No need to go to Peru or across Siberia to discover a landscape from the salon coaches of a Blue Train; no need to travel all the globe all the time to discover “exotic” events.

Austria, and especially the same area of the Salzkammergut where I have been spending quite some time and showing more and more trails, still holds quite a bit of fascination.

If you want to see my impressions from the journey and hear my thoughts, here’s the video – or continue after it for more, in words and non-moving images:

Narcissus in Bad Aussee

For example, late spring sees the Festival of the Narcissi in Bad Aussee.

Star Narcissi (Daffodils)

Yes, I could also talk about it as the daffodil festival that it is.

But, bear with me: doesn’t it sound much better – and more in tune with contemporary society – when addressed with a name that is both more scientific and giving rise to more connotations?

Narcissus, where, oh where have I heard something related to that name before? ;)

Selfie on a Rock

Cue the selfie (and hey, in a Gucci shirt)

Such joking aside, this was interesting. Right from the go.

Blue Train in Austria

When I finally decided that I should go to Bad Aussee for the Daffodil Festival, I also found that Austria has a Blue Train company that goes there.

In salon cars.

Blue Train Salon Car

Blue Train Salon Car

A few emails later, I had permission to ride with the (otherwise completely booked) train, and it was quite the experience.

The journey isn’t long, only a few hours, but taking it in cars with the ambiance of the long-distance trains of yore was a perfect beginning of the excursion to a festival with as much tradition as this.

This B&B Blue Train company’s coaches are all different, but all an experience. With breakfast and the nice landscape, all the more so…

It sure didn’t matter here that we took longer than the regular train service would take.
The only disappointment was that so few tourists seem to know of and to take this opportunity (same as with the Kaiserzug to Bad Ischl in the summer, actually).

On that note, check out B&B Blue Train… (And no, I’m not being paid to say that.)

Bad Aussee and the Narcissi

Everything is different. It’s all become commercialized, and even the daffodils wither much faster than they used to, these 40 years ago.

No, not my opinion. A conversation I overheard on the railway platform.

There sure are lots of shuttle buses; the entry into the festival grounds (with use of the buses) is supposed to cost €15; various stalls try to sell various food and drink and other things… And still.

I walked and didn’t see any place it would have been necessary to pay. (That may also have been due to us arriving in time for the highlight of the boat parade with the narcissus figures, but after the parade through the city, though…)
And I enjoyed seeing this town.

Bad Aussee

Bad Aussee, Looking Back from the Road to the Grundlsee

Bad Aussee is another of the Salzkammergut’s typical towns with quite a bit of charm and considerable creativity going for it.

Not to forget the nature.

The stroll/hike out to the Grundlsee Lake is very nice, and the landscape around the lake is prettier still.

Landscape around the Grundlsee

Landscape around the Grundlsee

With people in folk garb and the figures composed with the daffodils floating by on the water, it was particularly nice to see. Even with the crowds.

Narcissus Figures on the Grundlsee

Narcissus Figures on the Grundlsee

Maybe the daffodils do wither faster than they used to; I certainly wonder if climate change is already shifting the blooming time of the flowers…

That all only makes it more important to have festivals which have been around for a long time, form part of local people’s identity as inhabitants of a place – and connect places, people, and plants through the cycle of the seasons.

This, it is worth celebrating. For us all, everywhere.

All the better when there’s a tradition to connect it to.