Trip Start Dec 18, 2008
25Trip End Jan 15, 2009
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We decided to take a day trip to Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart..this proved logistically challenging as we had to find a place that sold tickets on the outside Vienna line...we tried Westbahnhof and the S-Bahn (Schnellbahn), the inner city commuter train people were not helpful. Austrians!! They have very little personality and run every zing to time. Zink outside ze square.. impossible.Everyone we meet with a personality is from Southern Germany!!!Anyway yesterday Kate found the place and managed to secure tickets on the OBB "Eurocity" fast train to Salzburg via Linz. It was a 2.45hr journey in stylish second class. The day was not too bad, pretty mild really.We were up at 5.30am but had to run to catch the connecting train from Oberdoebling and only just made it...but then we had plenty of time before the Eurocity zug left at 8.20am.We passed beautiful hamlets with lovely villages - and very ugly, industrial sites.. regardless every town had an onion domed church or spired church. Rolling green countryside.. not a lot of stock or crops at this time of year. We played Uno and generally relaxed... there were 2 old unfriendly women sharing in one of our two compartments who didn't talk except one argued with the conductor over the price of her ticket. Both got off in Linz, so the rest of the journey was lighter. Arrived in Salzburg and promptly bought a "Salzburg Card" for the day...which gives you discounts at the tourist highlights. (Mozart's Birthplace< Mozart's House< Mozart's Toilet... you get the idea.
We were warned by the info bureau that the castle shut at 2pm because Austrians celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve (and open their presents late at night) - headed by trolleybus into the city.Took the funicular up to Festung Hohensalzburg, the castle overlooking the town, with some of the best views on the planet!!!At noon there was a historical firing of matchlocks from the ramparts by Tyrolean musketeers.. very noisy!
There was an incongruous plastic cow in the castle grounds... apparently when under siege in 1525, the castle was down to its last cow as its only food source. The castle commander had the idea of parading the cow around the battlements, painting it black and parading it the next day, and then again, this time black and white etc giving the illusion that the castle had plenty of food... the besieging army gave up and went home!!
There was an interesting military museum up there too.
Then we headed down to town and lunch at Zum Mohren (The Moor) a really cool restaurant, supposedly where Mozart and Schubert often ate. We had pizza and curry (typical Austrian cuisine...not) - okay some had true blue tucker - but it was a sensational meal. Phil told the owner that it was one of the best meals ever.. it was that good.We had intended to dine at the Irish tavern next door but it was was dark, smokey and dingy so we were glad to have moved on (Phil and Steve would have enjoyed the atmosphere but no one else!)
Again, there were extensive Christmas markets in the town square but the stalls started packing up and as the church bells tolled 3pm, all the shops had shut and the Austians headed home fur Weihnacht activities.We went in search of schnapps for the journey home and managed to find a souvenir shop still open and selling small bottles ..we then had 2 hours to kill in Salzburg until the train was due to leave - without anything else open.. we split up walked through the streets and by the river Salzach. It still wasn't that cold but by the time the sun went down we were ready for kaffee... impossible! When we said everything was shut we were serious.The trains arrive and depart bang on time ... if it says 5.29pm it is the exact departure time. No surprises in Oesterreich. Anyway, Salzburg was definitely a true experience of the picture book Austria and very enjoyable.. although Mozart apparently visited every place in town (and every place in town promotes that) and because the Sound of Music was set here, Steve calls it the "Tourist Von Trapp"..we got both kinds of music Strauss UND Mozart.... The schnapps was a bit rough and Steve ended up with chronic heartburn...ouch. Otherwise a good trip home - stopping at Huetteldorf station which was heaps faster than winding up at the Westbahnhof. Huetteldorf is the Huett Valley according to Josh.. very industrial and dour.
Anyway, it was ze nacht before Christmas und alles through ze haus...