Saturday, September 27, 2008
Salzburg, Austria - Mother Superior was not kidding when she said "Climb every mountain"
Wednesday, September 24
If it hasn't already been said Haus Linder is much more than a hostel, a high end bed and breakfast would be a better way to put it. Off our balcony we had a panoramic view of Salzburg, not a bad way to start the day. The breakfast was very good but again... no hot food. We were the only ones in there besides the owner who made us a nice breakfast of breakfast rolls with jams, cheese, juice, coffee, and the best salami we'd had. It was sliced super thin and had a nice peppery flavor. She and her family were off to church service as it was a local holiday celebrating St. Rupert, also the name of her husband she told us. He was the founder of Salzburg and it's a huge deal... we didn't know how huge just yet. We went back to the room to shower and pack up. Our room had a private shower that was kind of funny, it was like stepping into the closet with a bi-fold, sliding door.
When our hosts returned, we thought it was time to pay for our night and head out for the day. Heather opened the door and said "holy blonde kids!" She had her grandkids upstairs with her in the kitchen, about five or six of them, all blonde haired. One of the girls was eating chocolate and offered one to Heather, who is never one to turn down a chocolate. Heather also got put to work for a moment working the phones with an australian guy on the line our host could not understand. After a walk back down the hill and hopping on the train we were off to the main area of town.
We arrived back at the main station and put our backpacks into a storage locker for the day. With a map in hand we set off to find the Mirabell gardens, made famous in the movie The Sound of Music during the "Do Ri Me" song. Along the way what did we find? If you guessed gelato you'd be right. Much to our suprise its the cheapest yet, 80 cents for a cone. We were sold. Charlie got a chocolate flavor and Heather got cookies. Apparently cookies means every good flavor you can think of because this cone was unreal. This was another one of those flavors we could spend paragraphs describing and still not really do it justice.
We came upon the enterance to Mirabell park, and at first, weren't that impressed. Walking up a small hill reveled a beautiful rose garden, and down a few stairs, a huge well maintained flower garden. The Mirabell Garten was pristine. Most interesting was a house on the grounds that one of the archbishops built for his secret wife (naughty, naughty). Oh and they had 15 children!!
Crossing over the Salzach river bridge we happened on a HUGE festival! It was of course the St Rupert's day festival. It took up all the streets with food, drinks, beer tents, and rides including a REAL pony merry-go-round. We sampled a few things like pastries, real honey in various flavors and plum schnapps. We toured the beautiful Dom de Salzburg cathedral, dedicated to St Rupert and St Virgil. The cathedral was bombed and mostly destroyed in WW2 reopening May 1, 1959, seeing the renovations were beautiful. We both really liked this church in a way we couldn't explain, it just felt special.
Next item on the list: The Sound of Music. Yes, Heather has been singing constantly! We found out the tours were 37 Euros... a bit out of our price range. We decided to try to see as much of the sites from the movie on foot.
We ended up walking too far around the hill/mountain and realized we were close to the Nonnburg Abby. This was really quite a hike up the hill but we were not about a to let a guy in his 70s in front of us beat us up!! The abby was very small and honestly not that recognizable from the movie. But how often do nun's lie so we believed that it was what they said. Next we just kept heading up the hill looking for "the thing that does the walking for you" to get up to the top and see the Hohensalzburg castle. Well seems we were much further up than we thought, we were too high up to catch them and had to walk all the way up... this was something we vowed NOT to do because too much walking makes us useless at night and for getting up in the morning. Ughh this was hard, by far the hardest "climb every mountain" we've done. However far you think the climb is when you see the pictures just add 30 minutes of 90 degree grade climbing and you'll be in our shoes.
The castle was very interesting and we had high hopes because this was our first castle. We found the only way to go through the actual castle was to go on a guided tour. We were given little devises that described what we saw in each room. The first room was pictures of all the archbishops who had lived in the castle over time and models of the castle as it was added to over the years. On to the torture chamber! Oh this is going to be exciting right?!?! Nahh it's just called that, no one was ever tortured there, just shackled. Torture is a way to get a confession out and no one could be convicted unless they confessed to a crime, so with no court in this castle: no torture. Up a lot of spiral stairs to the very top of the castle to a look out point. Wow we thought we had good views this morning at the B&B, this was breath taking. There were a few clouds around the mountains but the pictures will speak for themselves. Next we walked down a very long hall that lead us to an old organ. This organ was in a room to itself and was used to wake up the people in the castle, not really to be played... actually it didn't even have a keyboard. It should be noted that this is not a "King and Queen" castle, just one for archbishops. Okay so we turned in our little things that talked and thought... ummm that's all we got to see? We weren't the only ones feeling a bit short changed. We wondered more into other building and saw some of the bishops bedroom chambers, an example of a kitchen and other artifacts. We also again thought it would be so much more interested if it had still be set up in the original form. We found out later the castle had been taken over and looted by Napoleon and it's rumor that the art and furniture had been used in fires to keep warm. It's also rumored that if you tour some french museums you might see a thing or two that does in fact belong to Austria. The castle we should also add was freezing! Charlie enjoyed looking at cannons (total boy thing to do). There was a kind of strange area that had a marionette museum. If you ask us, they are creepy but we paid to get in and looked at everything to get our money's worth. We took advantage of the "machine that does the walking for us" down the mountain. Ughh it was packed and made even more packed by two older germans squeezing in who maybe hadn't been introduced to the concept of soap. It was a long 60 seconds down the mountain.
It was nearly 3pm and we were starving. Salzburg seems to be a very reasonably priced town until you are starving and can't find anything that is either open in the mid-day break or in our price range. We settled on a place called Republic which had free wi-fi and beer, prefect. We each had a wiezen beer. Ok we are going to talk about food again so be ready. Charlie had a chicken and chili sauce wrap with a great mixed salad. Heather had a pasta that was a bit of a surprised when it was set down. The spaghetti pasta was nearly black. It was dyed with squids ink which gave it a really rich/light flavor. The pasta was topped with... we're not sure but it tasted like if you combined a tomato/potato/pumpkin with a crisp piece of fried thin cheese and a chili sauce. Yum, we love new food and this was too good not to welcomed into the clean plate club.
After eating it was back to the festival to see what's new to eat and drink. Heather asked a nice looking couple what they were drinking and they only could say "the best." Better try that then. It was kind of like a fruity pink sparkling liquor/juice. A bit too sweet for our taste but fun to try a glass of. With a bavarian pretzel in tow we headed back to the train station to pick up our bags and head over to our Austrian host's place.
Getting our bags out the locker was a little drama because the machine broke and we had to describe what was in there but it turned out fine. We're now off to find Thomas' place (our Austrian host) which we decided on by looking at the map "didn't look too far." Actually it wasn't too far this time but the but you can double your journey with backpacks on. We got a bit confused by the way the number of the building and apartment were written in the address: 20/9... which is which?? We went to the wrong place with a woman who would open her door to us but assured us Thomas was not there... guess we looked a bit sketchy since it was pouring out. We did then find Thomas' place but with some issues with the door bell we sat outside his apartment from 7pm-8pm. Finally we left him a note saying to contact us and headed back into town not having a clue where to sleep tonight. As we got about a block away footsteps came from behind and an out of breath Thomas said.... "are you Heather and Charlie?"
Thomas had been out on his balcony and not heard us ring or knock on the door but when we finally gave up and walked away in the rain he saw us and chased us down. We couldn't be more relieved or impressed by his HUGE brand new apartment. Everything was custom and gorgeous, pretty impressive for a single guy. We sat up and talked a while over a beer. We had our own room!!! Later that night another girl from the US came and took the couch but we didnt meet her till the morning.
Being cold, soaking wet and very grateful to have a place to stay we slept quite well.