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Hallstatt: The Old Town at the Lake

Internationally Hallstatt is well known for its beautiful location situated in the midst of the mountains at an Alpine lake. Less known perhaps is the fact that Hallstatt is one of the oldest known settlements in the Alps still in existence. From the 8th century BC onwards humans lived here and engaged in the production of salt; the culture they represented is called “Hallstatt Culture”.

Coming back to modern times, in the last years Hallstatt became immensely popular among tourists from Asia and the US, leading to fears of overtourism. Since COVID hit, the situations eased somewhat and the inhabitants start to breath again. On the other hand, one would wish that everyone could see this gem in the Alps. Hence, a sustainable way has to be found to navigate tourism in this rather little town. For now, I hope you enjoy some impressions from Hallstatt and surroundings.

Exploring Austrian Nature

Situated in the midst of Europe, Austria offers a wealth of experiences in nature. Large parts of the country are located in the Alps, a region seemingly devoid of humans and their intrusions. Of course, this is not entirely true and there are human settlements even at high plateaus. Sill, nature in the Alps it seems has enough place to roam and flourish freely.

Discovering the Alps

The European Alps consist of countless valleys, plateaus, mountain ranges and lakes. It is a vast landscape covering large parts of Central Europe. In between all of this, streams make their way through the gorges and passes. Some of them, such as the Sigmund-Thun-Klamm close to Kaprun, can be visited. Wooden walkways span this gorge surmounting several waterfalls. In general, the network of walking trails in the Alps is rich and far reaching. It spans all of the different terrains, so the region can be experienced from all different perspectives and habitats.

Nature of Zell am See

The surroundings of Zell am See are characterized by diverse natural habitats, reaching from the lake itself, to a wide array of swamps and grasslands. The higher you go the more nature is changing as well. At around 3.000 meters eternal ice is covering the moutaintops, like white rooftops they stand protective over this magnificent land.

Houses of God: Sacral Architecture in the Alps

The tradition of sacral buildings in the Alps is far-reaching. The oldest churches in the region date from the 7th and 8th century, but the heyday for building activities was the 18th century. A time in the history of the region when grandiose architecture with rich decoration was built to combat the rivalling religious ideology of protestantism coming from the north. While protestant churches tended to be more plain and unpretentious, Catholicism went in the other direction. Churches became palaces for God, becoming ever more impressive with marvellous wall paintings and detailed glass windows. Another important element of Baroque sacral architecture were organs larger than life, richly decorated and with an impressive sound range. Some impressions from the region.

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Kaprun: Town in the Alps

The blog is up and running again!

This year and a good part of 2020, it was pretty silent on here. For a short time, the website was down altogether. There are a couple of reasons, many of those in connection to the Covid Crisis. Most importantly, though, I had no creative energy left for photography. The circumstances are changing, and as the world is beginning to open up again, my motivation for attempting creative endeavors is coming back as well – slowly but surely. A more hands-on reason for updates is new gear. I switched from a Canon 70D to Sony. A Sony C7, to be precise. It has some advantages for travel and landscape photography because of its handiness. For now, I just have one travel lens, so it is a new experience and a little bit of a challenge to focus solely on photography with one particular lens (although the range is quite wide, to be fair). Anyway, the point is: http://www.michaelhoffman.at is back and will be updated regularly from now on. I will try to stick to a once-per-week update scheme, but we will see how things will go from here. 

I want to start with a trip to Zell am See and Kaprun, which I will cover in separate albums. The first one is dedicated to the town of Kaprun, which is lovely by itself. Situated in the midst of the Austrian alps, it offers fantastic views of the surrounding mountain ranges and the characteristic charm of a traditional town in this region of Europe. Although the weather was unusually cold and cloudy at our time of visit in May, the few rays of sunshine were sufficient to shine a light on the beautiful nature of the region.

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