Mirabell Gardens, home to quite a few Sound of Music scenes

Was time to move on from Wiesbaden, so I headed way way across Germany to Salzburg in Austria. Train trip consisted of a local train to Frankfurt, then a wicked comfy and fast ICE train to Munich, and finally an even comfier RJ train to Salzburg. The train to Munich came in late for some reason, by about 20 minutes as well, quite strange. This left me with what I thought was going to be a comfortable change of trains to a mad dash across 15 platforms to make the train which was leaving in 2 minutes. Backpack on the back and on the front and also my camera bag…not so easy to run with, but I made it.

Arrived in Salzburg and made my way to the YoHo hostel. You can tell these dudes have been in the industry for a while, they do everything a hostel should. All the doors and lockers in the room are key carded, they provide cheap breakfast and dinner, free wifi, good common areas and great location. The rooms were pretty damn hot at night though cause of no air con but hey thats normal. Definitely recommend it to anyone else travelling to Salzburg.

First day I walked around the old town for a bit, checked the time on my phone and had 2 missed calls and an SMS from Westpac saying my credit card has been suspended. Called them up and apparently it had been flagged for possibly being skimmed at some stage. Sorted all the crap out with the very very helpful woman on the phone, and a new card is being sent to my hostel in Munich and will hopefully arrive just before I get there. If it doesn’t then…well…shit. This is why it pays off to have so many different ways to get your hands on money. Once that was sorted out I went on the ‘Lakes and Mountains’ tour, which ive already blogged about here. After that I just went back to the hostel, made use of the free wifi and had a cheap schnitzel, chips and salad dinner. And then the second day was spent at Hellbrunn touring the Trick Fountains etc which I blogged about here.

Third day was a scorcher, it was damn hot, 30 something degrees for sure. I walked to the old town and then up to the fortress. I went there last year but the weather was shit so the photos weren’t very good so I thought id correct that. I think I lost about 23kg in fluid walking up there, sweat-tastic. One thing that is completely different now is that to walk through the main sections it has to be done in a guided group. One of the towers is now open to go up though, so that made for an even better position to take photos of the city. Walked back to the main area of the fortress and they still had the crossbow shooting that I did last year. So I totally did that.

After the castle I thought what better way to make this hot day better than to tour a brewery and get free cold beer. So I went off to the Steigl Brewery for their tour. Ticket was about 9 euro I think, and included 3 free beers at the end and a ‘gift’ of some sort. I wasn’t in a guided tour or anything this time so I just meandered through all the exhibits at my own pace, and all of the things shown had english explanations so that was good. One thing I liked is they had quite an in-depth look at how the coopers made the barrels. Such a lengthy process back then for what could be made quite quickly these days. Finished up and went to the beer garden for my free beers, tried 3 different ones and all were good. Collected my free ‘gift’ and it turned out to be a really nice 200ml beer glass, but having no where to put a glass in my luggage for 5 months I unfortunately had to just leave it at the hostel.

Had dinner at the hostel and was joined by a chick from Canada, and I opened the conversation with what all Canadians love to hear – ‘where abouts in the states are you from?’. Smooth Dave, smooth. Anyways got to the usual talking about where we’ve been and turns out she also loves the Lauterbrunnen area, doing a hell of a lot of hiking there, a lot of the routes done i was very jealous about. I reckon I could talk about Lauterbrunnen nonstop if I was able to, so it was good to finally meet someone else that not only went there but went there for the hiking. Many stories shared and it brought back a lot of good memories of such an awesome place in the world.

Next day Cat the Canadian, Kate the Aussie and myself went and did ‘Fräulein Maria’s Bike Tour’, which was a tour around Salzburg specifically targeting the Sound of Music sights. I haven’t even seen the movie so a lot of the sites meant basically nothing to me, but it was a really nice day outside and riding a bike around is always enjoyable. After the tour it was deemed that I ‘had to watch the sound of music’, and having been to Salzburg twice now its something I should probably do. Went to the supermarket first and bought some food and beverage supplies, including a 6 pack of Steigl beer for 5 euros (500ml bottles too). Amazing. Daaaamn how long is this movie? Beer definitely helped, but wow, I had no idea. By the time the movie finished the bar was open and it was early happy hour. We sunk a few more, then it was dinner time. Then it was 9pm and the late happy hour started. Kept drinking. Then one of the guys who was watching the movie with us for a bit earlier in the day walks past the door and says ‘are you two still here?’. Holy crap its 12:30am, 9 hours and 4 litres of beer since we started. I totally thought it was maybe 10pm at the latest. I don’t think ive ever sat in one spot and drank for 9 hours before. So the obvious thing to do at that time was to walk around and find a dodgy pizza place that is still open. It very well may have been dodgy, but damn that was a good tasting pizza.

Woke up the next day feeling a lot better than I had ever imagined I would have considering the beer that was consumed (fair lightweight these days). But the beer here in Europe is magical, you hardly get a hangover at all. Today everyone was moving on to different places, so I just went for a walk around the old town with Cat and Kate to fill in a few hours. Kate had to leave for Munich early so Cat and I went off to see Salzburg’s Catacombs, which are part of St Peter’s Cemetery. The entry cost was 1 euro, which should have given us clues as to what was ahead. What also baffled me was that after you go in you went UP stairs, and not down like where catacombs generally are (ala Paris). Got up the stairs then went to the first room…which was just that. A room. No bones and skulls or anything, just basically an empty room. Went to the other room and it was the same, apart from a hole which looked like a body had been exhumed from. So that awesome tourist attraction drew my stay in Salzburg to a close. Cat was heading for Vienna and I was off down the road to Berchtesgaden. I must say one of the annoying parts of travel is when you meet all these really cool like minded travellers only to say cya the next day, but on the flip side its fantastic for future trip contacts.