1) It’s December 22nd, which means the Mayans were wrong. Shocking.
2) Even though they were wrong, I still got a trip out of the deal.
So last week, the Boyfriend (previously referred to as HP, which I am now changing to BV because my sister said he sounds like a Bond Villain and I find that hilarious) and I were eating dinner when we started talking about what we would want to do if the world were actually going to end in eight days. Needless to say, the lists were pretty damn long, expensive, and would require the use of the Concorde. Since that doesn’t fly anymore, we had to adjust our expectations just a hair.
We decided that even if we couldn’t hit everything on the list, and since we both finished work on the 19th, we should probably go somewhere. Juuuust in case. A few ideas were tossed around, and finally we settled on one of my very very very favorite places. I’ve been there twice since living here, but since I’ve never written about it properly, click away to find out where we wanted to be when the lake of fire didn’t come…
Salzburg, oooooh Salzburg.
I love you more than a fat kid loves Sachertorte.
I also love the fact that I can do panoramic photos with my iPhone. New toys!
Since I had been to Salzburg twice before (a few pictures are here), I had hit most of the main points in the city but it’s one of those places that I’d be okay with going to a million more times in my life. There’s just something about it that I absolutely love.
My previous visits were in May and June, so I was especially excited at the prospect of seeing the city coated in snow. But the last week warmed up quite a bit here, and so all the snow that we had last weekend was pretty much gone. Of course since Salzburg is in the mountains, we still got to see the hills along the way covered in white. It’s always a gorgeous drive there, and by car from Nürnberg, it’s only about a three-hour trip.
Thursday was a bit cloudy on the way down, but it had cleared up a lot by the time we reached the city. We wanted to stop and pick up a Salzburg card, and then drive south of the city to the Untersberg, a mountain that has a cable car to the top. Unfortunately for us, the cable car is closed for renovations or inspections or something along those lines, so we had to revise our plan. It’s okay if it was closed though, because that’s what I call a good reason to go back!
We took our car to the hotel and got a bus to the city center. We started with taking a walk past the Mirabell gardens, and a small Christmas market outside the garden walls…
|Accordions in strange places…|
After that, it was across the river to the Monchsberg elevator to the top of the mountain for the city view…
|Shark week = love?|
I just can’t get enough of that view. But then you can walk around the back side of the ridge and see this….
Minus the construction cranes, that is all kinds of gorgeous. Plus you can watch planes land and take off at the Salzburg airport. Fun!
At this point we were ready to start our tour of ‘whatever we can hit for free with our 24-hour Salzburg card,‘ so we took the elevator back down the mountain and hopped on a bus to the Stiegl brewery. I’m a big fan of breweries, and an even bigger fan of self-guided tours where you can whip through and get to the important part… the tasting. But seriously, the Stiegl brewery is really small, lovely, and I love the old warehouse feel of it.
With your tour you get to try three different kinds of beer, plus you get some greasy/salty crackers to help you soak it all up. Unfortunately the main restaurant was closed as they were setting up for a Christmas party, but we could still get our beers in a little room outside the restaurant. The waiter offered us a sampler platter, so we combined our sample tickets to get six different beers. We had a Weizen, Paracelsus, Bock, Pils, Mystery Beer, and a Honey-Weihnachts Beer. BV thought that the Pils was quite good, and since he’s both a pils drinker and Franconian, his opinion is especially trustworthy. Plus, I think Stiegl has some of my favorite Radlers, with grapefruit or raspberry flavor. I wanted to pick some up before we left Salzburg, but forgot. Gah!
Since we couldn’t get dinner at the restaurant, we had to try something else. I had read some good reviews online of the Augustiner Brewery restaurant, so we decided to try there. But when we got there, it was very full, very smoky, and neither of us felt like doing the ‘cafeteria-style’ thing. Some days I don’t mind it, and other days I just don’t want to get my own food. So we were off in search of somewhere with a waitress. Or waiter. Doesn’t really matter as long as I don’t have to fetch my own beer.
We ended up at the Sternbräu restaurant, right near the river in the old city. I had eaten there with my parents before, and I remembered the restaurant as being a bit on the stuffy side. Lots of velvet furniture, dried flowers, heavy curtains, and paintings of hunting or people in period clothing. That‘s not my favorite, but all you have to do is go across the hall and you’re in the Bierstüberl “Treff 23,” which is much more comfortable. Less stuffy, more vaulted ceilings and random apples on the shelves.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend trying the Edelweiss Weißbier. It‘s probably one of my favorite wheat beers I’ve tried here, and in an added bonus, I love the name Edelweiss. It’s just so very ‘Sound of Music’ to drink it in Salzburg. I need to get my hands on one of those glasses, too.
We topped off the evening by stopping in a Weinstube that was down the street from where we had dinner. Something else I love about Salzburg is that you can go into a place that is right smack on a main street in the city center, and find all locals inside. The wine was good, and we only dropped the median customer age by about 30 years. Good times.
Friday morning we awoke to find that the world was still intact, and far from being covered in fire, my wish to see the city covered in snow had been granted. The rest of the day was less snow, and more rain though, so this continued my Salzburg theme of rain every time I visit. But again, it’s one of those places that‘s so lovely that rain doesn’t hurt. On the contrary, it pops the colors on the green roofs, the pastel buildings, and the glimmers of shiny gold on the church spires and clocks.
The first thing on the agenda was the tour of the Salzburg castle (Festung Hohensalzburg). A funicular takes you to the top if you‘re feeling lazy (or if the weather is cruddy), and you can wander the castle courtyards, check out the cannons, and take a 30-minute walking tour with an audioguide. Afterwards, there are a few separate exhibitions showing the history of the castle and the area over the years. Oh, and there’s a marionette museum. Which is cool or creepy. Could go either way.
First off, the view from the castle:
And some random things from inside and around:
|Naturally there was a Glühwein, Kinderpunsch, etc. stand at the top.|
|Love the attack.|
|Pictures of pictures.|
|We were up there before, and it was exactly as cold as it looks.|
|And of course, another Christmas market in the castle.
Photo courtesy BV.
After the castle excitement, we decided to warm up with a pretzel and some Feuerzangenbowle before we returned to the city. That was an excellent choice, as that stuff will warm you up all the way down…
I had a bad angle for the city view with pretzel, but I did try.
We took the funicular back down, and then popped our heads into the Salzburger Dom.
|Dom exterior by night.|
Then it was on to check out the Christmas markets. We had walked through the previous evening, but everything was already closed. Well, some of the Glühwein stands were open, but they were full of people who looked like they’d had too much already, so we didn’t stick around. But this time everything was open, so we had a good wander around. There was a large market with two parts in front of and next to the Dom. There were also some smaller stands set up in other squares around the city.
A lot of the merchandise was the same sort of thing you see here, but there were a few things that were new and different. We picked up some oil and bruschetta mix at one place, and they had so many free samples it was difficult to just choose one kind of oil! Truffle finally won out, but there were dozens of different kinds. BV was also on the hunt for a fruitbread, and after checking all the Lebkuchen stands, we finally found him some.
|Market in front of the Dom.|
|If anyone wants to send me this entire booth, feel free.|
|Liquor, liquor, and more liquor.|
|…and more sugar.|
|Glühwein for all.|
|Only the hardcore come out in the rain.|
At this point the temperature really seemed to drop, and we were ready for dinner and to dry off. We found another Bierstube near the main market, and overstuffed ourselves on venison, potatoes, dumplings, beer, and some delicious desserts. I had one last Edelweiss beer, while BV had an espresso (the driver has a rough life), and then we walked through the rain along the river back to where we parked the car.
Sadly our trip was at an end, and we hit the highway back home. But as I said, it’s one of my favorite places, and it’s fully worth spending even a night there. If the world was going to end, I would’ve been happy with it happening when we were there. And that was the point of the whole thing.