Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Salzburg, Austria!!!

Here it is, folks.  Thus far, the furthest I have ventured since I have been in Europe this time around.  Salzburg, Austria.

I left on Friday morning, waking up at 6:30am to catch the bus from my apartment and then the train from Darmstadt station into Frankfurt.  I hopped on the train to Salzburg which departed at 8:40am, about 20 minutes late.  I was filled with excitement.  Butterflies fluttering lightly in my stomach, feeling anticipation, inner peace, and just great.

The train ride was perfect.  I relaxed, read my book, listened to music and looked out the window.  I LOVE European train rides, they are the bomb.  Romantic, relaxing, beautiful scenery, and a rare excitement and experience because we do not really have trains like that in the US.

I arrived in Salzburg at 2pm and took a 7 euro cab to my hotel, right in the city center, where I met Becca in our room.

I met Becca back in Prague, as we completed the same TEFL course together.  She is one of the people in the course with whom I felt a good "click", we seem to be of similar values and nature, and I just generally enjoyed her company.  And I was right, we had great fun together on this trip!

After sitting and chatting in the hotel room for 20 minutes (Becca told me her arrival story.  Being dropped off by her bus in literally the middle of nowhere, on the side of a deserted highway on the outskirts of Salzburg at 5am and then having to walk down the cold, dark highway for 20 minutes at that hour, ay yay yay), then we headed out into the city.

The first thing we did was locate and purchase a MozartKugeln.  This was not a difficult task, as this traditional Salzburg treat adorns the shop fronts of numerous stores every few steps.  A MozartKugeln is similar to a Godiva chocolate ball, except that it is filled with a layer of marzipan and then a center of pistachio paste.  We concluded, nothing to write home about, but tasty nonetheless.

After sampling this local treat, we walked through Old Town.  Old (hence the name "Old Town"), charming, romantic and beautiful.  Really liked this.  And shared easy, fun and interesting conversation which flowed the entire time.

Super cool bakery!!  Look at the skiers made out of bread!!

Loved this square.  That pyramid reminds me of the Louvre in Paris ;-)

Salzburg Cathedral.

Salzburg Fortress

Around dinner time, Becca and I decided to check out a restaurant that was recommended in my Rick Steve's Best of Europe Guide.  A small pub/restaurant called St. Paul's which we found hidden away down a narrow, hilly, cobblestoned pathway.

We entered a quiet, deserted entryway and climbed a wooden stairway into the restaurant.  It was something like an attic room or loft in the top of an old home.  The floors, wall, tables and chairs were all made out of dark wooden planks.  Like being in a chilly, alpine inn on the drafty top floor.  We ordered a cream soup filled with bacon and chives, which Becca and I both agreed was the highlight of the meal, whoa.  The soup was creamy, hearty yet not too heavy, a slightly cheesy flavor to it, and the bacon was delicious along with the flavor of the chives, just outstanding.  Delectable.  We each got a beer, and then as our main course, we split a macaroni and cheese dish with bacon (this is what Rick Steve recommended, called Kasnockn).  It was SO good.  Cheesy, filling, great comfort food.  Though towards the end, the bacon tasted quite salty.  But otherwise, super yummy.

Delectable soup.  I took a photo of the macaroni and cheese but it malfunctioned on my camera!!! :-(

After this we made our way back to the hotel room, as it was quite chilly and dark outside.  We both fell asleep, cozy in our extra warm hotel room.  The best :-D love warm rooms at night.  Nothing better.

The next morning, on Saturday morning, we made our way to Cafe Tomeselli, apparently the place to "see and be seen" in Salzburg, according to Rick Steves.  Well, Becca and I saw and were seen ;-) The cafe was crammed with people, bustling waiters and a mouthwatering looking pastry display case, chalk full of different cakes, tarts and sweets.  Becca and I both ordered ham and eggs, along with glasses of tap water (which in itself was shocking since waiters allowing you to have tap water for free, without even a scowl, is a rare occurrence in Europe.  Usually they frown deeply at you and say "Yes, we have still water," which is code for "Yes, you can purchase water.  No, we will not give it to you for free.).

After a tasty breakfast, we took the Rick Steve recommended tour of Old Town.  This consisted of us walking to a site, then reading the short historical excerpt about this spots significance from my book.  Then Mr. Steves directed us to the next location with a short and easy-to-follow phrase such as "walk straight ahead and beneath the stone awning with the green plaque on it," or something along these lines.  Super easy to follow.

This tour ended up taking us around 4 hours to complete.  Really cool though.  We learned a ton about the history of Old Town and ended up seeing so many hidden corners of the city that we never would have seen otherwise!  We both really enjoyed this.

We even stumbled upon a shop selling cake pops!! SCORE!!!  So Becca and I both snagged one, obviously.  A crunchy, thin, chocolate outer shell and a cakey, fudgey, almost brownie-like center, so good.

The MozartKugeln displays that are EVERYWHERE!!!

So Mom, this is for you.  We stumbled upon an amazing shop, it totally made me think of you.  This shop was FILLED and I mean filled to the brim, in every possible open space, with eggs.  But not just any eggs.  The kind of eggs you hollow out and then paint/decorate around Easter time.  Some of the designs were so incredibly elaborate and ornate, some were covered in jewels or pearls, all were hand painted, just wow.  You would have loved this.  It was amazing.

Mozartplatz (aka Square).  The city where he was born!

Inside of Salzburg Cathedral.

This was really neat.  This waterwheel powers some of Salzburg, bringing in water from a town around 15 miles away!

This cemetery was gorgeous.  Serene, lots of grays and white as the background colors and yet super bright against those background shades, gorgeous, almost like a colorful woodland where I would expect little elves and fairies to appear haha.

Apparently monks lived in these hills a long time ago.  Awesome.

This lively street led us into a market filled with all different kinds of goods.

Really cool old fashioned candy store.

Becca and I sat on the steps of this gorgeous building...

And ate this.  Yum.  Flaky, sweet and a meringue-like vanilla cream filling.

The most famous street in Salzburg: Getreidegasse.

After our long tour of Old Town, we were starving, so after one fail attempt in a cafe that only served sausages, we ended up here.  YUM!

And now some awesome views of Salzburg, Old Town and around it...

Then at dusk, around 6pm, Becca and I sat within Mozartplatz square and listened to the famous Glockenspiel.  Here is a little blurb about the famous bell tower:


The famous Salzburg Glockenspiel is located under the tower helm on the west side of the Neue Residenz. It plays its usually well-known melodies daily at 7 and 11 am and 6 pm, for the enjoyment of both residents and tourists. Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf Thun (1687–1709) bought the 35 bells in 1695 from the bell caster Melchior de Haze in Antwerp. Its gamut ranges over three octaves with all semitones.
The Salzburg gunsmith Franz Sulzer and the bell caster Benedikt Eisenberger made the drive mechanism and the brass drum in 1702, in which the court clockmaker Jeremias Sauter then drilled the 7,964 holes required for operation. He is noted as the craftsman mainly responsible for the carillon.
The Glockenspiel has been playing music since 1704, by now around 40 pieces, of which 16 are ascribed to Johann Michael Haydn. The music pieces by the Mozarts, father and son, are adaptations from the nineteenth century.
In 1873, the clockmaker Johann Baptist Fischer installed a clockwork movement that could release music and movement by means of a special device. The valuable mechanism still exists today, but the daily starts at 7 and 11 am and 6 pm are now taken over by an electric timer. An electric motor was also installed decades ago for the drive of the great brass drum.

After enjoying the chiming music of the tower, Becca and I decided to do what Salzburg recommends one must do when visiting the city: attend a classical music concert.  We found one taking place at the Maribel Palace, within a beautiful garden across town from our hotel.  We walked there in the chilly air as dusk turned to darkness.  We strolled through the quiet garden grounds, searching for quite a while for the palace.  

The concert itself was wonderful, though we both agreed it was about twice as long as it should have been.  But overall, the music was moving, beautiful and a joy to listen to.  A great experience.

The room where we watched the classical music concert.  Stunning and so ornate, wow.

After the concert, the time was approaching 10:30pm.  We had discussed stopping into what was supposed to be a really neat cave-like bar with flickering candles dripping wax along the walls, a really cool atmosphere.  But instead we decided we were tired and quite hungry after such a long and eventful day filled with lots of walking.  So you can imagine what we did then.  Got dessert for dinner of course, what else!? ;-)

We stopped in the Italian restaurant where we had eaten lunch earlier (to our slight embarrassment) and ordered a chocolate souffle with mango sorbet and strawberries covered in marscapone cream.  SO yummy.  The perfect dinner.  After this, we walked back to our hotel in a slight sugar coma and relaxed into the warm coziness of our room.

On Sunday, after a slightly panicky morning which involved Becca having mistaken the departure time for her bus, we made our way to a highly recommended cafe and consumed an absolutely AWESOME breakfast spread.  We sat for about an hour, talking and LOVING this meal.  Eggs, bacon, coffee, water, croissants, jam, butter, a platter with different cheeses and meats, whoa.  So delicious, hearty and just totally hit the spot.  A perfect end meal to the trip.  Relaxing and great.

Outside of the cafe....happenin' place!!!

Then we made our way back to the hotel, stopping along the way for a few small souvenir trinkets, and then picking up our bags and walking over to the train station to head our separate ways home (Becca to Prague and myself back to Germany).

All in all, FANTASTIC trip!!!  Many thumbs up.  Loved all of it.

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” 

1 comment:

  1. Amazing pictures Brooke. Keep up the good work! -Spencer-