The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur
June 5 - Salzburg

We HAD to get busy today, so we decided it was time to see Salzburg. The little town we are staying in is less than 20 miles away, so we joined the morning traffic into the big city. Like most old cities in Europe, the old town has the charm and the rest of it is typical 20th century city architecture. We managed to find our way through the maze of streets, across the river and to a huge parking garage hollowed out inside the hill. Very impressive!

Either it was market day or this is a regular feature, but the first plaza we came to was packed full of stalls selling everything from bratwurst to flowers. Mozart is a big item in Salzburg (did I mention that his mother was born in St. Gilgen?) and every other vendor was selling the little Mozart chocolate balls. (There is probably a straight line in there somewhere, but I will let it go!) We thought about getting some . . . but then remembered that they are also on sale in the drug store in our home town!

We wandered through the old town, into the major cathedral called the Dom and through the plazas to the fenicular railway that runs up the hill to the Festung Hohensalzburg, the fortress that looms on the hill over the old town. The signs say that you can walk up the hill in about 15 minutes, but after our experience at Savica Falls in Slovenia, we weren't trusting those estimates! In any event, the fenicular was a much more civilized form of transport and whisked us up into the fortress. We roamed the courtyards, the torture chamber and dungeon (guest room?), the towers and the state rooms, including the Archbishop's state-of-the-art en suite toilet!

We finished touring and had lunch at the café on the south terrace, overlooking the mountains to the south of town. The day had been overcast to this point, but as the sun appeared, it started getting hot, so we started to think it was time to wander back toward the car and get out of Dodge. We roamed around a bit after we came down the hill but even in early June, the crowds were considerable -- never our idea of a good time. The shopping opportunities were extensive, as you would expect in any heavily touristed area and I expect that the prices reflected the inflated cost of the leases on the shop space. We did run into the requisite McDonald's but it was nicely Salzburg-ized right down to the typical metal icon sign. See the photo. We also took a break in an out-of-the-way local coffee house for a little mid-afternoon treat. Fortunately, we got our order in just before a tour bus unloaded a mob into the back room! Is there no escaping these people?

Actually there is -- just go where they are not . . . so having "been there and done that" we joined the evening commute traffic out the back roads to St. Gilgen. A quick nap, a late dinner at another local Italian eatery (Italian food is much more to our tastes than the Germanic fare) and we had made it through another grueling day on the road! We are still discussing how we want to spend our last week but it looks like we will stay in St. Gilgen until Thursday and start winding our way north toward Prague on Friday. Marcela is expecting us back at her house on Sunday afternoon, so we will have a few days to see more of rural life in the Czech Republic.

Salzburg and the Festung Hohensalzberg

Dining in Salzburg

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