For our last school trip of the semester, we took a city bus to one of the most famous lakes in Austria’s Salzkammergut district. Originally, we were supposed to follow an old pilgrimage path from St. Gilgen to St. Wolfgang, a trail that takes you around one side of the lake. After eating lunch in St. Wolfgang, we would take a boat back to St. Gilgen and then a bus back home. The day before our trip, however, our program coordinator, Lukas, learned that the trail was closed due to snow. With the original plans derailed, we decided to just take a bus to St. Wolfgang and eat lunch immediately. The meal was a traditional affair with cold cuts, cheeses, and brown bread offered on two giant wooden platters.
After lunch, all of us walked to the center of town and took a quick tour of the church. According to legend, in 976 St. Wolfgang, while living as a hermit at the Falkenstein, threw an axe with the vow to build a church where it landed. Three days later, he found the location and built the church seen today. After Wolfgang’s canonization in 1052, the church became a major pilgrimage site. The church is also the home of Michael Pacher’s masterpiece, the Altarpiece for the Pilgrimage Church of Sankt Wolfgang, completed in 1481. Finally, this was where Lukas was baptized as his grandparents lived in this area.
After exiting the church, where we couldn’t take any pictures unfortunately, we took a look at the lake again, this time through windows in the church wall.
After leaving the church grounds, most of us headed to get gelato at a place Lukas recommended. We then split up to explore the town, eventually all gathering at the lakeside to soak in some sun before heading back to the more city-like atmosphere of Salzburg.