A Day in Austria

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
Trip End May 18, 2013

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Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Thursday, December 20, 2012

The second organised tour we decided to take whilst in Munich was a trip to Salzburg. Again, we are not big fans of organised tours but sometimes they suit our needs. This was the case with this trip – we had some extra days in Munich which we were looking to fill and we wanted to visit this town which we had heard so much about. The good thing about the tour was that it gave us free time to ourselves in the city after the guide had shown us the major sites.

Salzburg is a two hour, relaxing train ride from Munich. It is so beautiful that it has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, of course it is famous for being the home town of Mozart and the setting for the movie -The Sound of Music. I am still amazed that Steve has not seen this movie (especially when I think of all of the movies which he has seen!) Anyway, I know that he will view it as soon as we get back to Australia.

Our guide, Maxine, from Radius Tours was really friendly and informative. She even had her own Sound of Music soundtrack which she played at 'important' sites. This made us cringe a bit at the time, but, looking back on it, I guess it did add to the fun!

The town is just over the Austrian border, and is almost totally surrounded by snow capped Alps which make it so picturesque. Of course, it has all of the usual landmarks which old European cities have, including cathedrals, Piazzas, and upmarket shops, but towering above all of this is the breathtaking 900 year old fortress Festung Hohensalzburg. We caught a cable car to the top for some fantastic photographic opportunities.

At Maxine’s recommendation we had lunch at what is apparently the oldest restaurant in Europe – St Peter Stiftskeller. It has been around since 803 AD. Well worth going to if you are in this part of the world. There is also a beautiful little cafe up in the fortress, which we didn’t try (because we had already eaten). We wished we had time – at least for a drink there – solely because the views from its windows were so magnificent.

It was surprisingly warm the day we were there (for winter) but this did not take away from the old world atmosphere of the place. Of course, they had their own Christmas Market which we had to explore – I could never get tired of walking through these markets! They are also always in the old town square so they are almost impossible to avoid, even if one wanted to.

The train ride back into Munich was quiet as everyone from the tour seemed tired after the day of exploring. We continue to be amazed at how close everything is in Europe – two hours in a train (stopping at most stations along the way) or less than one hundred kilometres down the road and you are likely to find yourself in another country!

Can’t wait for the re-runs of The Sound of Music – I will view it from a whole different perspective next time around!
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