As seen on howfarfromhome.com
Travel is a strange thing. Every new place you visit leaves an impression on you.
Sometimes, it's filled with hidden gems that blow you away, turning you into a renegade travel ambassador, selflessly promoting this new place you've found; and sometimes, you experience a massive let down that leaves you underwhelmed and with a bad taste in your mouth.
Sometimes though, you visit a place that you didn't even know about; a place you stumble upon, and a place that paints its own picture in your canvas thoughts.
Such was the case with Bad Gastein.
We were recently fortunate enough to be invited to an Instameet, hosted by @VisitBadGastein, in this town we hadn't even heard of. Grammars from all over Germany and Austria descended into the Alpine town, to meet, explore, and take some pictures, of course.
As soon as we stepped out onto the small cobbled streets, we knew this was something different. We were greeted by incredible architecture uncanny to that of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Vibrant colours broke through the white blanket of snow. Steam filled the valley from the natural thermal waters that spilled out the mountain, melting the ice as it flowed (and in case your German is a little rusty, the name "Bad" means "Spa", symbolising the importance of the four million litres of thermal water that flows through the town on a daily basis - and is said to have magical healing powers). It was unlike anything we had seen before, but why hadn't we ever heard about it?
It might be because the town is a shadow of its former self; well, that's at least what the general public thinks. The town is filled with magnificent hotels that are abandoned, collecting dust instead of tourists. It feels more quiet than it should be - besides the odd foreign man dressed to tackle the ski slopes. After speaking to some locals, we found out that there are a few reasons why visitors are few and far between. A Viennese business has something to do with it, but it's not important anymore. What is important, is that Bad Gastein, the small gem in the Austrian alps, is in a revival. More and more unique boutique hotels are popping up; a youthful undercurrent is stirring - out with the old and in with the new. We wouldn't be surprised if pictures like the below started to fill your travel feeds in the near future.