Spontaneous Salzburg

Trip Start Jan 27, 2009
Trip End May 15, 2009

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Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gruss Got! And welcome to another entry of my travel blog.
It is my last free weekend in Linz, and after having worked for the past 12 days straight in the lab, it was time for a day off. As I lounged about my room in my PJs, I get a sms (enough to make me jump, considering the scarcity whilst here) asking "Do you have plans today?"
The response was a resounding no, and 20 minutes later Constanze and I had plans to visit Salzburg. Somewhere along the planning route we picked up some others, Memed and Hugo, and we trotted off to the train station. The tickets aren't so cheap, but I used my <26 card to go for only 10 euros (half price) for a one hour train ride.  At the other end, we hopped on a bus and headed out to 'Hellbrunn'.
Before going any further, let me just comment briefly on the arrival to Salzburg. The train station was old, and looked pretty dingy. But as soon as you stepped outside, the buildings were much more exciting and the surrounding greenery! It was really beautiful.
The bus ride through Salzburg showed us more amazing buildings, old streets, and exciting scenery. And in the distance loomed the impressive alps, somehow both threatening and serene. We also crossed the river, which is not the Danube as in Linz, but the Salzach river and along its shores were scores of people enjoying the sunshine. I guess in lieu of a beach, it would do :P
We arrived at Schloss Hellbrunn, and purchased tickets which were only 4.50 (for students) and included an audio guided-tour of the castle. I found this place less impressive than Schonbrunn, for example, but it also felt more real. A lot more of the inhabitant's personalities remained, as it hadn't been totally re-decked for tourists. It also had some really pretty views outside, although you couldn't look down over Salzburg as you would be able to from Hohensalzburg Fortress .
After the approximately 25 min walk through, we headed out to the real attraction - the Wasserspiel, or 'trick fountains'.  Constanze had been before, and knew what to expect, but she kept quiet until we had gone in and sat at the first exhibit. The guide asked some children to come forth as volunteers, and sit on some stools around a large stone table. He was explaining about the summer night parties that would be held here when he reached over a flicked a switch for when the guests get 'too rowdy'... and there were sprays of water everywhere! The poor children got a hose up the bum as some of the fountains came up through the stools. Well actually they seemed to enjoy themselves, I guess that's why the kids came. So we continued walking through the castle grounds, enjoying the water displays and trying to avoid being tricked by the guide as best we could. Despite being shielded once or twice by Constanze or an unwilling child, I still eventually got a big spray in the ham and across my stomach. Fortunately it was the most beautiful spring day, so we dried off quickly enough.
After the tour of the water features, we headed out into the park which had a beautiful pond/lake, containing very large fish, and some really beautiful trees. I also happened to witness the largest tulips I have ever seen.
This wander finished as we found ourselves back at the castle entrance again, where we purchased our souvenirs and ice creams. We wanted to grab some 'salzburger knockerl', a dessert the area is known for, but we were unable to obtain it here (from the description, it is similar to Pavlova). So we hopped on the bus back to town, where we got off several stops early to wander through the shopping streets. We did eventually find the special dessert, but it was a whopping 12 euros and how about no way no how dudes!!
Before too much wandering occurred, we stopped for a tasty lunch and wrote on our newly obtained postcards. It was a late lunch but it was just the right size and I think everyone enjoyed their meals.
So we wandered the shopping streets, found the Mozarthaus, and looked at some permanent Christmas stores! Unable to find a good dessert or whatever else of interest, we headed back over the river and walked towards the train station. We were fortunate enough to be deafened by the evening bells, and we also got to see more old and interesting buildings. So, although it was a spontaneous trip to Salzburg, it was a really beautiful and fun day! Thanks, Constanze!
So all I have to say about Salzburg is that it was incredibly picturesque, and for god sakes if I hear one more person singing about the hills being alive with the sound of music...
I swear I'll join in, knowing exactly how they feel! ;)
Until next time, tschuss!
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