Lost in the snow storm
Waldbachstrub - The magic waterfall
In the summer of 1845 Adalbert Stifter came to Hallstatt with his wife to visit his friend Friedrich Simony. After a great storm, Simony took his friend to the Echerntal to show him the waterfalls and the Waldbachstrub. On the way they met two children, a boy and a girl, who offered strawberries for sale. Stifter was so charmed by the two children that he bought some at once, but let the children eat the strawberries themselves. He had the children tell him about their day, and how they had taken food to their grandfather on the mountain pasture. They told him about the buttermilk that the dairymaid had given them to drink on the mountain pasture, and fi nally about the strawberries which they had found before the great storm. The two children were to become the models for the children Konrad and Sanna in Stifter's tale "Mountain crystal", who get lost in the wild and dangerous world of the glacial ice domes on 24th December. In contrast to Gauermann, Waldmüller does not seek to show the romantic "wildness" of the mountain stream, but a more severe and precise view of every single object, such as cliffs, trees and clouds. Johann Steiner, from "The travel guide through the Austrian Switzerland or the Enns Salzkammergut", which appeared in 1820: "On leaving this magnificent waterfall alongside one's two younger brothers one will wave a friendly farewell with gratitude and remember this beautiful natural spectacle for a long time."
In 1865 Emperor Franz Joseph writes about an excursion to Hallstatt in a letter to his mother: "The day before yesterday just Sissi and I had a lovely outing in magnificent weather.... After we had eaten we went to the Waldbachstrub. The valley was superbly illuminated and of the freshest green; all that spoilt it were a number of halfwits, as always, and a new civilisation which is highly inappropriate in his beautiful region." Emperor Franz Joseph writes to Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) in Corfu: "The day before yesterday I received your telegram from Corfu .... I am delighted that you so infinitely like Ithaca. I can well believe that it calms the nerves and is tranquil, but that it could be more beautiful than Hallstatt seems impossible, especially with the inadequate southern vegetation ...." The Waldbachstrub, one of the most beautiful waterfalls of the Eastern Alps.
The water from the Hallstätter and Gosau glaciers emerges from a dark ravine, tumbles 95 metres into the depths and forms raging eddies all around. In the days when timber still used to be drifted down the Waldbach, the tree trunks had to be dragged out of the swirling water with an axe and then put back into the stream. A walk to the Waldbachstrub has been a popular excursion for a long time. Just before the last stretch of the path to the Waldbachstrub you can turn off to the Gangsteig, a path to the Salzberg that takes a bit of mastering - so it is only suitable if you have had plenty of practice! The steps have been cut into the cliff, and the Waldbach lies far below. There aremany paintings and engravings of the waterfalls.