One day, Harsha and me climbed into a time machine and decided to check out medieval Central Europe. And ended up in the town of Hallstatt, an ancient salt mining village. Or that is how we felt. This town looks like it is physically untouched by modernization since the 12th century. It is so unbelievably cute that the Chinese built a replica of it ! It is actually not hard to believe after visiting the place. I would love a replica close to where i live too ! This town was reachable only via the water or through narrow passage like roads. And the village exhausted all the viable real estate that there was no where to grow. And it remained that way for centuries. Now, it looks like a toy village and made us wonder if any real people lived out here or it exists solely for the tourists. We were here to find out. I needed an apothecary and was told tourists dont have such needs and hence they dont have one. The streets are lined by stores selling souvenirs. Most of the houses seen are vacation homes or hotels or restaurants. Fast food here is Kebabs. And the rest of the space is occupied by antique buildings like churches, town hall, etc.
Questions we asked each other: “Its all made of wood. How does it not rot? will it all crumble?”. “How on earth does this place exist ! its like a toy town”. “Is every local we see here an actor to please the tourists?”. “There is some mediterranean influence, how?”. “Go Kebab is fast food here? I wonder what they would say if they saw the fast food in America”.
I romanticize the past a lot. I wonder what it would be like to have lived a few hundred years ago. I can even name a few periods and respective countries i wish i lived in. But seeing an ancient relic makes me happy to be alive now. With so many choices in front of me. And all the travelling i can do to experience anything i want, if i put my heart into it.