Brahms and Liszt!

Trip Start May 07, 2012
Trip End Jun 06, 2012

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Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Saturday, May 26, 2012

Feels very odd getting a taxi to the station, rather than just crossing the road as usual, but it is unavoidable due to walking distance.  We are on the 09:12 from Ljubljana to Salzburg. The plan is to have a 2 hour stopover in Salzburg before reaching our final destination, Innsbruck, just before 6pm.
The four and a half hour journey goes in a flash – for two reasons: 1. Sebastian and 2. Scenery. Boarded the train and found someone in our compartment stretched out and fast asleep. Waking with a start on our arrival we discovered this was a German guy named Sebastian (aged circa 30) who was travelling back to Bonn from a work trip to Zagreb - a journey time of circa 14 hours!. He is an Agricultural Engineer specialising in monitoring endangered breeds of farm animal. Neither of us had met anyone before who does that for a living…
Anyway no one else joined our compartment so we had an interesting chat with Sebastian for the entire journey about all range of things. He told us he was actually brought up as a child in a fairly remote part of northern East Germany and was able to recall the border fence with barbed wire and watchtowers that prevented movement to the west.
As well as talking to Sebastian for several hours we were really impressed with the scenery as we travelled through Slovenia into Austria. We followed river valleys for virtually the whole journey and as we progressed the mountains increased in size until we had full views of the snow-capped Austrian Alps. We travelled through some of Europe’s finest ski areas but obviously now we’re in May they are all green rather than white, but very pretty all the same.
Got off the train at Salzburg and the station was really busy. Having only 2 hours until our next connection we had to get moving. First job was to ditch our cases in the left luggage lockers. That area was manic and full of people looking for empty ones which didn’t appear to exist. Very fortunate for us we found two which at first didn’t look big enough but just did the trick (managed to squeeze all our belongings in) and headed off to town.
Now here’s a tip for Salzburg. Spend 2 or 3 days there – rather than 2 hours! With a 15 minute walk from the station and then the same back again we ended up having an hour and a half to see everything which ended up being not much more than a cursory glance at some wonderful sights (now we know how our far eastern fellow travellers feel!).  Managed to start by spending some time in the beautiful gardens of the Schloss Mirabell where some of the Sound of Music was famously filmed.
Whilst we were there taking some pics, a Londoner (as we discovered) asked if his wife could take a photo of him and John (no idea why!) – so we took one too. He was a really happy chap who lived in Zurich and couldn’t stop laughing and smiling.
Whilst in the park we saw an amusing incident. An enterprising local wino and his beer-can drinking buddy had rigged up a pole with a piece of card attached to the end so he could scoop up change that people were throwing into the famous fountain for good luck. A local lederhosen attired gentleman walking out with his family was enraged by this and decided to intervene and approached the culprit. We didn’t see how the vociferous argument ended, but we got the drift that the wino’s defence was that he was getting the coins out to throw them back and get even more good luck!
So into town we went with an hour left. Another beautiful city with courtyards, squares and alleyways filled with people. It had the perfect backdrop of snow-capped Austrian Alps which today were surrounded by bright blue cloudless sky. It didn’t assist our timescale that the place was so jam packed that it became difficult to move through the tight small cobbled lanes in the old town. Salzburg is famous for Mozart and we saw his statue, place of birth and the house where he lived and composed most of his music.
The most impressive sight in Salzburg was the Cathedral – a huge structure that dominates the city. As we approached we were fortunate that the bells started ringing and the noise they produced was incredible. We have truly never before heard church bells of the volume and resonance of Salzburg Cathedral and we hope some of this comes across in the video clip.
A quick glance at the watch showed that we had to dash back to the station having completed a whistle stop tour of Salzburg. Glad we used the opportunity to see it but it definitely would need a couple of days to do it justice. Only downside could be the sheer volume of people in the city (tourists and locals) but it was Saturday. We retrieved our luggage from the lockers and arrived on the platform with 5 minutes to spare before our Innsbruck train pulled in.
Another scenic journey between Salzburg and Innsbruck and we arrive (bang on time of course) at 5.51pm. Let’s see what Innsbruck’s like…..
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sandra chapman on

Hi you two glad to see and hear your having a great time sounds wonderful catch up soon san x

Bob Scott on

Hi John and Janet - glad you liked Salzburg. We have had a couple of long weekends there and love it!

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