Different country, same language – we were off to Austria. Namely, the highly acclaimed city of Salzburg – birthplace of Mozart; filming location of The Sound of Music*; home to the delectably rich Sacher Torte; but ultimately, a most gorgeous city bordered by mountains and full of decorative buildings sitting atop cobblestone lanes. All this along the charming Salzach River.
We were pretty hungry due to the fact that we had developed the habit of not eating breakfast on our trip. We dropped our bags off at our hotel and walked down the picturesque streets until we reached the old town. The main attraction of the old town is the Getreidgasse, probably the most Salzburgish street you can find. All the buildings are in the old-style and marvellously maintained, with subtle guild signs all along the lane.
Also, this is the street that houses Mozart’s unassuming birthplace.
We ate at a quaint little Italian restaurant that was literally built into the base of the Mönchsberg mountain, one of many mountains that cosily borders Salzburg.
We continued on to the heart of the city and reached Residenzplatz, a lovely square which houses a stately baroque fountain.
We also found another beautiful square, Domplatz, which is centred by a dominating statue of the Virgin Mary, drawing the eye towards the grand Salzburg Cathedral behind it.
We went a little Mozart crazy by taking photos with life-sized Mozarts, admiring window displays of little Mozart-styled rubber duckies, finding Mozart’s statue, thoughtfully appreciating Mozart’s Geburtshaus (birth place) and purchasing Mozartkugel chocolate marzipan balls and Mozartkugel chocolate liqueur. We’re not really huge Mozart fans, but when in Salzburg…
By this stage it was time to return home to watch the World Cup, but not before traversing through the trendy Linzergasse, a lovely strip full of shops and restaurants. We agreed to return the following day for dinner. However, we had eaten dinner out almost every night on our trip, and as we had a kettle and fridge in our hotel (finally), I was intent on 2-minute noodles. We visited a nearby supermarket and to my sadness there were no 2-minute noodles to be found. However, there was cheap German chocolate aplenty (Ritter) so our shopping basket was full when we reached the check-out.
After watching a match or two and realising our dinner of champions was not a very sufficient dinner, we headed back to the Aldstadt (Old Town) to take some night time snaps and hopefully find something to eat.
We admired the beautiful lights of the city from the Makartsteg bridge on the way to the Old Town.
We made the most of the beautiful Getreidgasse without the hoards of tourists we had experienced earlier in the day. It was so quiet and peaceful.
We encountered a food van, and in typical Austrian fashion it was a hot dog van. However, the hot dog van was selling veggie burgers, and as Alex was hungry he decided to purchase one. I took a bite. Then two. Oh my. It was quite possibly the best veggie burger we have ever eaten. I think it had something to do with the pickled onion in the burger. Yum!
The following day was a very, very long day because we had to check out of the hotel at 11am as our accommodation for the night was a night train to Venice. So we tried to take it easy for the day as we had nowhere really to rest.
We headed back towards our favourite Altstadt, but on the way we paid a visit to the famed Mirabell Palace and Gardens. We spent hours there, sitting and admiring. The gardens are immaculately designed and kept, and the palace itself is grand and majestic. We admired mythological statues, colourful flowers and a wonderful view of the Salzburg fortress in the distance.
We arrived back in the old town for lunch, and specifically, we were on a mission to find the hot dog van that sold us that mouth-watering veggie burger the night before. It was not there! Saddened, we continued on our lunch journey, encountering the busy Saturday market at Universitätsplatz, which was full of local produce, but namely, many, many sausages. We settled with pretzels for lunch, one savoury and one sweet, and ate them in the hot sun whilst watching an entire life-sized chess match in Kapitelplatz, another imposing Salzburg square.
We walked through the elaborate Petersfriedhof cemetery before reaching the uphill walkway leading to the Festung Hohensalzburg, or Salzburg Fortress. The fortress provided the best views of the beautiful city.
After spending a long time admiring the city from up high, it was time for dinner. We found a cheap and delicious restaurant serving healthy curry and we couldn’t leave Salzburg without trying their famous Sacher Torte, so we ordered one at our hotel (our luggage was still there). It was very decadent.
Our night train to Venice was to leave at 1.30am so we had a few hours to spare. Lucky for us, Costa Rica’s first World Cup game was airing at a bar near the train station. We enjoyed several rather tall Austrian beers in an authentic smoky pub and enjoyed every minute of it, especially CR’s unlikely win against Uruguay.
*We still haven’t watched The Sound of Music.