The City of Salt...

Trip Start Apr 01, 2008
Trip End Jun 30, 2008

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Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Saturday, May 24, 2008

She Says:

So, it's been about 4 days since our last blog entry and in this time we have managed to arrive in Salzburg, find our accommodation, catch about a million buses (that may sound like an exaggeration but yesterday we caught a total of 11), climb a big hill, visit a fortress, some catacombs, go in a giant lift that took us to the top of a mountain, go on a cruise up the Salzach, drink steins at an Augustinien monk brewery, wander around a palace with gardens complete with Trick Fountains, look at some classic cars, go in a cable car up the Untersberg Mountain, visit Burchestgaden, Eagle's Nest, Konigsee and take a cruise up the Konigsee river..... So if that looks like a long sentence it's because it is, and I'm exhausted.

I will now attempt to descibe these experiences in a little more detail so for those of you who are just sick of reading about our trip and wish that those annoying littlle blog notification emails would just be recognised as spam may now stop reading and return to their facebook pages. Ok, Here goes...

We arrived at our accommodation, "Pension Elisabeth" and checked into our room which came with it's own shower facilities. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the room but it was pretty ridiculous. It was a normal hotel/hostel/pension room with two single beds pushed together (I have only seen one proper double bed since we left England) but the ridiculous thing was that the facilities were also in the room. There was a shower in the corner of the room that stepped out pretty much onto the bed complete with wash basin at the side...I guess the saving grace was that it was a shared toilet in a seperate room. Tom and I are close but I don't think anyone would want to be sitting up in bed reading a book whilst their travel partner "uses the facilities". So after laughing at the room setup we took the 15 min walk into the centre of town and made our way to the information centre where we grabbed brochures, maps and "Salzburg Cards" which entitled us to 48 hours of entry into as many of the sites in the brochure and the use of public transport for that time. This cost us 32 Eurros each so we were geared up to get our monies worth. We decided not to activate our cards until the following day so that afternoon we found a wireless hotspot and then went for a walk up Cappuchin Hill (I'm not sure if that's what it's actually called but the Cappuchin Monks live up there so it will do). Now, if you've been reading our blogs religously you will recall my immense love of stairs, well this hill had a lot, so many in fact that about half way up I started to count each group of stairs in a any language I could remember. After I had ran out of languages (this didn't take long) I started to sing my entire repertoire of "Sound of Music" songs which consisted of one song being repeated over and over. Tom was a good sport for a while and joined in but after a while even his patience was wearing thin...We arrived at the top of the hill and took in our surroundings. The view over Salzburg and the fortress was pretty magnificent and well worth the climb.

The next day we went on the funicular railway to the fortress which was also much better than I anticipated. Most of the info was written in German so it didn't take long but we had a good look at everything and once again admired the view. Following that we went to the catacombs which were a series of caves carved out of the cliffside behind Salzburg by early christians. The top of the catacombs once again provided us with another impressive view. After the catacombs we went in a massive lift that took us up the inside of the cliff to the Museum of Modern Art which had a viewing platform at the top with once again another angle to view Salzburg from. That afternoon we went on a 45 min cruise up the Salzach (the river that runs up the middle of Salzburg). The cruise was....ummm...well... we basically went up the river with some strange video with people dressed up like Mozart running through the streets of Salzburg playing and then went down the river to our starting position but not before the boat driver making a joke about the boat learning the Waltz and then proceeding to make the boat spin in circles in the middle of the river. This was all well and good until he thought it would be funny to walk away from the controls while we were spinning in circles which alarmed a man with special needs who then attempted to gain control of the boat, enough said.

The following day we jumped on a bus to Hellbrunn which is referred to as a "Pleasure Palace". We had a look through the palace and then went on a tour through the Trick Fountains that consisted of a whole bunch of fountains built by the Archbishop to play practical jokes on his guests. What we found particularly hilarious was the fact that people did not pick up on the fact that if the ground is wet around them it was highly possible that they too were about to get wet. After the tour we made our way through the surrounding palace gardens where we saw the gazebo used in the Sound of Music and a whole lot of classic cars about to partake in some sort of rally through the streets of Salzburg. After the palace we made our way to the Untersberg cable car to take a trip up the mountain. We were hoping that the clouds may have cleared up for us but they hadn't. Upon arrival I inspected the cable car that was to take us up this mountain. So to give you a little snapshot of what we were facing - the length of the trip was about 2500 or so metres, the average gradient was 50% with a maximum of 80% and the height of the mountain was almost 1900 metres....I was terrified (see photo). The worst part had to be when we got up in the clouds and could see nothing but white. So seeing that there was no view, it was freezing and there was snow everywhere we took a few photos up at the and then settled into the restaurant for some lunch. Once I had my feet back on solid ground at the base of the mountain we made our way back to Salzburg and visited the Augustinian monk brewery for a well earned beer...even I had one.

So that brings us to yesterday... So first things first we hop on our first bus to town, then another to Berchtesgaden, another to Dokumentacion and another to Eagle's Nest which I like to call Hitler's house. Once again the cloud was thick and so was the snow. The last but was supposed to be one of the most scenic in Europe, I wouldn't know, all I saw was white. At the top it was much the same story. Although I must say that walking down a (freezing) tunnel and taking an elevator to the top was pretty impressive. Disappointingly there was not much to see up there as they lease it out to a restaurant, the only parts with information were in German and you were not allowed off of the terrace "at risk of death" because of the snow. So we had some lunch in the restaurant and made our way back to Berchtesgaden. At Berchtesgaden we visited the information centre where Tom found a brochure on some lake cruises which looked like a nice way to spend the afternoon. So after asking for directions we finally got on a bus (don't get me started on the German bus system, drivers and lack of information). We made our way through a tourist strip down to Konigsee Lake and boarded the cruise. It was amazing...I'm not even going to attempt to describe it but you will see in the photos. Both Tom and I think that it is the most beautiful place we've seen.

So after all that we caught the 5 or so buses back to Salzburg and had our last dinner sitting outside of a cafe (it finally warmed up....on our last night of course). That brings me to this morning as we travel by train to Munich and see the impressive mountain backdrop of Salzburg for the first time (yes, we are leaving and the clouds have disappeared).

Hope everyone is well and I apologise for the length of this blog there was just so much to tell.

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