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'Frozen' town struggles with fame


A tiny (population 778) hamlet in Austria that's widely believed to be the visual model for Arendelle in the Disney 'Frozen' films is kind of wishing its fifteen minutes of fame would hurry up and finish.

Hallstatt, Austria, a fairy-tale lakeside Alpine village if ever there were one, has been getting as many as 10,000 visitors a day, a visitor-to-resident ratio six times what Venice gets. Before 2010, fewer than 100 people a day came to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site an hour's drive from Salzburg.

What appears to have fueled the mania, even before the 2013 movie and the rumor that it was the model, was the town's appearance on a Korean TV show. Then a Chinese millionaire spent nearly a billion dollars building an exact replica in Guangdong Province. And then came the movie. The largest number of visitors are from China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

When they come, there's not much to do. Not enough cafes to serve 20,000 busloads a year; almost no place to take a picturesque selfie that doesn't have other visitors in it, and not enough airspace to accommodate all the visitors who want to take drone pictures of the area.

On the other hand, seasonal businesses are now busy year-round, and the town charges €1 apiece to use the public toilets.

Photo: Milan369/Wikimedia

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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Wonder if the little Disney visitors get a glimpse of the Ossuary.  I visited Hallstatt twice, first time for the beautiful area and church.  Second time for a pottery place we liked.  With little space for cemetery plots, old timers would have their bones dug up, then painted and put on display on the church grounds.  Few of my photos follow.Hallstatt AustriaHallstatt ChurchHallstatt

George G


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