Krippenstein cable car ride (or walk!) to the first station – the Schönbergalm

The Krippenstein mountain, which rises up to over 2,000m behind Landhaus Lilly, is one of the big attractions when people visit our area. From our front door, you can arrive at the valley cable car station in just three minutes by car, or in 15 minutes if you are walking.  The cable car does not operate all year round, but is great for spring, summer and autumn hiking and for winter skiing and snow shoeing – click here for opening times.

There are actually three sections of the cable car … and the first cable car takes 60 people at a time up from the valley station to the first station, called the Schönbergalm.  This has amazing views of Lake Hallstatt, Obertraun and the surrounding area.  From here you can either continue your journey to the top of the mountains, or stay at this level enjoy guided tours of the Ice Cave and/or the Mammoth Cave.

Staying at this level to visit the caves, you need to book your place and register for the next guided tour, and then make your way to the cave entrance: the Ice Cave has 15 minute walk up hill to the cave entrance, and has approx 500 steps inside the cave; whereas the Mammoth Cave has a level walk to the cave entrance and is easier to walk around.

Information to help plan for the tours and answer some questions can be found here: Visiting the Ice Cave and Visiting the Mammoth Cave

For keen walkers, it is also possible to have a lovely walk to the Schönbergalm from Landhaus Lilly (or from the cable car station car park).  The pathway takes you on a zig-zag path beneath the cable car itself. (If you take the cable car and look out underneath, you can hardly think it would be possible to follow a path up this route!) But take a couple of walking poles with you, some water and after perhpas a couple of hours, you can happily reach the first cable car station on foot 😉

Most people will opt for the cable car ride … and here’s an idea of the view as you ascend to the first cable car station …

And here are a few photos I took on my walk from Landhaus Lilly up to the Schönbergalm …

Thoughts on being asked ‘how do you run your biz your way?’

Thank you Judith for inviting me to be part of your blogfest, to mark the exciting launch of your first book ‘Your Biz Your Way’.  Book number 1 of hopefully many more to come!

The book is a series of 52 questions (and answers!) all about running your own business.

You can find out more at Judith’s website.

Judith’s idea was to link to blogs posted by various people running their own business and I’m delighted to post my blog here … about running my biz, my way 🙂

I was SO keen to be part of the small team of proof-readers for the book that I had to promise that NO! I wasn’t just being nice in offering help and that YES! I really did have / would make enough time to do the task justice!  (For once, I thought, perhaps my near OCD for typos may actually be an asset).

To join in with the celebratory blogfest, I’m to answer the question about how I run my biz my way.  I’m also a bit nervous if the truth be told about writing down my thoughts, as right at this very moment, I don’t necessarily really know how I run my biz my way!  I just do it!  And perhaps that’s exactly it – it’s currently out of my conscious awareness.  So time spent writing this post will hopefully help shed some light on the matter.

Paul and myself run our B&B together, so in that sense, I’m in a partnership with ‘my biz’.  However, we are two very different people, with hugely different skill sets and preferences.  For the most part we have naturally gravitated to our own roles and responsibilities, and together we make our business work.  When it’s working well, the two of us, us being 1 + 1, definitely equals way more than the value of just 2.  Surely this must be the best result possible for any team working together, when the constituent parts can create more than the individuals could do separately.

So … how do I run my business my way … in a nutshell it seems to come down to:-

  • having clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as my friend Barbara would say. And
  • clear, clean and frequent communications, as Judith would add. And I would also include
  • the need for tasks to be easily understandable, rewarding, pleasant and even fun!

Working as a husband and wife team, these principles apply to us working together as well as when we are working with any supplier or when dealing with our guests.

After almost 5 years, we are now much better at knowing the roles we need to play to support the business.  I need clarity and am in charge of certain practicalities: check-lists for anything and everything, procedures, online presence, online booking, accounts and customer-facing elements.  Oh, and making sure that the towels stay nice and white and fluffy and general quality control.

We also work with various great people who support us in our business, from people who help with website and online booking processes, to the accountant and laundry man and many others in between.  Each and every person is valuable in their own right and I view them as part of our team, working in some way to support and deliver our product to our guests.  I not only need their professional assistance – but it’s important for me personally to work with them happily as part of an extended team.  Working in harmony with others is of high value to me personally and professionally.  Judith has also been an invaluable part of my own team, helping me sort ‘fact from fiction’, offering encouragement, making suggestions and generally offering support and a wise sounding-board.

With our guests, we need to be open about what we can (and can’t!) offer.  We need to ensure they understand the basic information: availability, room costs, what’s included, how payment works, check-in arrangements etc.  We contact everyone after they book and although it takes a while to send everyone a personal email, and perhaps answer any follow-up questions, we believe it is worth it.  Hopefully it literally sends a positive message and can help to avoid any misunderstandings or difficulties further down the line.  However, difficulties can and do very occasionally still happen.  And that’s when the ‘fun’ element is rather more difficult and challenging to maintain from my ‘nutshell’ list!

So, as I mentioned above about being a bit nervous about writing this article, I can be nervous in a different way if there’s an issue that needs to be resolved with guests.  This is generally ‘my’ job – but fortunately I don’t have many occasions to practice handling difficult issues with guests.  However if I do, I aim to trust my instincts, focus on finding a solution and not be overtaken by uncomfortable feelings.

We are fortunate that the vast majority of our guests do leave with a smile, which is what our job is really all about.  This is all excellent news for us – as with happy guests, we can continue our business, we can continue to support our lives here and also provide work to our extended team … so it’s win win all round.  We chose to come and run a B&B and both left ‘good’ jobs in the UK, moved to a different country and we are living our dream.  It’s been incredibly hard work but it’s great having our own biz, that we run our own way – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Online Booking with ‘Freetobook’!

freetobook booking systemOnline booking has just become easier thanks to ‘Freetobook’!  Guests now have the opportunity of checking availability and booking online directly with us, via our website.

It’s obviously a big decision to entrust this imporant process to another company and – we’ve been delighted 🙂

The big added advantage for guests, is that we can now offer PROMO codes for returning guests to use – and receive special discounts!

It’s also easy for guests to see the calendar view for an overview of availability.  Alternatively, you can select a date and number of nights required and the availability and room costs are shown.

‘Freetobook’ also approached us to be a case study for their newsletter, where they asked us to share the experience of working with them.  Many of us have big ‘to do’ lists and once you get a job completed, you tick it off and it’s on to the next million and one other things waiting for your time and attention.  It was therefore also a great opportunity for us to stop and pause and appreciate how much value the new booking system can bring to our business.   As an added bonus, the process of being interviewed for the case study gave us the chance to thank them for their invaluable help and assistance (and patience!)

We did look at a number of other providers in our search for a booking system.  However for us there were a number of reasons we choose Freetobook.  I’d already signed up a couple of years prior for their newsletters and felt we’d already built up some ‘history’ with them.  They had a product people liked, which they were developing and enhancing over time, often taking feedback from existing customers.  We felt confident with their product.  The online video tutorials are great and it means you can learn at your own pace and in your own time.  We were fortunate also that before / during / after the process of signing up officially, we were quickly and efficiently supported by email (and occasionally on the telephone).  It’s so important to have this reassurance – as there are always one or two things that crop up that you’re not sure how best to handle.

So thank you Freetobook! – and we’re delighted to be included as one of your case studies.

Please click here to link to case study on Landhaus Lilly!


Happy New Year and Welcome to 2016!

Happy New YearIt’s minus six degrees – it’s almost the New Year – and the local Obertraun band have just visited to play music in our entrance hall … first a few tunes … and then a few drinks …

Our lovely guests were able to wish them all a “Happy New Year” in various languages ?

I hope the schnapps will help keep them warm as they continue on until midnight! ❄❄❄

Click here for a few seconds of video



Landhaus Lilly, Lake Hallstatt – On the telly … in Australia!

Wendy_KenWe were so delighted to meet Wendy and Ken, who visited recently from Australia.  What a fabulous couple!  They were excited to spend time in our lovely area nearby Lake Hallstatt and to explore the sights.

Wendy also mentioned that the reason they had sought us out specifically and had booked so far in advance was that they had seen us on the telly in Australia!  The TV programme, Escape to the Continent,  followed another couple from the UK who were thinking of moving to our region and set up a hospitality business.  At the time, we had only been up and running for 2 1/2 months so it was certainly in the early days!  We were experimenting and finding out what worked for us in running a new business together.  The programme wanted to show what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ in a new B&B with insights that may be helpful to the potential new B&B owners.

During the original TV show we showed some rooms that we hadn’t yet renovated and it looked like a building site.  Over a year later we were able to show Wendy and Ken the totally remodelled room with its additional windows, separate shower room and brand new kitchen and seating area that we now rent as an apartment.

We’re hoping that we will see Wendy and Ken again one day – and very grateful that being ‘on the telly’ brought us together – how wonderful!!



Balcony flowers

IMG_3948 Finally the weather has warmed up and the snow has stopped falling on the local mountains … and we have planted our balcony flowers – the first at Landhaus Lilly …

I’m not sure how large they will all grow (and hopefully I’ll remember to feed and water them) – but for now I’m delighted and look forward to them blooming all summer long (with a bit of luck!)




























BBC’s Escape To The Continent, Salzburg, with Anita Rani – now on Netflix!

Landhaus LillyBeing featured on the new BBC series ‘Escape to the Continent’ was not something we had envisaged – just a couple of months after opening Landhaus Lilly!

We moved in Austria in the summer of 2013 … and by the October we were (apparently!) the ‘local experts’ for Rob and Annette, a couple who were looking to move Austria.  It was quite an experience having the camera crew here, together with Anita Rani the lovely presenter.  We had fun during the filming – and have since welcomed guests here, who saw us on the tv 🙂

Netflix now has the ‘Escape to the Continent’ series available … we’re featured on the Salzburg programme – Happy Viewing!

Anita introduced us to Rob and Annette, who were hoping to move to the area and perhaps set up a B&B or a holiday apartment.  It was exciting to meet them, as they were potentially at the beginning of something new and challenging in their lives and their journey was similar to ours a few years ago…  Like them, we spent many hours (well, actually months and years!) … planning and dreaming and wondering whether we could realise our dream of moving to Austria and running a B&B.

We had our trials along the way – we missed out on a house in Austria we had hoped to buy, then after 5 months our house sale in the UK fell through at the last minute and we feared losing the rental property we had lined up to move to (before the ‘big’ move to Austria).  Then Paul had to have a heart operation … Then, the month before we moved to Austria, thousands of pounds worth of damage was done to the house following the flooding in Europe.  So, to be fair – it hasn’t been ‘plain sailing’ – but I’m sure most people who take up the challenge of moving abroad would perhaps have a similar story to tell.  We were also project managing from afar as we were still working in the UK whilst renovation works took place in Austria.  Paul was very busy with long shifts during the summer due to the Olympics and we were visiting Austria to meet with our project manager and the team of local builders every few weeks … it was a hectic time!

The original old smallholding did have a few B&B rooms, but you would have to use the showers and toilets at the end of the corridor.  We were fortunate that the rooms are a very good size – so we completely renovated and updated them so they now have modern en suite facilities. We wanted to keep some of the original Austrian charm and feel of the house keeping, for example, the carved wooden ceiling in the breakfast room, some carved wooden furniture and wrought iron work.

We wish Rob and Annette every success with their exploring so they too can find a place in Austria that they can call home.  Perhaps like us – they may also have people from all over the world come and visit and marvel at this ‘little piece of heaven’ as some of our guests have described the area!

Flower Power – a nature walk on the doorstep

IMG_3690Various flowers have been emerging recently – in the undergrowth, around the trees, alongside the river and pathways near our house and around Lake Hallstatt.  As we take Leo on his (at least) twice daily walks, it’s been interesting to notice the subtle changes in the surrounding woods and pathways from one walk to the next.  Now, I’m sorry to admit that I do not know much about flowers – especially the Austrian varieties that could be emerging at this time of year in the Salzkammergut area.  So – how fortunate we were to have a lovely guest who happened to mention that she saw an abundance of flowers on her walk at the weekend.  We chatted for a while about her walk and then she kindly volunteered to write down the names of the flowers … and as a bonus, she added a little picture and description too, so I would know what to look for …


So armed with this knowledge I felt a bit like a mini-adventurer on our next walk …  I had a purpose of not just walking the dog and moving a bit – but to see if I could track down some of the flowers as well.  Admittedly we did not go on exactly the same route as our guest – but we did come across some of the flowers and I started to photograph them.  As time when on, however, it was not only the looking for flowers that made the walk so special…


We are pretty familiar now with the route that we took … and the scenery is absolutely spectacular (we have to pinch ourselves regularly to remind ourselves how incredibly fortunate we are to have such dramatic scenery on our doorstep!)  But during this walk I was looking both at the stunning scenery, appreciating the warm sunshine – and also keeping an eye out for things I could capture in a picture.  I started just looking for the flowers that we had spoken about – but there were so many other interesting things that I wanted to capture as well!  So … our nature walk started with a search for flowers – and ended up being about just noticing (and often capturing on camera) anything that seemed potentially interesting.

IMG_3768I’m still on the hunt for the other varieties of flowers and look forward to exploring again soon on future walks.  But a big thank you to our lovely guest for this gift of knowledge about flowers … it’s amazing what a little chat over breakfast can lead to!
























Test flight over Landhaus Lilly …

Geoff… well actually, it was Buzzy the octocopter … guided by Geoff and Liz which flew up, over and around the house – taking video footage on the way!

Panoramic views of our house and the surrounding mountains and river are captured on film – but this is only a test run (we didn’t have snow on the ground and sunshine was nowhere to be seen) … so we hope to have another film-making opportunity soon 🙂

See more of Geoff’s video and timelapse work at























200+ guests from over 30 countries in less than 3 months!

photo (15)It’s amazing … and we can hardly believe it ourselves –

In the space of about 2 1/2 months since opening the doors to Landhaus Lilly, we’ve had over 200 guests from over 30 countries visit us at our new B&B.

We’re fortunate to have lots of lovely comments and encouragement.  We even had a comment in the book from a lovely daughter and her mother from Thailand – and they didn’t even stay here!  They were booked in for one night and we were going to pick them up from the train station.  At the appropriate time, Paul went to collect them … and waited … but there was no sign of them.  I emailed the daughter to make sure they were ok.  Fortunately, they were safe and sound – but still in Salzburg!  She then realised she’d booked the wrong night with us.  Due to us being fully booked on the following evening – we could not accommodate them a day later.  So I managed to find them alternative accommodation – but they still wanted to meet us … and they ended up coming round for tea the following evening … they were delightful!



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