Europe 2016 - Salzburg
Updated: Jul 12
Instead of flying, I decided to take the train from Munich to Salzburg. Once I figured out how to work the ticketing system to retrieve my prepaid ticket, I grabbed a pretzel and boarded the train. WHOA!!! It was nice! I kept checking to make sure I was in the right car. It felt like first class, which is not what I booked. The seats were spaced out almost like a first class flight. The ride was very smooth, in fact, no seat belts, super fast, and only cost 39 Euro! From Munich to Salzburg was just over an hour. I found the restaurant car and ordered a roll with butter, jam, and a hot tea. It was given to me on a real place setting. Not plastic or paper.
I feel like each country is visit is more beautiful than the last! Once I arrived at the train station, I took a taxi to my hotel. Very cute little spot. I have my own private balcony too.
I took a taxi to Mirabellplatz where I grabbed lunch at an Italian restaurant before my first tour which was the City Tour. There were 9 of us including the guide, Wolfgang. I was the only one who spoke English, so the guide had to say everything in German and then English.
We saw some interesting things including a house that looks like something the Teletubbies would live in. Also, Leopold's castle in front of a man-made lake because he wanted a water view.
Here are pics from just walking around the city and then the tour.
(1st pic: Building on the left is over 600 years old and is part of a row of them. All homes. Built right up to the mountain. Building on the right just looked cool.
2nd pic: Beautiful park with a cafe/bar in it. Cool idea
3rd pic: Random pics from the city tour I did today
4th pic: Teletubbies house
5th pic: Leopold's Castle)
After the City Tour, I went to Mozart's House. You can't really come to Salzburg and not visit Mozart's House. It was also right next to where the tour started and finished.
The tour at Mozart's House was self-guided. I preferred that as I was getting tired from the travel and didn't want to be out too late.
One thing I try to do when traveling is google the best, authentic food to eat in whatever city I am in and where to eat it at. So in Austria, I was looking for the best Austrian food in Salzburg. I was able to check a few things off that list. First up was the The Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher. The Sachertorte was created in 1832 when the Austrian State Chancellor, Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, tasked his kitchen staff with concocting an extraordinary dessert to impress his special guests.
The next day was a double tour day! I boarded the bus for the Salt Mine tour. Oddly enough, I had the same guide as the day before. Once we were all loaded, we had to go into Germany to drop some people off at the Eagle's Nest as they ran out of room on their bus. That was an absolutely terrifying ride!! Up a mountain that is very windy and narrow, only 2 lanes wide in a 45 passenger bus. At one point, one of the front tires was OFF the road, and of course, it was the side I was sitting on. Once we dropped those few people off, we were leaving the parking lot when this woman walked off the curb and right into the side of the bus. She had her head down the whole time, but really, how do you miss a HUGE red bus?? She bounced off the bus right onto the ground. A bunch of us yelled and, Otto the driver, slammed on the brakes. Otto and Wolfgang jumped off the bus to see if she was ok. She just got up and said "I'm ok, I'm ok," and walked off. We then headed back down the mountain to the salt mines.
At the salt mines, they gave us these jumpsuits to wear over our clothes, so our clothes don't get ruined. We boarded this little train that we had to sit on like a horse. At the next stop, in a large cavern, we learned about how the salt was made. We then road a wooden slide down about 3 stories. The slides were built by monks as an easy way to move about the caverns. We then rode another slide that was not as long. We ended up at a crystal lake. Its 100% clear water. It is only 1.2 meters deep, 40 meters wide, and 100 meters long. It reflects the beautiful colors on the ceiling. At that point, we were 130 meters below the ground. We rode across the crystal lake in a wooden boat. From there, we took an elevator back up to the train to return to the start.
(Lovely jumpsuit and the crystal lake)
After lunch in town, we headed back to Salzburg. I quickly got off that bus and onto another for the Sound of Music tour! I met a couple from Ireland on the salt mine tour, and they too were on the Sound of Music tour. For this tour, David was our guide, and Nico was the driver. We drove all over the city seeing the sites from the movie and then out to the countryside. David told us all kinds of interesting info. While part of the movie were filmed there, most was filmed in Hollywood on sound lots. Also, this 1965 movie was not released to be seen in Austria until the 80's. Most Austrians hate this movie for its inaccurate portrayal of Austria. The tour guides must be from England or America because that is where 90% of the guests are from. The tour is also only offered in English.
1st pic: The oldest bridge in Salzburg and also the one they ran across in Do-Re-Me.
2nd pic: The lake used for many scenes like when they fell out of the canoe. But the terrace already built at Leopold's house wouldn't work so they made a new one to the left in the pic just past the trees.
3rd pic: 1 of 3 gazebos used for the movie. This one Hollywood promised to make and leave to the homeowners as a thank you.
4th pic: The wall Julie Andrews walked by to the house singing "I've got confidence"
5th pic: This is the house used in the movie. But only the front and back. All the inside scenes were shot on a Hollywood stage.
6th pic: The Abbey. Still a working abbey to this day.
We then left the city to drive to Mondsee to the real church for the wedding scene. Along the way, we passed the Red Bull Headquarters. I didn't know Red Bull was created in Austria in 1987.
While the Von Trapps didn't get married in the abbey, they used it for the other parts of the movie. They got married in this church in Mondsee. Hollywood used wide angle lenses to make the church look bigger than it is. (2nd pic is the outside, 3rd pic is from the inside). Another item on my "must try" list was apple strudel. As luck would have it, the location of the best apple strudel is at a cafe just outside the church. The server asked if we wanted cream (like a vanilla custard) or ice cream. We couldn't decide, so she brought us both.
While waiting at the bus to leave, this guy comes out of nowhere. He starts doing flips and lands in the field right next to us. Pretty cool.
After visiting this church, we headed back to Mirabell Garden where we got off the bus. David took those of us who wanted to go into the gardens where they filed a lot of DO-RE-ME.
1st pic: They ran around this guy in Do-Re-Me
2nd pic: And this guy too
3rd pic: Look familiar??
4th pic: They ran a lot in Do-Re-Me, including around this fountain
5th pic: The stairs where Julie Andrews slayed those high notes in Do-Re-Me
6th pic: gorgeous sunset
After the tour, the Irish couple I met went with me to Hotel Elefant to get wiener-schnitzel, which was another "must try" item. We ended up just hanging out talking for a few hours. It was a lot of fun. After dinner, we parted ways to our own hotels.
The next morning, I was able to sleep in as it was the first day the whole trip where I had nothing planned. Today, I headed back to Hotel Elefant to check off another food item.
This is the Salzburg Nokerl. Its HUGE!!! It has raspberries under the mounds of meringue.
I left Hotel Elefant to walk to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. They offer a self guided audio tour.
Hohensalzburg Fortress is enthroned on the Festungsberg, high above the rooftops of the Baroque historical district. The biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe, this emblem of Salzburg draws millions of tourists to our "City of Mozart" every year.
1st pic: View from the first level of the Fortress. Yes it's very high up and a LOT of stairs
2nd pic: Don't look down!
3rd pic: At the highest point I could go in the Fortress
4th pic: The "stairs" down
The abbey in the Sound of Music is called the Nonnberg Abbey. Because it is a working abbey still, the tour was not able to stop there. However, David did tell us how to get there. Currently, there are 22 nuns that live at the abbey. It is beautiful.
After visiting the abbey, I walked down the hill into town to wander around some more. I came around the corner to a cheese cart/stand. It smelled amazing. I saw a soft cheese and ask what it is. The woman tells me its beer cheese. Of course, I had to buy some. I then found a cafe to sit at to drink a beer and eat the beer cheese.
Once done, I went back to buy more beer cheese because it was just that good. I then wander around more and listen to the musicians playing.
Another thing on my "must try" list was Tafelspitz at Zum Fidelen Affen. It did not disappoint!! Tafelspitz is boiled veal or beef in broth, served with a mix of minced apples and horseradish. Mine came with creamed spinach and potatoes.
I also had a good beef stew with carrots, strips of pancakes, and a bacon dumpling. And wine! I'm kind of beer'd out.
After that amazing dinner, I took a taxi back to my hotel to pack. Off to Amsterdam next!
The Salzburg airport is very small. It was only 10 minutes from my hotel and took me only 5 minutes to get checked in, check luggage, and get my boarding pass. Even though it is a very small airport, they still tell you to get there at least 2 hours before your flight. So I had 2 hours to kill with nothing to do. I found grapefruit beer and German pretzel and had the rest of the beer cheese from the cart.
The main reason I wanted to go to The Netherlands was to head out to Haarlem and go to the Corrie Ten Boom museum. Corrie wrote the book "The Hiding Place." I read it for the first time in 8th grade. Little did I know that it would be my favorite book that I would re-read often. While on this trip, I read the book every chance I got. I wanted to complete it while on the trip so it was fresh in my mind. I used most of the 2 hours I had to finish reading the book.
At the airport, they had all the passengers board a bus to get to the plane. The bus took us a whole 50 feet LOL
- Wander With Mekela