Trips are about discovering what’s around the next corner. Sometimes your expectations are set by research or recommendation by other travellers, sometimes to be dashed, other times to be exceeded.
We went to Wolfgangsee because we liked its name, reminiscent of Mozart, and it had a choice of campsites open late in the summer season.
We were rewarded at Romantik Camp, resonant with expectation, by a lakeside pitch and perhaps the most beguiling view of the trip so far.
The crystal clear waters of the blue and emerald Wolfgangsee magnified the paddling feet of a gaggle of ducks and swans that cruised nearby, whilst a few hundred meters away the craggy heights of the Shafberg shimmered white granite and shadowy emerald green forests.
Taking to the bikes to discover the waterway we cycled through farmlands turned seasonal campsites passed alpine cattle, heavily fleeced sheep, late summer vegetable plots and lakeside ferry services.
Apples fell freely from fruit orchards, dozy honey bees assailed late flowering geraniums and early displays of Autumn kurbis (squashes and pumpkins) decorated wooden doors and balconies.
Cycling to St Gilgen the next morning we found the Saturday market of artisans selling Austrian finery of felt hats and shoes, heavily embroidered silk dresses, warm wool shawls and hand-crafted lederhosen.
Shoppers were dressed in local costume and middle aged men sported tassled socks and bare legs, whilst women surely old enough to know better giggled in bodices and low slung blouses. There was a sense of late summer fun in the air!
We sought out a particularly graceful lakeside house, which squat square onto the water with shuttered windows and doors set within stone porches.
Incredibly this was Mozarthaus, the family home of Amadeus, owned by his grandfather and birthplace of his mother on Christmas day 1720.
His sister Nannerl also lived here from 1784 after her marriage. Wolfgang never visited, despite promises to his mother, sister and father, Leopold. Contemporary painted images of the Mozarts are shown in the outward facing windows of the house, and nearby a lovely café recalled Nannerl’s patronage of the pretty town.
Bells rang out a lively peal at noon and we discovered a group of young lederhosen wearing men and full-skirted women celebrating a friend’s wedding at the town’s church. Around the corner the trestle tables and benches were filling up with beer drinking market shoppers.
Eschewing an expensive return to Salzburg (the post Brexit exchange rate was crippling our budget) we decided there and then on a further day at Wolfgangsee that would see us busy doing nothing other than reading books, preparing a route across Germany and gazing at the views that gave a sense of peace and reward.
The daytime temperature was remarkably in the high 20s and once again we savoured an Indian summer in Austria. Truly, we had arrived and revived!