The Hills are Alive...

Trip Start Sep 17, 2010
Trip End Oct 17, 2010

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Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 11 - Salzburg:
Got up 8:30ish, packed, ate and was on my way. 9:42 train. A fairly short trip. Got off the train and wandered around a bit. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, so I ended up at the info center. I got a ticket for the Sound of Music tour and she told me how to get to the salt mines and what hostels to try. I went in search of the hostel to drop my stuff off. I could not find it for the life of me. I ended up just getting a hotel fairly close. It was a hidden place right in the middle of everything. E74 for the night. I dropped my bag off and ran to catch the tour. The bus was pretty easy to find. The tour was led by a Spanish guy. It was a little cheesy, but there was good history about the real family that the movie was about and some interesting factoids. Evidently I need to watch it again since I don't remember half the stuff they talked about. It was funny how half the stuff was in the movie, but wasn't. It rained a little, but not much. "it's why the grass is so green" was what the guide said. The tour was half American, too. We were told the Sound of Music was not that popular in Germany and Austria since it was based off the original 2 movies made in German. After the tour, I went into the gardens and took pictures. Wonderful gardens they were. I wandered some more and found food at an italian place. I asked what their specialty was and he said the shrimp scampi thing. It was really good. It had some spinach and peppers or something. It was a little spicy. My parents would have loved it. I also had a glass of Cab Sav. I then called it a night and headed back to the hotel. I checked facebook and email on the computer they had (no USB) and went to my room. I watched some German movie and did some more head shaving and drying of clothes.

Day 12 - Salzburg:
I got up at 8ish and packed up. Went down to eat breakfast and it was pretty good. It was a nice wurst, cheese and salmon platter with fruit and some bread items. I got a pretzel, some wurst, cheese (including fresh mozarella) and of course a heap of the salmon. The coffee was weird. They had packets you put into the machine and it produced a cup. I have no idea where the packet went after making my coffee. I hope I wasn't supposed to take it out from somewhere. I then went to figure out what bus to take to the salt mines. I hate how they work those schedules. They give you only main stops, so out of the 20 stops, you see 4. None of which are the salt mines. I saw the bus the lady specified and asked about the salt mines, so it was the right one. I got a roundtrip ticket for E9. I talked to yet more Americans on the bus. They were an older couple and told me things to do and I told them about my travels so far. Got to the mines and it was 1.5hrs before my tour so I did some hiking. Unfortunately it was raining, but it wasn't too bad. The tour was pretty touristy. I felt like I was on a disney ride. They had a tram that took you down, then you took a wooden slide, and they had laser lights and a light show. It was interesting and all, but I was with a big group of kids who were pretty annoying. Must have been a school trip. After the tour, I got the next bus back. When we got to the last stop before we went back, we all had to get off and a guy from New York told me I was dragging my headphones. We started talking and they had just come back from the Eagles Nest. Evidently it was snowing up there and they closed it! WTF? It's not THAT cold! They lost half a day due to snow. We got together and went to the fortress/castle. It was pretty neat. The view was amazing and they had interesting history and artifacts. We then went in search of a restaurant on the top of another hill. This place was really hard to find. We finally got there after riding an elevator to the top and then taking a good trek up the hill. Come to find out, it was closed. At least I found the second hostel on the list, which also looked closed. Oh well. We ventured back down and walked around for a bit. They went back to their hostel and I went to find food. They had said they had a really good experience with a Chinese place, so I ended up at one. They had Peking Duck. I was so happy. I've been looking for that for months. I ordered that and an eggroll, even though it cost me like E40. It was interesting. I got egg drop soup, a burrito looking eggroll, the duck part I'm used to, a "main course" which had the rest of the duck and some veggies and a fruit salad at the end. I finished everything except half the main course. Ugh. Very good, though. I had made a reservation earlier for a night train to Milan. I'm skipping Venice. I hear it sucks by everyone. I have no more Euro, so I tried to find a currency exchange. Didn't happen. Found a Chinese restaurant (guys fron NY said theirs was really good, so why not) that accepted cards. Looked at the menu and what did I see? Peking Duck. For 2 people. For E30. I ate it anyway, and it was good. I've been craving that for the longest time. Found a bar that would take credit. Drank there and listened to the guy next to me hit on a girl in German. Quite interesting. The group of us talked a bit in English, too. The guy was a cab driver in the area there with his "wife". I left and headed to the train.

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