An old acquaintance suggested I visit Bad Gaistein, which is another ski resort just 8 km away from Bad Hofgastein. It is a bigger posh place where celebrities, the rich and the famous like tocome for mountain skiing and various wellness & beauty treatments. As spring is out of season, the place was practically empty when I came there by bus. I emerged at the first bus stop on top of the town and looked all around me and down below. To get around, I had either to walk carefully along the many winding streets going up and down, or use the street lifts. I chose walking, and literally crossed myself while following the many twists and turns. It’s all very beautiful and charming, with an old church in the center which looks like a miniature medieval cathedral. There is a public toilet discreetly tucked into a side wall. It’s very hard to get around on foot. The thunderous roar I heard from a distance turned out to be a beautiful waterfall, cascading down a mountain from the height of 341 m. All the passing motorists stop by to take some pictures. The luxury shops and restaurants, most of them closed, indicate the wealth level of tourists who visit the place in season. When I turned a corner, I almost collided with a group of Italians who were overjoyed to see another human being wandering around with great caution. “Bon Giorno, Signora!” they all greeted me, smiling and gesturing at the mountainous surroundings. When I asked an old couple walking their dog where a bus-stop was, they showed me a walking path and invited me to walk with them, just 8 km back to Hofgastein. I politely declined and waited for a bus. I guess those who come to Gastein do not always walk, they either drive, or stay at a hotel close to a ski lift, or just use the spas and thermal baths. I’m very glad I have seen those wonderful places, once.

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