Our three-month stint in Europe quickly morphed into a sole month remaining on the calendar. Much as we liked to fly by the seat of our pants, we came to the realization that planning would be key to fitting in some not to miss sights on our wish list. At the beginning of the trip we had booked the least expensive airfare: a round trip into Milan, Italy. While we would have preferred to fly into one country and out of another, the fact remained that we needed to end up in Milan for our flight home. After many hours of planning, and numerous e-mails to proprietors, we secured a chalet in the Eiger village of Grindelwald, Switzerland and a small apartment in the heart of Lake Como, Italy. To connect the dots we headed to Austria!
The train ride from Munich to Salzburg takes about an hour and a half. Arriving in Salzburg’s railway station, the Hauptbahnhof, we made our way across town, on foot, in search of a specific inn we had scoped out online ahead of time. It might seem daunting to some, but it has now become second nature to us to be able to make our own way in unfamiliar territory. The only room left at the inn turned out to be a large room for a family of at least four. Tired, and further convinced (by the telltale look of closed restaurants on the way) that some sort of holiday was in full swing, we decided to bite the bullet and not have to try to find other accommodations. The prior guest’s bags were still in the room but the innkeeper assured us there would be no problems and we dropped our luggage and headed out. So here we are in Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, with a backdrop of the eastern Alps and the setting for the famous movie the Sound of Music.
Salzburg is divided into two very distinct parts, Old Town and New Town, separated by the Salzach River.
From our accommodations near the old town our plan was to explore the medieval area of the city and that’s just what we did! We were immediately captivated when walking about a mile we came upon a tunnel that leads into the old city. As we exited the tunnel we noticed that the hill forms a half circle around the river, one would presume to provide natural protection from attacks back in the day.
We walked through the streets enjoying the old architecture and cobblestone roads. The street vendors were out in force and we enjoyed the local fares and festivities.
On top of a steep hill sits Hohensalzburg Castle, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. To concentrate on the break-taking views of Salzburg and the Alps on the near perpendicular climb, we paid around eleven euro each for a fifty-four second ride on the funicular to the top.
We toured the fortress including the battlements, a reckturm, and the museum. We also found a marionette museum and spent some time comparing medieval entertainment to present day.
The next day, after a thirsty walk along the river, we ducked into the Augustiner Bräustübl for well-earned refreshments. The Bräustübl, complete with a food court, is Austria’s biggest beer tavern! The Augustinian Brau brews its beer in accordance with the purity law (1516) and is made by hand of just malt, water, hops and yeast, and is completely free of preservatives.
The place has a local feel to it and so as not to look like complete tourists we paused to watch how it was done before we entered the beer line. First you select your stone stein from the wall, rinse it out under the fountain in the center, and then hand your mug to the server at the tap who fills it and hands it back for you to pay at the register. Having already wet our whistle in Munich, we knowingly made our way to one of the large rooms filled with people to find a communal table. After that we went in search of food and found some amazing sausages and a couple of pretzels. Prost!!
We spent two nights in Salzburg and loved every minute of it!
Visited April 2015
Next stop: Innsbruck