Tuesday, September 21
Check out of Hotel Jedermann
Travel via train to Salzburg
Check into Hotel Pension Adlerhof
Directions: From the Hauptbahnhof, take the main exit and walk straight ahead.
Wednesday, September 22
Notes from the day:
Catacombs of St. Peter
Hellbrunn – water gardens, Sneaky Archbishop has them designed to shoot water at people
Oldest Restaurant in Europe – Stiftskeller St. Peter – serving patrons since 803!!
Thursday, September 23
Check out of Hotel Pension Adlerhof
Notes from the day: Left bags at hotel and took the bus to the Monchsberglift (very hard to find – under construction), and the Stiegl Brewery.
We boarded the train in Munich and set off for Salzburg, Austria! We loved riding the trains through Europe. The ride was so smooth, and the system is incredibly efficient. It was certainly a treat to be able to sit back, relax and watch the countryside fly by.
Salzburg was one of our favorite cities on our whole trip. We instantly fell in love with it. The Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates the city skyline, and personally, I couldn’t wait to see my husband experience his first castle.
I’ve been in love with all things Medieval, especially castles, for as long as I can remember. My husband and I share those feelings. In college, I visited my first “real” castle in Spain. I remember the magic of it, and I couldn’t wait to not only experience that again here in Austria but to share that with him as well.
As I mentioned in the post about Munich, each major city we went to has an elaborate mass transit system. Salzburg was great because it offered a Tourist Card that was valid for 48 hours and included free access to the bus system, in addition to other “touristy” deals at different shops, etc.
Our first stop after checking into the hotel was the Tourist Information Booth to get a free local map and purchase the Tourist Cards. Because we were traveling after 9/11, and because of the way some Americans are portrayed, some travelers choose to pretend they are from Canada. We had decided against such a tactic. We made sure we didn’t have any American flags prominently displayed, but we weren’t going to pretend to be from somewhere we weren’t. In front of us in line at the Tourist Information Booth was a couple that was obviously from the southern United States. I’m pretty good at judging accents, and by my calculations, they were probably from Kentucky. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) What made it comical was that they both wearing Canada Flag T-Shirts, Canada Flag Hats, and they had swatches on their backpacks depicting the Canadian flag.
I highly doubt they’d ever been to Canada, let alone were such ambassadors.
The woman was chatting with them, and we heard them say they were from Canada. She asked them if she could help them, and the man said, “Y’all gotta map of the city?”
My hubby and I grinned at each other. That was the funniest Canadian accent we’d ever heard.
The woman said, “Yes, I have a map for you,” and the man said, “Can I take a gander at it?”
She replied, “I’m sorry? A what?”
We could tell that the woman spoke pretty good English, but she was trying to figure out what a male goose had to do with this man’s request for a map.
After getting our map and Tourist Card, we set out on our explorations. We had the rest of the day and a full day the next to see what we wanted to see of Salzburg. We were even able to do some sightseeing on the day we checked out of the hotel before catching our next train.
Salzburg’s mass transit is a system of busses. After becoming familiarized with a similar system in Munich, it was easy to figure out where we needed to go and how to read the schedule. Each stop included an automated voice announcing where we were. At first, it all just sounded like a melodic blur, but after a while, I was able to pick out that the woman’s voice was saying, “Next stop…and the street name.” It sounded so calming in German, “Nashta halt Keeezl….Nashta halt Mirabell platz.”
[Speaking of Mirabell Platz…here are the Gardens of Mirabell Palace. You can see the Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background.]
The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg. Does this look familiar?
Also, by the time we got to Salzburg, we were comfortable with not being able to really understand most of the signs around us. When you’re submersed in your everyday life, you take such things for granted. I remember going to the grocery store after our trip and leaning over to my husband and saying, “I can read every single sign here, and those women over there? They’re not talking about us.”
Salzburg is known for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and we were able to tour his birthplace. As I mentioned before, there is a huge castle overlooking the city. The day we explored the castle was one I will never forget. It’s amazing how much history can be in one place.
[Photos of the first castle we explored as a couple!]
We also took the bus to the outskirts of town and toured Hellbrunn, a palace that was created by a sneaky Archbishop who liked to surprise his guests by dousing them with water at inopportune times via hidden fountains. On the day we toured the grounds, there was a school group in front of us. We were smart enough to not stand (or sit) where the ground was already wet, a sure sign that you’d get sprayed. The school kids were oblivious to the tell-tale signs and would screech when the fountains shot out of nowhere and splashed them with water.
Hellbrunn is also home to the famous gazebo where Liesl and Franz met and she sang, “I am sixteen going on seventeen.” My hubby isn’t a big Sound of Music fan, but that song was stuck in my head the whole day. Thankfully, I resisted the urge to dance around the gazebo leaping from bench to bench.
[A dog statue that caught our eye.]
That night, we had the opportunity to eat at the oldest restaurant in Austria, the Stiftskeller St. Peter. It’s on record for serving meals in 803!! That still boggles my mind. It was a little challenging to find, because it was the only time that I thought my hubby had the map in his pocket, and he thought I had the map in my pocket, and in reality, the map was back at the hotel. (Believe me, that didn’t happen again…) We found a nice woman who was closing up her tourist shop and she gave us excellent directions. (I figured that her English would be sufficient if she dealt with tourists all day.) The winding streets and alley ways made it very confusing, but we were able to follow her, “Oh, you go left, left, left, right, left, right, and it’s just down there,” directions. The food was amazing, and the ambiance superb.
On the day we left Salzburg, we were able to check out of our hotel and leave our bags behind the front desk so that we could do a little more exploring before catching our next train. The trip to Vienna was going to be a much shorter train ride than the ones previously, so we had time to tour the Stiegl Brewery and a little more of the city before heading out!
The time we spent in Salzburg was absolutely magical, and we vowed to return someday.
Next stop, Vienna, Austria!