Salzburg & Munich

The next morning in Salzburg we had breakfast at the B & B, then we went on the hop-on-hop-off Sound of Music tour bus. Sarah and I were both in the Sound of Music in high school so this was fun. Dustin claims to never have seen the Sound of Music, so he was clueless.;) I will make him watch it when we get home! Before the tour we stopped on a small road with a large open field where the mountains were in the background. We spun around and sang “the hills are alive with the sound of music…my heart wants to sing every song it hears!” Here is a picture of Dustin and I in the field.

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Maybe I can convince Sarah to let me post the video when we get home of our short Sound of Music scene. 🙂

We had seen much of the city the day before, so we only got off the bus at a few points which were a bit out of town. We got off quickly to take a picture at Schloss Leopoldkron which is the Palace they used as the from a distant shot of the Von Trapp Mansion. And it’s the pond where Maria capsizes the boat in the film.

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Then we stopped at the Schloos Hellbrunn & Zoo. The gazebo that was used in the film is now located here & some of the gardens here were used in the film.

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We also tried to get off at Nonnberg Abbey, but turns it it was quite a trek up the hill and we didn’t have time since we are headed to Neuschwanstein castle today before returning our car in Munich.

At our last stop where we parked we saw Mirabellplatz & gardens which were featured in the movie. Sarah and I got our picture on the famous “Do-Re-Mi Steps” and we did a short video clip jumping from step to step singing the song. Fun times! From the information we got on the tour, It seems the story line is very close to the actual story, one major difference is they did not just hike over the mountain to Switzerland at the end (that is over 500 km away), they took a train to Italy because the father was born in a town that now was part of Italy so he and the family qualified for passports. Then they went to England, then to America for a singing tour. Here is a picture of Sarah and I on the steps.

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I really enjoyed this city because it’s not just a city, but it’s surrounded by beautiful countryside and mountains that can be seen from downtown. We headed off to Deutschland, AKA Germany. Here is a picture along the drive, we could see the Alps, it was beautiful.

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We arrived at the castle and much to our dismay, they were doing construction on a portion of it and it was covered in scaffolding. Sad face. 😦 In case you don’t know, this is the castle from which Disney modeled the castle at Disney World. We hiked to a bridge which is even higher than the castle, Dustin was being a drill sargent and we pretty much did it speed walking. 🙂 The brochure said the trip up would take 55 minutes, but we did it in 15 minutes. We didn’t have too much time because our car needed returned in Munich at 8pm. Unfortunately all the tours were sold out until 5:30pm and it was only 3:30pm , so we couldn’t see the inside. But the views from the top were worth the climb! Here are some pictures from the area.

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We made it to Munich, dropped our bags off at our apartment, and then found the rental car return. We put over 4,000 km on the car during this trip!

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We made our way to the city center, it is a bit crazy this weekend in Munich because the European Cup Championship game is tomorrow and the German team won tonight. Crowds were everywhere and we walked down a street filled with designer stores and every resturant was too expensive for us. We ended up finding a place to eat called Pfälzer Residenz Weinstube, they were known for wine, so the waiter was not so happy when 4 Americans came and asked for tap water. I don’t know if he thought it was funny but he brought us tap water in their tiny wine tasting glasses. So hear is a picture of our “cheers” with the tap water.

20120519-173429.jpgnThe food was very good, I had 1/2 chicken and he had fish and german potato salad, well it came with his dish but I ate it. If you know Dustin well, you know he has an aversion to eating things cold that can be hot such as pasta salad, potato salad, shrimp, etc. The german potato salad was very good, much better than our mayo versions in the US.

20120519-175753.jpg nThen we headed back to our apartment to relax & get some shut eye! Another successful day, we can’t believe our trip is almost over, 1 more night in Munich, and 2 nights in Prague, then we’ll be boarding a plane back home. At the same time it feels like forever since we’ve been in Ireland. We are very thankful for this opportunity. Have a great day!

Vienna & Salzburg

We headed out around 9:30 am and took the Metro into town for to see the Spanish Riding School. It is the oldest riding school in the world, dating back to the 1700’s. It has become a large part of the Austrian Heritage. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures or video inside, it was like the horses were dancing to the music, they focus on making the horse move naturally. Each horse did high steps and side steps across the arena. The horses were all white stallions.

Afterwards we went back to our car near the apartment where we stayed to get on the road towards Salzburg. Today in Salzburg was a national holiday, Ascension Day. We were glad we bought some food for the road because many of the restaurants in Vienna were closed. Somehow we hit 3 countries on national holidays, it was a Bank Holiday in Ireland, Victory Day in France, and now Ascension Day. We looked up to see if coming another time of year would have less holidays, but it seems the Europeans have way more holidays than the Unites States!

We arrived in Salzburg around 4 pm. This is the only place we stayed in a bed and breakfast. It was ours and Rodewalds first bed and breakfast experience. The lady running the place was a sweet lady and it was right by the mountains. Our only compliant was she had cats and the hallway smelled awful! But our rooms were nice and the breakfast was good.

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Since it was Ascension Day, our host explained all the parking on the street was free. A plus for coming on the holiday! The Europeans charge for everything, parking, bathrooms, water, bread at dinner, and probably other things we haven’t realized yet. So free parking was a nice surprise. We parked near town and walked under the tunnel into town. We strolled along the famous shopping street called Getreidegasse where we saw the building Mozart was born in. This street is also famous for the iron signs above the stores.

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We cross the Salzach River and climbed a large number of stairs to a few lookouts which beautiful views of the city & the Festung Hohensalzburg, a castle on the side of the mountain. Here are some pictures.

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We headed back into the “old town” side and walked through some of the famous squares. There was a wind ensemble playing at a festival, presumably a holiday celebration, in Residenz Plaz. There were Austrian food vendors all around, we could have had a huge fresh fish on a stick or rotisserie chicken and of course fried chicken or veal. We passed because the chicken was the only thing that seemed appealing and we had that the night before.

We walked through Domplatz which is were the famous Christmas market is held each year, and Kapitel-platz where locals come to pay chess on a life size chess board. Maybe we should put one of these in Beavercreek or Cedarville!

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We also saw St. Peter’s Cemetery which inspired the Cemetary scene in Sound of Music, although the actual seen was shot in Hollywood.

Our host kindly told us about restaurants that were just a km from our B &B where we could get an authentic Austrian meal for less expensive than in town. So we headed back there for dinner. We ate at place called Gasthause Schachlwirt. My only compliant about restaurants here are the cigarette smoke. We did find a place in Veinna with a non-smoking section, but just like back home used to be, smoke travels to the non-smoking section, so after dinner I had a huge headache. But the meal was good, Josh and Sarah had the cheese Spätzle and Dustin and I have beef goulash with Spätzle. Dustin really wanted the cheese Spätzle, but I convinced him that we need more than cheese and grains at each meal, ha! Since he has had Spätzle for every meal at this point in Austria. I think he liked the goulash more than he wants to admit! And we both enjoyed marinated asparagus and strawberry salad.

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We went to bed early, one because I had a huge headache, and two because the wifi signal wasn’t strong enough in our room to post anything. Oh well I need the sleep, this was the first time on this trip that I’ve sleep more than 8 hours, it was nice!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Vienna

We left Venice just a bit after 5 am. The drive was beautiful (I did miss the first 2 hours of it because I quickly fell back asleep in the car.) It was raining most of the way through Italy, and began to clear up about an hour into Austria. Of course when we arrived, it was in the 50’s! burrr, we were spoiled in Italy with 2 very warm days.

We arrived in Wien (Veinna) about 11:30 am. First we visited the Schönbrunn Palace, which was the former imperial palace summer home for the Austrian monarchy. It was raining when we were there and we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but here are a few from the outside.

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After the gardens we parked our car near our apartment, but we couldn’t check it yet, so we headed towards the metro to take it into the city. On the way we stopped for lunch at Zum Alten Beisl. The menu was all in German, but one of the servers spoke English pretty well and Josh helped us out too. To me, German seems so completely different than French/Spanish/Italian, it seems like another world. I can’t even guess what food items are. 🙂 Josh had the traditional Wiener Schnitzel, Sarah had Schnitzel with chicken instead of the veal. I had a salad with asparagus and ham. And Dustin had Spätzle which is sort of like pasta, the dish he had tasted like mac & cheese. He said he could eat it for every meal in Austria and Germany, ha!

We headed downtown for a few hours before we had to come back and meet our host. This is St. Steven’s cathedral, it is being refurbished on one side right now, you can tell the difference in color from one side to the other, one side is almost black and the front has been cleaned already.

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We walked around downtown for awhile then heading back to our car/apartment. The apartment is very nice and so was the man who met us with the keys. We are right down the street from a supermarket so to save money we cooked our own dinner tonight. We bought Spinach Spätzle, ingredients for salad, and roistterrie chicken from a stand outside. We stocked up snacks and breakfast items, and still spent much less than dinner would have been out.

After dinner we headed back downtown, we walked around again and came to a few parks and took some fun pictures.

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This last picture is of the Opera House.

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Then Josh took us to the “best” gelato place in Austria in his humble opinion. They have a dish in Austria & Germany called Spaghettieis which is icecream shapped like spagheeti noodles with red fruit sauce, and either coconut or white chocolate shavings on top to look like paramesan cheese. Amazing! Of course I remembered to take a picture of this one!

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Josh and Sarah had one with caramel noodles and ice-cream. It was also yummy.

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Then we headed back for some sleep! Tomorrow we are going to the Spanish Riding School here in Vienna to watch their morning exercise and then we are off to Salzburg. I’m excited to spin in the field and sing…”The hills are alive….and I simply remember my favorite things, then I don’t feel so bad.” 🙂 We are hoping the weather warms up!

Auf Wiedersehen!