Day 65 of 400: Salzburg – Austria

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We drove through tunnels, beside fortresses and between snowy mountains before we arrived in Salzburg.

It was freezing today.  Between snowfall was rain, not exactly the best weather to explore a new city.  The first thing we noticed was the huge Salzburg fortress that sat on top of the hill.  As we walked into the old town area we saw numerous large statues and fountains of horses and historical figures like Mozart.  Mozart is from Salzburg and it appears the entire town is built around tourism with a focus on the famous musician.

We hadn’t been walking more than 20 minutes when a cute coffee shop down an alley was calling our names.  We ordered a tea and coffee and split an apple strudel which was delivered piping hot and drenched in a vanilla bean sauce…Giff just about licked the plate.

Setting back out into the cold, we went on our way to find a few things we had researched from a “must do” list of Salzburg.  1) We wanted to find and taste a Mozartkugel (what the heck is it?)  2) Drink a beer in the famous Mullner Brau which is a beer hall where traditional beer made by monks is served.  3) Attend a classical concert (where better than where Mozart lived) and 4) We wanted to find a market in one of the main squares.

As we continued walking, we came across a market.  There were several vendors set up selling pretzels, meats, cheeses, fruits/veggies and souvenirs.  We grabbed a pretzel and a chunk of meat.  Leaving the market area we wondered through the many little shops noting that almost every other one was selling some type of touristy souvenir.  There were things like the sound of music tours and mozart gadgets of all sorts.  We did find the Mozartkugel (something that is basically in every storefront).  We walked into a tiny chocolatier shop and asked for two of the individually wrapped silver balls.  Giff popped the whole thing in his mouth at once and I bit into it to see what was at the center.  It had a pistachio, marzipan and nougat at the core and was surrounded by milk chocolate.  The consistency was similar to fudge…very rich.  We both decided we were not marzipan fans.

We found the tourist office and inside was also the ticket booth.  We asked about the possibility of seeing a classical concert in the evening but unfortunately none were being offered.  I do have to comment on the women at the ticket booth who was extremely unfriendly.  Who gets a job in a tourist office to sell tickets to tourists in a town filled with tourists but doesn’t like tourists?

We left the office and headed towards the beer hall, taking pictures in the rain as we looked for our next stop.   We finally approached a huge building labeled, Augustiner Bier (after stopping to ask directions 50 feet from the place).The outside had a huge courtyard with tons of tables/chairs and trees with an outside bar area.  Although it was vacant because of the weather, we could imagine in the summer sitting with friends and drinking a cold pint.

We walked in and first saw a bookshelf filled with ceramic beer mugs of all sizes instead of books.  Then to our left was a cashier.  We saw people grab the empty mugs, pay at the cash register and then they continued over to a counter where a man checked their receipts and filled their mugs with beer.  We of course followed suit and grabbed a couple mugs.  We paid our three Euro cents for a liter and had our mugs filled.  With beers in hand we walked into the next room not sure what we would find.  The room was a huge banquet type hall with large ceilings and thick wooden tables where people of all sorts were gathered.  Both locals and tourists were inter mixed, some were eating off trays with mainly meat…huge turkey or chicken legs and potatoes.  others were eating food clearly brought from home.  We found a couple seats and sat to take it all in.  Leaving that room we poked around to see what else this place had in it and found a couple other rooms also with huge wooden tables and people drinking.  The food area was cafeteria style.

Walking back out into the rain, we headed back to town where our car was parked.  Unfortunately we found our car with a parking ticket on it.  We figured it may happen…it turns out, they are very strict on the parking.  There is one machine in the area of all the parking, you place your money in it and it spits out a ticket with a time on it.  You place the ticket on your dashboard and need to be back to your car before the time specified…if not, you will be ticketed.

Homebound, we decided to cook food back at our place and watch a movie after being out in the cold most of the day.

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