Bad Gastein is a resort town in the mountains of Austria built on a well of hot springs. Years ago in it's development, hotels sprung up over each hot spring outlet offering resort comfort, wellness and relaxation. Kings and queens flocked and Bad Gastein grew in fame.
Today, it's a little bit sleepier as it sits tucked into the fold a a mountain valley with mostly empty and abandoned hotels.
Still, it's quaint and offers some vacation recreation.
Our first evening found us parked at a porchside restaurant soaking in the beauty of the local orchestra playing Strauss.
My kids are big fans of scary. Movies, stories, tall tales ... they love to get that imagination going. It was a real highlight to discover that this town is the source of the "Krampus" folklore.
Krampus is the Bavarian version of Santa Claus ... only this one is a goat demon who comes in the night on Christmas Eve to scare little children into being good or stick them into his sack and drag them away forever.
Makes our holiday of peace and goodwill to men look a little soft.
We produced some pretty good crying laughter over all the tributes to Krampus all over town.
We experienced quite a bit of rain so there was a lot of this.
Every little town is built around a church so we took a rainy day walk around town and stepped back into time in this one.
Just beautiful with the silence and drumming of falling rain on the roof.
We followed the river that runs literally right through the town. The town was built on it to glean all the goodness out of those gorgeous hot springs.
There really wasn't any way to experience the hot springs in a natural setting so we paid a visit to one of the clubs built around those nourishing benefits.
The rain cleared briefly on day and we hiked the surrounding mountains.
There was some galloping to the top.
And then some exhaustion.
We found some stunning beauty.
I soaked in some of my own kind of beauty from a vantage point in the woods behind.
I loved Eliza's marvel over raindrops on greenery.
We used a field to practice some photography jumping skills.
And determined we just weren't really good at it.
On our way home, we explored quaint shop fronts.
They sure know how to make store windows inviting with motorized toys, cuckoo clocks and imagination.
I think we stopped at every sprouting spring.
We took time for the towns recreation. We aren't good golfers but we try.
And sometimes we just ride the course.
There was some practice on the slack line course.
Camping out to listen to a restaurant performer sing "Rocky Mountain High, Colorado" ;) ... with a German accent.
Really cool rock climbing beginners course that beckoned to us.
Climbed a million stairs because the town clings to the cliff side.
These kids are pretty good at making use of even the rainy days.