I had booked a few days to stay in one of the most picturesque places, Hallstat, with the idea that I would be renting a bike and riding around surrounded by the beautiful mountains. I might even have a dip in the lake and spend long days reading in the shade outside or have a glass of wine in the town of Hallstat amongst the other tourists. Just generally enjoying the outdoors, clean air and some peace and quiet in a beautiful place.
Sadly, this is not how it turned out at all.
Hallstat is one of those tourist towns where busloads of visitors stop off all day and then it’s empty at night. I found a nice hostel like accommodation across the lake in Obertraun. Away from the hustle. There is a local bus that goes between the 2 towns so it’s easy to get about around the lake without a car.
I spent my first morning catching the furnicular up to the 5 Fingers. As I am afraid of heights, every time the furnicular climbed up and got to one of the towers holding the cable up, everything shook and we swayed. Needless to say, I was gripping onto the poles for dear life and couldn’t wait until we reached land once again. At the top, I was in awe of the views and watched parachute gliders run off one side of the mountain whilst sheeps grazed on the other side. It was such a clear day which made for some great pictures and sun glare. Looking back, I should’ve worn my walking shoes so that I could have spend more time walking about as there were many tracks to get to other lookouts but it was fairly hot and thought I would just be a tourist and go for the main ones instead.
By afternoon, it was time to join the locals for a dip in the lake. It was scorching hot (even for an Australian) so I couldn’t wait and found a place to bob around in the water and enjoy the mountain views from the water. Later that evening when I went out for dinner, I came back and realised that I hadn’t closed the window (there was no aircon in the room) and there were some mosquitoes inside. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep but I was exhausted and quickly went into dream land hoping they would just make their own way out the window.
The next morning, OH THE NEXT MORNING. I woke up to my legs covered in bites and it was the one and only time in my life that I had received so many bites. I usually always get a reaction to mosquito bites so during the summer, you won’t find me hanging around outside once the sun starts to set because it’s feeding hour for them. So low and behold, an allergic reaction did occur. And boy was it itchy.
I had not anticipated that I would be needing any stop itch cream (oh young and naive one) but at this point, would have loved to be in a bath with calamine lotion. So into town I went to try and find something. Anything for the itch.
I had no such luck in town, all I could find were lavender soap bars and citronella spray (call me a skeptic, but does citronella even work?). I bumped into the hostel owner who seemed shocked to find someone’s legs covered in so many bright red spots. She called the local doctor and made an appointment for me for the next availability. Which was the next day!
I busied myself in the morning by going to the Salt Mine to take my mind off the itch. When I could finally see the town doctor in the afternoon, she gave me some cleaning spray and cream for my bites and sent me on my way. At least, some sort of remedy. I cut my stay short in Obertraun and headed for Vienna the next day where it was cooler and I wouldn’t have to be bitten anymore!
PS. The bites were no longer itchy after a few days although I travelled the next few weeks with slightly discoloured spots on my legs. There are no longer any traces of these bites on my legs.
18 thoughts on “The Story of Hallstat and Mosquitoes”
What a terrible experience with your mosquito bites. Such unplanned things sometimes spoil our travels. Great tip about staying in Obertraun and taking a bus to Hallstat which looks absolutely gorgeous judging by the million photos I’ve seen on IG. But the busloads of tourists running around are almost enough to put me off visiting.
Yeah, I’m not a big fan of the huge crowds either. Obertraun also has restaurants so it’s not too bad of a quieter and cheaper choice.
That is the worst case of mosquito bites I’ve ever seen. Glad you have recovered fully. Stay safe and well.
I hope I don’t have another experience like it again. Thank you for reading- stay safe as well.
Ooh, I got goosebumps just looking at your mosquito bites. I had a similar experience when I studied abroad in Paris in the summer; I’d left the window slightly-open at night, as it was quite warm, and I woke up to mosquito bites on my fingers, even my face! European mosquitos are vicious, unlike the small, mild ones here in Los Angeles (which are practically non-existent, as it’s so dry here…). I abhor mosquitos with a burning passion, and I’m sorry to hear that they affected your trip…Hallstat is a gorgeous place all the same, though!
Oh the fingers- especially annoying if they were on the joints. I’m definitely packing an insect repellent on my next European summer trip. So lucky that it’s dry in LA! We get humid summers here so I miss out on the barmy nights outside.
Oh your poor legs! I’d love to visit Austria again, great tip about staying out of the thick of things and visiting Hallstat out of the rush. I’ll remember to pack a good, heavy duty insect repellent though!
I would too! Yeah, I tend to avoid overly crowded places- not a fan. I’ll certainly be travelling with one now on summer trips.
Oh bless you – they look like awful bites. I got similar in Sorrento when I was there and my legs were swollen for days on end; it makes everything so uncomfortable! I’m glad you at least got to see and do some things whilst there
Oh the fun of travelling sometimes! Yeah, at least I got to enjoy it for a day or so. Thank you for reading.
Oh my, these mosquito bites look terrible! It must have been such a dreadful experience! Also, I feel like mosquitoes are getting worse and worse each year! Too bad you didn’t enjoy Hallstat as much as you would have liked to, it is a beautiful town! I wish I had gone up the funicular when I went though 😊
I know! I had a terrible bite this summer but at least it was only 1. Yeah, I’m glad I still to see everything I wanted to see. Maybe next time you’ll get the chance to go up the furnicular!
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Goodness me! Those mossies tasted good flesh and had a feast. I am not a fan of mosquitos either and had this misconception the mountains would be free of them. Slowly, reports of their existence at altitude and an experience in Telemark Norway has me changing my mind. I thought they were bad in the tropics but this takes the cake. Was there water/ lakes around Hallstat?
I also thought mountains would be free of them too. What time of the year were you in Telemark? Now I think I better travel in shoulder seasons. Yes, there are lakes in Hallstat and also lots of free land. Perhaps that’s where they were all living.
I have been there in Summer and Winter. I was up high on a ridge in the country, and it was summer – June as I recall so it was surprising. MInd you, it is the ONLY time I have ever come across an insect in Norway! I have not seen them in the fjeller – the skifields.
Ohhh. Travelling in winter does have its problems but at least there are no bugs to ruin to the day (except maybe bed bugs).
Haven’t come across bed bugs ever. Apart from a winter snow storm/hurricane, I really didn’t have any problems travelling in winter. Having saud that, I keep away from travelling in icy snow prone areas in November.