Visuals

Hallstatt by Those Fancy Gems

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Hallstatt was a place that we have swooned over and over while researching for the trip. It was this extremely unreal looking alpine town, tucked away amongst the mountains. And having the thought to take a ferry across the lake to get access to it - that in itself was enough to make us fall head over heels for this magical little township. 

Getting there

Imagining it to be unreal and finally being there felt surreal. We took a bus from Salzburg to Bad Ischl and then a train from Bad Ischl to Hallstatt.
Tip: The train ride is very scenic so remember to sit on your right side!

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What was facing us while on the ferry was an amazing view of houses (those kind that we draw as kids!), a tall clock tower of sorts, very clear blue waters, with the Dachstein in the background. The Dachstein was even snow capped!

The water was extremely still when there were no ferries on it, and the reflection of what's on land was almost exactly the same image in the water. 

We decided to spend a night in Hallstatt as it was on the way to our next stop the following day, Graz. Instead of rushing, we took it slow and stayed a night. The day was spent exploring the 'city center', but really it was not a city because of how small it was! There are only 700 odd people living there, and its 'center' consists of many hotels and probably 1 expensive restaurants and 2 middle range ones. It was extremely surprising that alot of shops and restaurants/ eateries were not open. I had a daunting moment thinking we might have to starve! Even the supermarkets opens at 9am-12pm, and closes from 12pm, and only reopens back from 3pm-6pm! Perhaps the traffic is really very low and there is just no point to be open for business for a full day. 

 

Things to do

By the time we arrived in Hallstatt it was already mid-day, so we decided to soak in whatever Hallstatt had for us, walking along the lake. There were many little lookout points and pontoons as opportunity for some scenic photographs.

There are obviously other things like the Bone House, or Catholic Parish Church to visit, but even if you don't, its really ok! I thought it was quite enjoyable just getting lost in the beauty of the town, walking through different lanes and admiring the houses, the colours, and the stillness. 

We did however took up the challenge to hike up to the salt mine early the next day. The hike took about 1 hour, with our pace being quite slow and leisure. On other days a furnicular runs from the foot to the top however it was closed when we were there. The hike was good in a way because it was extremely informative on what kind of ancient and medieval methods were use to retrieve salt from the mine. It was also accompanied by the ever changing view of the lake from above, as the fog moved in and out, and the lake and mountains seemingly playing hide and seek with us. 

The view on the observation deck was V-shaped, and perched over the mountain, sticking out and hovering above the town Hallstatt. There are just no other words. I just have to re-iterate again, it's breathtaking and beautiful and truly stellar.

Follow Min and Kiat to Hallstatt by Those Fancy Gems

Follow Min and Kiat to Prague by Those Fancy Gems

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Follow Min and Kiat to Czech's best kept secret - Český Krumlov by Those Fancy Gems

Project Rediscover Singapore: Punggol Waterway Park by Those Fancy Gems

Ever since being back from travelling and living overseas, many noticeable changes in Singapore could be observed and clearly I was out of date. Out of the years away, some 300 cafes have popped up; Gardens by the bay has finished building; River safari is completed; Adventure cove has sprung up too. While new buildings are being built, there are older ones being demolished and used for other purposes. Other than these more obvious changes, I wanted to start a little mini project to discover Singapore again... or rather, rediscover Singapore, to appreciate the little details and corners that are often overlooked. 

One thing about not being able to travel all the time is the desire to frequently explore new places. In keeping up that spirit of discovery and in search of maintaining a healthier lifestyle for my aging parents, we decided to dedicate more weekends to be active. The parks in Singapore these days are improving and it is so much more convenient for joggers and cyclists alike thanks to the park connectors. 

We spotted a rainbow that formed through the water that sprayed out from the play area. It was a real pleasant surprise!

Punggol is an up and coming neighbourhood due to become a waterfront town. It is an initiative by both the Housing Development Board as well as NParks. The waterway park's aim is to serve as a green space for the people in this neighbourhood. I can see how this place could be the new East Coast park, where families and groups of friends will come together to take a walk or rent a bicycle to spend their weekend. 

The park seems to be separated according to different areas throughout it's long stretch. The waterway runs through the whole park. Some interesting places of interest in the park includes the Punggol Beach, Punggol Promenade/ Lorong Halus Wetland, as well as the famed Punggol Lone Tree that recently got struck by lightning.

Walk along the waterway park towards waterway town, at the end of this route is the Jewel bridge and a boardwalk called the Sunset Strip. It faces Sungei Punggol and offers a nice panoramic view of calm waters and lush greenery. This place seems pretty unreal to be in Singapore. I am sure this is a great spot for watching that twilight in the evening! 

Punggol Waterway Park | Sentul Crescent Road Singapore 822313 | Opens Daily