Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
148Trip End Aug 02, 2013
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We followed a short walking tour that was laid out in our guide book and our first stop was the main square. It is a really charming little square with a small fountain in the center, colourful facades and is framed by a waterfall and forest in the background, up near the cliffs. The neatest part for me was the facades of the houses, especially with the one that has a pear tree espaliered up three storeys! From the square we continued walking through to the edge of town where we got some great views back on the main part of town itself.
It is crammed with 1200 skulls about half of which are elaborately painted and marked with the family name and the date of death. The last skull to be placed here was in 1995 on special request. They don't get many requests from people to have their remains placed in the Charnel house as cremations have become much more popular. Back in the day, the charnel house was created out of necessity as the neighbouring graveyard is extremely limited in size and so to accommodate everyone, the largest bones, including the skull, was removed from the grave 10-20 years after burial. It was then cleaned, bleached and set out to dry by sun and moonlight for three to four weeks. After which, it was painted and marked.
From just outside the chapel next to the Charnel house, we got some really nice views of the lake and of the town below. We returned to the main square and continued on our walking tour. The next stop was a sports store. You might be wondering what could be worth seeing in a sports store. This store was unique in that its foundations are actually built over Roman ruins and its basement, is the site of an archaeological dig which now serves as a mini-museum. So in we went and then down the stairs into the "basement" where we saw displays of artefacts found in the area such as spearheads, pottery, coins, etc. We could also see where a Roman bath would have existed at one point. Exiting the store, we continued walking through the narrow streets that work their way up the cliffside, offering us more viewpoints and a glimpse at the facades of houses dating back as far as 1597.
It was late afternoon by this point and we decided to go for some coffee/cake, partially so we could use a washroom and partially to warm up – it was only around 7 degrees out and we had been walking around for a couple hours now. We wandered back to the main square and found a café that looked inviting but when we poked our heads in, there were people smoking inside so we immediately nixed that option. Austria still seems to allow smoking indoors as opposed to neighbouring countries like Germany and Switzerland, as far as we can tell. So we went across the square and we were glad that we had been forced to switch. Megs found an absolutely delicious apfel strudel, served with whipped cream and vanilla custard sauce and I had a fancy cappuccino with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.