I love our little hotel in the mountains. I’ll post some photos of the view from our room. This morning as we got ready the church bells tolled several times. There is a small church across the street from the hotel – they are the only two buildings on the street. As we ate our breakfast the other breakfast room soon filled up with church members who had been to a service. As they were filing past in the hallway and elderly gentleman stepped into our area and spoke loudly and kindly in German. Later, as we were checking out, he passed us again and once again spoke to us and everyone else in the hall in a kind, energetic manner. He looked like Heidi’s grandfather – thick white hair, wearing an alms-hat (I made up that name but you know what I mean) and traditional coat. You couldn’t help but like him. When he left our hostess told us that he is their priest. She said Austria has a big problem because they have a shortage of priests. This man retired several years ago but has not been replaced because of the shortage. Isn’t it sad that there is such a shortage for such a noble profession? And if you could see the cute little church you might think of changing professions and moving to Austria.
Our original plan for the day was to go to Hallstadt and we had been looking forward to it for some time. We are all getting tired and knew that we wanted to experience Salzburg also. It was Saturday and we decided to just head into Salzburg for the day. We were only 20 km away so we arrived nice and early – they had not yet closed off the marktplatz and we mistakenly turned left right onto it! It looked like a normal street because it was full of vendors’ cars. Yikes – how embarrassing because there is certainly no place to turn around. Mark managed a several point turn and we got ourselves right out of there. I think Greg and Jackie may have been laying on the floor by then. We found parking – it is pretty cool actually. The parking garage seems to have been carved right out of the mountain – it is all rock.
Salzburg is full of beautiful buildings. We found a medieval church and were enjoying sitting and hearing some musicians practice. Before we knew it we were sitting and watching a family having their child baptized. I loved the way they all wore traditional dress. The best part was the brass ensemble that played for the family procession. The acoustics were fabulous and I also liked the way the priest’s voice echoed. Fortunately we were seated near the rear of the chapel and were able to slip away without disrupting the service.
We wandered around town. The gardens were our favorite spot. There is an old dwarf garden – the oldest in Europe. It dates to the 17th century but the dwarves were sold off in the early 1800s. They have since recovered most of them. Our hotel garden had a couple of old dwarves – I wonder if they belong downtown? Anyway, they are fun statues to enjoy – each one quite different than the other.
A couple days ago Greg pointed out that he had been in Germany almost a week and not eaten a single bratwurst. We were glad to find plenty of them in Salzburg. We ate a variety because they were the ones that were hot-n-ready. We also chose a variety of pretzels to try: apple strudel, donut, poppy seed and chocolate nut. Next time I would just get traditional.
Up the hill to the castle fortress – it is very cool and has some interesting displays. We were running out of steam so when we happened to cross paths with the downhill funicular we decided we had seen enough and headed right down. There is a beautiful cemetery at the bottom of the hill – we think it was the inspiration for the escape cemetery in The Sound of Music.
The day was sunny and warm and we just enjoyed walking about, eating, sitting, and being there together. We were happy to head back to our hotel and when the boys found a way to order pizza delivery we settled in for the night.
This hotel is in the Meierhof building right next door to the Schloss Leopoldskon. Both the building and the palace were purchased right after WWII by a non-profit group who wants to change the world. They still own it and we were free to roam about. The palace has the expensive suites. We were in the small, affordable rooms across the way (which also had nicer rooms than ours). That night Greg and Mark went to explore – they were quite taken with the library and for good reason. They took us there first thing the next day… but I am getting ahead of my story…