Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Hills Are Supposedly Alive

Finally, after all of these years, we are heading to Salzburg, Austria. We thought about going a number of times, but it never materialized for one reason or another. What prompted the trip was finally realizing that I needed some short get-aways to keep my mind healthy. I am responsible for 9 university classes a semester, there is my life coaching and mental health practice to market and maintain, and the B and B responsibilities. Without some diversions, I will have a mental meltdown. The other reason is that the train fare was a paltry 39 Euros round trip for a 4 day stay.

We left today on the 7:10 am train arriving in Salzburg 6 hours later to the minute. Our hotel, Belmondo was an easy 10 minute walk from the train station. The big debate was whether or not to buy the Salzburg Card. Generally, I am wary as the cost does not work out to be a savings unless you spin like a top going from one place to another, not really seeing things, but just trying to rack it all up to justify your expenses. The other consideration was that my European Press Card gets me into many things for free. After spinning the wheel of fortune, it came up with "Buy the card!" 

Handing over 40 Euros each for a 72 hour card had just about put me into spasms, but I did it. The challenge was now to recoup the money, but not rush around just to accomplish this. Fortunately, they made the task easy as you shall read over the next few days posts.

Arriving early, dropping our things off at the hotel, we walked to the river that divides the old and new parts of the city. The city's population is 146,242 and it ranks 5th in size, so it is not a large city making it a breeze to get through.  

We walked along the river. There is both pedestrian and bike paths on either side of the water way. We ventured to the old town part of the city and then walked through a historic cemetery that was extraordinary for their headstones. The base of the funicular is here so we know where to return to.

We went to one of the top attractions of Salzburg, the former Augustinerkloster Abbey, which is now a beer hall. Originally founded by the Augustinian hermit monks in 1605, in the old abbey buildings you can still encounter a mill and other essentials of the original abbey including the former monastic, but now current parish church Müllner Stadtpfarrkirche. In the brewery area, you will see statues of St. Augustinus and of St. Benedict, though their significance is unclear unless they are patron saints of brewers and drunkards.

A visit to the Müllner Bräu (officially called "Augustiner Bräustübl"), there are a number of beer halls or places to sit once you have purchased your beer. There is also a tremendous beer garden ("Biergarten") outdoors under chestnut trees. One must be cautious in the garten during this time of year. Chestnuts fall from the trees with a vengeance. If you look up at the wrong time, you could get an eye put out. I had one hit my cheek that left a mark for an hour. 

Inside you will also find kiosks of food vendors selling ready cooked food that looks delightful, but we didn't indulge there. We were there for the beer, which turned into a real cultural experience. First select a stein mug; they come in two sizes, but all are the same grey color without any logo or decoration. There is a fountain, so rinse the mug in cold water. This keeps the mug of beer colder longer. Take your mug to the cashier to pay and receive a token. Proceed to the barrel guy, offer up your token and he will fill your stein with freshly poured beer right from the barrel.

Not being certain where to dine, we ended up at an Italian restaurant next to our hotel. It seems like the city rolls up its sidewalks by 7pm. GROAN! Italian food in Austria. Tomorrow is another day for a gourmet experience, but honestly there are more Italian restaurants and pizzerias here than there are bees in a hive.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pin It Now!


Post a Comment