I had ‘Sound of Music’ songs in my head as soon as we boarded the train from Budapest to Salzburg. Our accommodation was a big hostel-style place with a few disappointments but a good location.
Salzburg was gorgeous – everything you might expect and more: from the mountains surrounding, the castle perched high above, the river running through it; to the great shopping, excellent food and cultural attractions. I’d love to go back to the area in winter and see more of the lakes and mountains, but it was great to see it under cloudless skies. Adding to its charm was the number of folk actually dressed in lederhosen! There were also a lot of pearls and suits around for the Salzburg festival, making Alex and I realize that our scruffy t’s and jandals might not cut it here.
Our surroundings (and the nice shops) may have swayed our accidental afternoon shopping. Sick of our suitcase contents, we ‘only’ bought a couple of tops each – our first purchases of such a kind on the trip. We then proceeded to justify it by sending a decent sized box of gear we deemed unnecessary to Dad in NZ, lightening our load somewhat. It only takes a couple of train stations to wish you had nothing but a small rucksack! The post office was an experience in itself: the Austrian chap proceeded to burst out laughing & whistle in horror at our request to send a package to New Zealand. “Neuseeland! Neuseeland?!” he kept proclaiming in laughter. He was pretty crack up and actually damn efficient at his job, which was reassuring for the safety of our gear.
I wasn’t sure I was enough of a die-hard fan to part with 60-odd euro for the bus tour, but we did go to the Panorama Museum to see an exhibition on the story behind the Sound of Music. It was actually pretty interesting reading about the family and the Hollywood take on it. The hotel played the movie in the common area every night, but we never partook. Between that and Mozart, Salzburg really went to town on its famous associations.
We made like a Salzburgian and hired bikes for a day, covering some good distance along the river side and visiting the Mirabell Gardens. We also most-importantly followed our noses to a local brewery and had a pint in their beer garden. Apparently I’m somewhat kamikaze on a bicycle, but we came away sans any insurance claim – always a successful day. In the evening we walked up around the castle to the soundtrack of a free opera screening happening down below as part of the big festival – it made the whole setting rather dramatic! All of the houses and lanes near the town were really nice, so all in all it seemed a cool place to live and an even better one to visit! Salzburg is definitely one of my faves thus far.
Innsbruck heId so much potential, but we arrived in 28 degrees and woke up the next morning to 8 degrees, rain and the surrounding mountains had all but disappeared. Given our main ‘to-do’ was a €40-something ride away up the awesome gondola in the centre of town…the weather pretty much halted our plans. After checking the stirling weather-forecast for our week ahead hiking in the nearby Dolomites, we donned our thermals & rain jackets and went on the hunt for wet-weather pants. The ski-town had awesome outdoors shops, great savory strudel (our first) and a cool pub which you could easily imagine full of the mountain crowd in winter. Fortunately, we were staying in an awesome hotel in Innsbruck, so I was also pretty pleased to spend time in the luxury of a deep bath, and we attempted unsuccessfully to overcome our sudden addiction to Austrian wafer biscuits (like Griffins pink wafers but oh so much better).
After a bit of to’ing and fro’ing in and out of this country, we said “so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu” to Austria, and headed for Dobiacco….