Friday night I couldn’t sleep. I was excited and my housemate had a friend over, so things were a little louder than usual in my house. I ended up getting to sleep sometime around midnight. I had the alarm set for 03:55 so I could be at Christine’s house by 05:00. I was there on time, feeling very asleep, and Christine’s son drove us to the airport. We had checked in online the day before, so we went straight through Security (which still took about 30mins) and I had my bag searched, all because I didn’t have take my ziplock bag of toiletries out of my daypack (as apparently you are supposed to do – though no-one else was). Frustrating, but what can you do?
As in Stockholm, we travel light – only hand luggage – and in that luggage only underwear, toothbrush and a change of shirt. Although this time I knew we’d booked something fancy for dinner so I took an outfit and shoes.
We got priority boarding and scored the first row of seats to ourselves. Didn’t sleep on the flight, but did start reading a cool book on The Clash, A Riot of Our Own. V interesting, quite amusing, and reflective. Highly recommended.
Arrived in Salzburg about 09:30, and despite a (thankfully!) lessening drizzle and overcast sky, were immediately hit by the classical beauty of the place. We took a taxi to our hotel, past chalet style houses and very ‘European-style’ buildings. To arrive into Salzburg city you have to go through a tunnel carved through a mountain, and the mouth of the tunnel is intricately, beautifully carved. We were booked to stay at Kasererbrau, but we couldn’t check in until 2pm. So we both reached for handbags and did a sort of our daypacks to leave the majority of the stuff in the hotel’s luggage room, then set off wandering. Not far from the hotel is the cathedral and the Residenz of the Prince-Archbishops, and they were the two big buildings we headed for.The first thing we saw was this fantastic fountain, with the Fortress in the background…
The narrow streets opened up and we found ourselves surrounded by people and some sort of conference or meeting. There was a stage and a string quintet. But then we noticed that we were only seeing women, and wondered if we’d inadvertently wandered into the Austrian Women’s Institute AGM!
We bought a cheese and bacon pretzel the size of a dinnerplate and shared it whilst wandering around into the Residenz Platz (Residenz Square). A slightly scary thing was that the big cathedral, stunningly guilded and with statues and dates (746AD!) out the front was being restored – and on the scaffolding around the towers they had erected photos of Kylie Minogue advertising her new clothing line. So really, instead of being a house of god this cathedral looked like a house of Kylie! I don’t think it’s entirely appropriate to put 20′ x 20′ pictures of Kylie in a swimsuit all over a cathedral – but there you go. The square at the front of the cathedral was also home (so our guidebooks told us) to the largest marble statue outside Italy, which you can see a photo of in my Flickr collection.
Spent the morning wandering the city a looking at ‘tat’ shops. We were told that no shops would be open on Sunday (and they were right!) so we thought we’d best get our ‘tourist tat’ out of the way then do the museums on Sunday. We were booked on the Sound of Music Tour at 2pm, and dinner was booked for 7:30. Wandering the narrow streets, with the (mostly) beautiful 4-5 story buildings, just absorbing the ambience. Salzburg is a truly beautiful place. Found ourselves in the market in front of a Schnapps stall which, of course, we had to sample! So 10:30am Saturday morning we’re throwing back shots of apricot Schnapps whic, I can tell you, definitely get the heart pumping! (And the eyes watering, the throat burning.. :) We both bought a bottle of cherry schnapps, but later realised that the bloody airport security wouldn’t let us take that much clear fluid through! D’OH! (Problem later solved by checking in Christine’s flight case for an extra EURO12.)
(that’s me in the pink scarf)
Wandering and taking photos, we spent an enjoyable morning. Wandered both ways down Getreidgasse, the main shopping street, and paused at Mozart’s Birthplace to consider – then saw two big tour groups go in so checked the times and decided to wait until Sunday.
So we went to Cafe Mozart for lunch – where we had gulash soup (lovely!) and apple strudel and ice cream (double-lovely!), before heading over to the Mirabell Palace to catch the Sound of Music Tour! WhooHoo!
(to be concluded….)