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!

Still loads more to do … and then the water arrives!

Leo in puddles
Leo in puddles

The whole of Europe is flooded – including our new house!  The cellar is full to the ceiling and the remaining oil in the oil tank have now mixed with the water in the cellar – so it needs to be removed by contamination specialists.  Obviously, this is not great news when we’re supposed to be opening in a matter of weeks.  The boiler is totally kaput as well.  Everything needs drying out and hopefully it can be refurbished somehow … this is not cheap and has not budgeted for.

We arrived for a scheduled visit to Austria to review progress just days after the flood.  On arrival, we saw the tanker taking away the contaminated oily water.

This is the new pond in the garden a few weeks after the flooding.

Work marches on …


Work marches on … both for us in the UK … and for the builders in Austria …

There are decisions to make – what should stay and what should go?  We want to have a mix of the old and the new so we keep some heart in the building.  But much of it is too old or damaged to keep – so more skip fodder.

We select triple glazed windows – making new windows where there were once walls, blocking up other doors to make windows and moving doors and windows around.

We need to select a colour for our new home – decide on the best insulation and options for how this is put around the building (some inside, some outside).

There are bedrooms to plan, with the new en suite bathrooms to design and choose, new electrics with lights and socket placements all-important.  What about curtains, bedding, furniture, floor and wall coverings.  There are kitchens to design as well … the list seems endless – and we do much of it remotely whilst we’re still working in the UK.  It’s a busy time!

Another visit … and the deal is ON and work has STARTED

The windows are out
The windows are out

After many negotiations, we agreed on a price and timescales for works.  The plan is to be open for the beginning of August – a very ambitions plan… so the work starts immediately (even before the paperwork has been done for the purchase and before we have a mortgage in place.  Some would say rather foolhardy – and we would probably agree!)





Back again … lots more thinking still to do …

Could this be the one
Could this be the one

The snow is still on the ground when we we take another visit to see our possible purchase.  Who knows if we can get the mortgage, do the works that are required and open and run a B&B in the space of a few months?

It all looks a bit different in the snow as well.  The house is being heated to make sure it doesn’t freeze completely – but you still need your coat and hat on indoors!

Seems surreal that we are thinking of leaving the UK with secure, stable jobs and try something out that we’ve never done before.




Could this be ‘the one’?

The first visit
The first visit

The first time we saw the house was when we visited the area in autumn of 2012.  We weren’t sure if our plans would work … we would have to go away and do our calculations and come back and see what we could do …

We’d been really disappointed a few months earlier when another house in the area was sold, before we could sell our house in the UK.  It seemed like everything else was falling into place – but it wasn’t to be.

So we continued the search and specifically focussed this time on the village of Obertraun on Lake Hallstatt.  Beforehand we had a wider search area but for us, nothing seemed to compare to the peace and quiet, the local attractions of Hallstatt, the lake, the Krippenstein mountains – and opportunities to walk, hike, cycle and ski – all on the doorstep!



EnglishGermanChinese (Simplified)CzechFrenchHungarianItalianKoreanPolishRussianSpanish