Fall Vacation, Part 1 - Stranded in Salzburg

Trip Start Apr 15, 2003
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Hi everybody!
For our two week vacation this year we decided to go to Slovenia and Croatia. These are 2 countries that have become quite popular with Europeans again - as they were prior to the wars and other events that separated the former Yugoslavia into several countries. We thought it would be a good time to go - before these countries became too popular - but we might have been a bit late!

It's a 14 hour drive from Amsterdam to Slovenia, so we decided to stop for a night in Salzburg along the way. We've been to Salzburg before and enjoyed it. Unfortunately we had car trouble on the way down and became stranded in Salzburg for the entire weekend. Granted, there are far worse places to be "stranded", but it was still not the best start to a vacation.

Aside from spending time on the phone trying to work out how to get our car fixed and get a replacement car so we could continue our journey, we did a few fun things as well. Melanie went on the Sound of Music tour, which is a bus ride around parts of Salzburg and the surrounding hill country where the movie was filmed. She saw the houses used for the front and back of the von Trapp mansion (two different houses), the church where they were married (in the movie), the 16 going on 17 gazebo, the abbey (from afar), and the trees from which the children hung in their drapery clothes. Along the way we learned some tidbits relative to what parts of the story were true and which were liberties taken by Oscar and Hammerstein, saw some beautiful Austrian countryside, and rode a summer luge. What the summer luge has to do with the Sound of Music, we have no idea, but it was still fun.

From that tour Melanie got two great recommendations for other ways to fill our unexpected Salzburg time. The St. Augustine monestary brews beer and hosts Salzburg's biggest beer garden. It also hosts several independent food kiosks - sort of like a very old food court - which sell bread, meats, pretzels, sweets and other typically Austrian beer hall food. We went to one stall to buy rolls and the next stall to buy the ham to put on the rolls to make a sandwich. This was a nice late lunch to start a day of wandering around the Salzburg old town.

On Sunday, after it became clear we really weren't going to be able to leave town that day, we took a bus out of town to a cable car which took us to the top of a mountain where there were stunning views of the surrounding Alps and several hiking trails. The ride on the cable car was thrilling in itself as the angle of ascent changed dramatically as we passed each cable tower.

On our way to the bus, we heard interesting music coming from a church and happened into a Croatian festival. The festival included people dressed in traditional clothing playing traditional music as part of the church service. In the church parking lot there were several tables of homemade typically Croatian sweet and savory snacks. We were encouraged to try as many as we'd like. There was no charge, but we were welcome to give a small donation if we wanted! The snacks were really delicious, but also very high in fat (one was deep fried dough), so we were happy to be hiking afterwards.

On Monday morning we were up bright and early to have the car at the garage by 7:30 am. By noon it was fixed enough to continue on. With great anticipation and excitement we headed to Ljubljana.

Stay tuned for more happy travels!
Melanie and Chris

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Where we stayed: Renaissance Hotel. The staff here was incredibly nice and understanding given that we were never sure if we were staying on another day until mid-afternoon. The breakfast buffet was enough for the whole day.

Where we ate:
* Zum Guten Hirten. This was a terrific local restaurant a short walk away from town from our hotel. It was out of the way from the tourist route and filled with locals eating typically Austrian fare. We liked it so much we ate here twice (or was it 3 times?!)
* Augustiner Braustubl. We ate here twice as well. The beer garden is huge, the ambiance terrific, and if all you want is a sandwich and a beer there's no place better!

* Cable Car to Mountaintop. Take the #25 bus from the Mirabelleplatz. Allow a full afternoon (or even better, a full day) to take the bus, then the cable car and do some hiking once there.
* Sound of Music Tour
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