Panoramic view of Bad Gastein
Photo story Austria

A Cure for Wellness.

The beauty of decay - transient snapshots of Bad Gastein.

My excitement for places like Bad Gastein must have come from movies like “Grand Budapest Hotel” or “A Cure for Wellness”. Glamorous luxury hotels in front of an impressive mountain backdrop plus the visible decay, which makes one feel like being in a lost place. That’s just my thing!

I have figured out the historical development of Bad Gastein as follows (corrections are welcomed in the comments section, lol):

Tourism established in the Gastein Valley at the turn of the 19th-20th century, when the nobility started to spent their summer months in the mountains. Luxurious hotels were built and people flocked in search of rest and health.

During the world wars and in the post-war period, of course, cure and vacation were out of question, although the people certainly needed time for a rest.

Later, with the economic revival and the improvement of living conditions, a change in travel behavior set in. In summer, people were more and more drawn to the Mediterranean regions and so the Gastein Valley focused on winter tourism. Ski slopes, cable cars and more hotels were built, cause the old ones didn’t come up to the new demands (for example in terms of the heating system). The old luxury hotels had had their days and were falling into disrepair…

A bouquet of flowers behind a window of Hotel Mirabell

But now something is happening again. Due to the “boom” in the field of spa and wellness-travel (and not least due to the corona crisis, which made traveling abroad difficult and made people more aware of the beauty of their own surroundings), you can almost feel a kind of gold rush atmosphere in Bad Gastein. Many of the old hotels are being extensively renovated, with scaffolding and investors defining the townscape.

Some of my pictures are dated back to 2018 when I visited Bad Gastein for the first time. Some of these motifs couldn’t be produced in this way today, because they simply no longer exist.

Life is change! I can feel it clearly in this place.

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