped peaks and snow that melted on tingling finger tips.
The best was saved for the last part of the day - Halstatt a tiny town of spectacular beauty with giant Mt Dachenstein looming overhead. A pleasant stroll through this town and its postcard-perfect square took less than an hour but enjoyably relaxing. A bone chapel with decorated human skulls was this petite town's way of making place for the newly dead.
Rain prevailed during the drive back home but that didn't stop this stunner of a place from appearing any less beautiful.