On Tuesday while we were in Vienna, the Companion group offered a day trip to Salzburg, Austria. We got up early that morning to ride our chartered buses to the train station where we had our own private train to take us to Salzburg! The train ride was pretty, from what I saw, it was early so I slept most of the way!
When we arrived in Salzburg we were divided into different groups for our tours throughout the city. We had a LONG walking tour, so there are a lot of pictures! It was drizzly that morning when we started off at the Mirabell Palace and gardens. There were some great photo opportunities in these gardens of the fortress over looking the city.
We also made our way to the Rathaus (City Hall). We only saw a staircase, but supposedly a lot of people like to get married there as it is the prettiest city hall in the area. We then went across the river and found out where all the tourist were hiding! Haha! This seemed to be the most crowded area of our whole trip. It was really cool to see the Getreidegasse or narrow streets of shops. Our guide had written a book about Mozart, and since Salzburg was his birthplace, she was a wealth of knowledge about him and his family. We saw his home on that narrow street and learned about his sister, Nannerl, who was also a musical prodigy. Their father put all of his time and energy into Wolfgang, though, since he was a boy, so no one knew of Nannerl’s musical talents.
We wound our way through the old part of Salzburg and ended up in a beautiful old cemetery. We also saw Nannerl’s grave here. It was funny because guided tours were not allowed at her grave site and our guide got in trouble. By this point we were all starving, but we went ahead and visited the fortress before stopping for lunch. Those pretzels looked amazing since we were all starving!
The fortress was the only one never to be defeated. It was really magnificent, but we probably only spent 15 minutes up there. There were some very ornate rooms that may have once been for the royalty, but now they are used for concerts and performances. The hooks on the ceilings were for water buckets to be able to quickly put out fires.
When we came back down from the fortress our last stop on the tour was the Dome or Salzburg Cathedral. The dates on the entrance signify when it was built, added on to, and rebuilt after World War II. It was really a shame that you can tell the vast difference between the original paintings and architecture and those that were done after the rebuilding. This cathedral was also where Mozart was baptized.
We finally stopped for lunch at a café that was right under Mozart’s birthplace. I had some spinach dumplings that looked more like meatballs. It was OK, but not one of our noteworthy meals. We spent sometime afterwards looking around the shops, including a cute little Christmas one! We also enjoyed this street performer!
One the train ride home we were able to FaceTime for a bit with our munchkin. We did FaceTime everynight, but it was fun that the train had free wifi 😉
So after the train ride back, we ended up in Vienna around 9 PM. We were all hungry and tired when we boarded the buses to go back to our hotel when all of a sudden we were told that we could not go back to the hotel after all because none other than Mr. Putin decided to pay our hotel a visit. The security had closed up all of the entrances! After an impromptu tour around the city, we were finally dropped off down the block from our hotel and were able to walk up. They had the elevators shut down so we took the stairs up to our room, and there were security men on every floor! We were told that his visit was for fun because had it been for business he would have stated at a state hotel! Fortunately it was a short visit and all was back to normal the next morning.
Anyways, around 10 PM that night we made our way to our best meal of the trip at Plachutta. They are known for their meats, but we each tried a dish off of their menu instead of a pot of boiled meat. I had a stroganoff that was AMAZING! It was made with filet and chanterelles. The filet was so tender it was like butter! The sauce was so flavorful. Chad had fish that was equally amazing. We left feeling stuffed and quite satisfied!
Next up: Budapest!