It’s also valid on the many buses and trams around the city, so the first thing we did was hop on one of those to the central station to sort out my travel to Bordeaux. We all know how well that went, so the next step was back aboard the number 2 to the centre of the city and the many. It was a lot quieter today, without the casual army amassed in the centre. Jen pointed out how many cities we’ve visited have vast expanses of space in the centre of them, without being over crowded by hoards of tourists. She makes a good point…I know it’s autumn, but when was the last time you remember the centre of London being this empty? I’m sure I can’t think of a time at all.
Our first stop was the Hohensalzburg Fortress, an impressive looking building which sits atop the highest point in the city. The walls are painted an imposing white so they can be seen from miles around. They’re even visible from Hitler’s Eagles nest across the mountains in Germany. Quite the sight! There has been a structure on this hill since the year 180, with each ruler adding onto it in the architecture of the time. The result is a bizarre mishmash of styles spanning some 600 years. Still quite impressive though don’t you think? To get to the fortress you can either take a winding road, or the more direct funicular route (which is included in the Salzburg card) Jen and I opted for the latter, and were soon jetting almost vertically up the rock face to the gates. The view from the top was spectacular too, you could really see the whole city and the mountains beyond. Wow!
We opted against the tour, preferring to meander around for an hour or so. I really like a tour sometimes, but when you’re pressed for time the last thing you want is to be herded around whilst people take selfies with suits of armour. My favourite rooms were the kitchens (the fire was huge, must have been the warmest place in the castle!) and this amazing battle scene…
By this time it was gone 3pm and we were both more than ready for something to eat. Luckily at the bottom of the funicular there was a market (the oldest bread market in Salzburg I think, it was all in German!) selling cheesey olive loafs and twists of apple strudel. Delicious!
The next stop was Mozart’s Birthplace, a humble little yellow (so much yellow here!) house in the centre of the city. Top tip for this place, if you read English or German don’t bother with the free app which tells you about the places as you go around, most of it is written on the walls anyway and the wifi dropped out after the second room so it was a complete waste of time. It was far more fun to take time walking around the rooms which once housed a musical genius. It was very fun having Jen there for that too, as she has read and watched quite a few plays and films about Mozart and so could plump up the impersonal stories and facts etched on the walls with snippets from films which bring the people to life far more effectively. I think it was thanks to Jen that I found the little silk purse he apparently carried with him every day of his life so fascinating, and spent a good few minutes taking in the details of the tiny violin he received when he was five. I’m planning to watch Amadeus when I get home now, and Jen recommends you do too, especially if you’re planning a trip to Salzburg any time soon!
Being the last day of our tour the next stop was a shop to pick up a few souvenirs for friends and colleagues at home. I love wandering around European supermarkets, even though they sell everything you get at home, it’s always more interesting when it’s not in English. Sweets and such purchased we headed back to pack and check trip advisor recommendations for somewhere to enjoy our last meal. We’d heard great things about the beerhalls of Salzburg and so were keen to find somewhere of that ilk. Luckily trip advisor never disappoints, and within 5 minutes walk from our hotel was Die Wisse (lit. The White Woman), a restaurant serving traditional Austrian dishes, beers and wines. They even had a gluten free home brew for Jen, win!
So ends part 3 of my European tour, it’s been so much fun interailing around with Jen seeing some amazing cities and countrysides together. I’m sure the journey was very different to one we’d have taken as 19 year olds in 2006, but I enjoyed it, probably more for having our own rooms rather than dorms! Man I’m getting old 😛