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ATTERSEE IS IN a region called the Salzkammergut, which is about two and a half hours from Vienna, Austria. There are several lakes in the area, but this is the biggest. It’s long, not too wide, very deep (people even go diving there), and nestled in a beautiful spot. It has this turquoise color, which is why some people call it the Caribbean of Austria. It’s really known for the quality of water; it’s drinking quality. You’re not allowed to have a boat with an engine because they don’t want the lake to get polluted.

So there’s all the lake activity, but you can also go hiking. There are traditional Austrian gardens right on the water, then forest, and the mountains behind. A classic forest — think of “Hansel and Gretel.” There’s no advertising, no billboards. It’s very visually clean in that sense. There aren’t tons of hotels. It’s more for Austrians, mostly returning visitors.

A friend of mine inherited a house that’s now a pension called Hanslmann. It’s been in the family for 250 years, and probably 60% of her guests are repeat visitors who come every year. She has a daughter and son, and the guests bring their kids, so the kids kind of grow up together. It’s part of the summer tradition. My family and I spend at least five days there. You just feel at home. It’s the nature, the food — lots of amazing farmers from the region provide super fresh produce. The breakfast is incredible. In Austria you have the best bread in the world, if you ask me: There’s a huge variety, from really dark whole wheat bread to the rolls — kaiser rolls, semmel. I like sunflower seed bread the best. You have the jam, you have the cheese, the fresh eggs — but there are a lot of Middle Eastern influences too, like feta and eggplant. Once a week for dinner, they have what we call Steckerlfisch, a local fish grilled on a stick over fire.



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Attersee is very unpretentious and very low-key. But the last time I was there, there were famous Austrian artists and actors. Vivienne Westwood used to go there. Gustav Klimt went every summer — most of his landscape paintings were made there. Gustav Mahler, the composer, had a little cabin that’s still there where he would work. It’s beautiful. It’s a room right at the lake with a piano. Many artists still go there. It’s very inspiring. You feel like you can really get away from things.


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Natasha Stanglmayr Photographer

Natasha Stanglmayr is a New York–based photographer. Her work has a documentary approach to travel and portraiture, with natural light as her driving force. She was born in Beirut, raised in Vienna, and spent her summers in Honduras with family. Her global upbringing and extensive travels have made her comfortable in a wide variety of cultures and locations. She brings an unfiltered, authentic, and unscripted point of view to her audience.


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