Monday, July 26, 2010

Salzburg Day 3

This is where the Gondola took us...all the way to the top
Mozart House
Salzburg Cathedral

This was the day we were going to ascend the Alps to Innsbruck (former location of the Winter Olympics), camp in Innsbruck and take the back roads to Oberammergau and Mad King Ludwig's Nieuwenstein Castle. After some harrowing roads traversed already in the giant camper (28ft long) we felt it was best not to test our luck. Plus, the Alps here were perfectly beautiful and we were enjoying our campground. It was nice to stay put for a few days. This meant I missed my trip down a real Alpine Slide. Ah well. I can do that in the US.

Our third day was spent strolling the streets of Salzburg during a weekday when all the shops were open. Picture a giant Disney World Main Street. Every shop, down every street feels like that. We had 2 objectives, first visit the birthplace of Mozart. It's an interesting little museum with lots of Mozart artifacts. You can stand in the room where he was born. A few streets over is the apartment his family moved to when he was a boy. His father rented this apartment for 60+ years. How many rent increases is that? The jewel of this museum is Mozart's piano. This is where much magic happened, I wasn't allowed to take a photo of it, because of the Nazi in the room, but here is a pick from Google.

We didn't stay as long as I would have lingered had I not been melting. A few days earlier I lost my portable battery operated fan down the quarry in Mauthausen. Pissed as a I was, I couldn't lament long, given humans were tossed to their death from the same spot. It was just a fan. In the giftshop I was able to purchase a manual fan. So now I could spend the rest of my time looking like a throw back, save the petticoats. Surprising effective was the fan...for as long as your arm could keep it moving.

We walked through the Roman styled squares and made our way to the Cathedral. Such a huge church for what is now a relatively tiny town. We toured the museums inside and wandered up to the massive 5 station pipe organ. Mozart was the organist at this church for several years. As we peered down to the alter from the organ perch the loudspeakers began a mass in English. This was Monday afternoon in Austria and we heard a mass in English. Very, Very Odd.

It seemed like a sign that we should attend the mass. As we made our way downstairs, there was what appeared to be a Irish tour group situated on pews on either side of the alter. (Members of the group did the readings and it appears they brought their own priest to co officiate the mass..lovely accent the Irish). We sat in the first pew in the congregation. People milled about touring the cathedral and we proceeded to recite the Profession of Faith. When it came time to take communion we were hesitant. What if they only brought enough hosts for the tour group? Father motioned us forward and we completed the mass contract.

We had purchased the Salzburg Card as it gave us unlimited access to their train system and free entrance to all the museums. It also included a ride in a gondola up to the top of the highest local peek. Highest, they weren't kidding. Poor Alex was petrified of the height and is scared of large rooms suspended from cables ascending 6000+ ft at a steep angle. Hum...perhaps we are the crazy ones.

Once at the top of the peak, we had more indescribable views of the city of Salzburg. We had a nice lunch at the top and made our way down to the final stop. The fortress. As I mentioned before the fortress is fully intact and dominates over the city. You take a funicular up to the top. This little shuttle is hell. They cram 20 people into the little cab and leave you there while wait for more passengers. I was drenched by the time they let us out at the top.

Once I reached the top, I really could have cared less about the castle. One more castle in Europe. I just wanted to be cool. We walked around the grounds and called it a day.

We took the local bus to the main station. There we found a supermarket that was open. Inside we took our time, search for goodies to eat the following week. Alex was beside himself when we found Dr Pepper stocked on the shelves. He bought 3 12 oz bottles and savored them over the next few days like Willy Wonka and his final chocolate bar. As we wandered around the store (me in search of maple syrup for French toast) several employees came up to us and spoke to us in German. We didn't understand what they said and just nodded as we always did. Soon they became more persistent. Alex finally heard them and translated that the store was already closed. We looked at our watch and it was 7:15PM....turns out the store closes at 7PM. Yikes, sorry about that. We didn't intend to be rude. We hurried to the cash register. Just as we were checking out I located the maple syrup and tossed it in our basket. Success! It was only after checking out did we notice that the 8oz bottle of syrup was 8 Euros! It was grade A Maple Syrup imported from Canada. It was in the specialty foods section. Ah well, it sure tasted good the next morning!

German grocery stores are a bit different. The cashier sits down on high raised comfy chair with a back and moves each item across the scanner onto a tiny platform next to her. You better be quick to grab the item and put it in your self provided bags or you will anger Hilda. Again as I mentioned, forget credit!

Back at the campsite we ate in. It was really a money saver not to have to eat every meal out.

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