16.09.2016 - 19.09.2016
On Friday morning we farewelled Pat and Belinda temporarily, as they headed to Berlin and Leipzig while we set off back to Austria. Team Buccas had a smooth run to Salzburg, while Team O'Bennett had a less than ideal trip to Berlin (via Gottingen), but we all made it where we needed to in the end.
When we arrived in Salzburg, we were briefly confused and entertained at the station because there seemed to be an impromptu jazz performance occurring right where we needed to catch a bus. So instead of bus number 1, there was a man with a saxophone and a bus driver playing the bongos. After a few minutes it all finished, people applauded and the bus drove off, still jazzing away. Turned out to be some kind of public-transport based jazz festival, and it was quickly followed by the arrival of bus 1, which took us to our Airbnb for the next three nights.
The weather was fairly warm, but with rain forecast, we figured we should get some exploring under our belt before things changed. So we wandered into the old town, found a love lock for Simon and Pat on the bridge, watched a boat 'waltz' dizzyingly down the river, admired the location of Mozart's birth and generally Salzburged around. We stopped off at the Augustiner Brau for dinner on the way home, along with a squillion of our closest friends.
The next morning it rained. Well done, weather man. We defied the rain and walked to the train station anyway, then trained and bussed our way to Salzwelten at Durrnberg, an old salt mine that actually crosses into Germany. Here we experienced the full force of the 'drink anywhere, drink anytime' culture - we ended up on a tour with a bunch of people who were still finishing their beers right up until the moment we stepped into the mine. At 10am, they were already sozzled and smelling strongly of beer. But they were better behaved than I expected, so well done Drunk Austrians. The mine was impressive - we traversed the mine by mini-train, floated across a leaching pond on a boat and slid into the depths of the mine on a slide. Whee! The guide presented the tour in German and then in rapid-fire English without pausing to take a breath in between. The videos had English and Italian subtitles, and between the two languages I still think I missed some of the jokes but managed to get the gist of what was happening. We were given free salt as a souvenir at the end, and then had a quick look around the nearby Celtic museum - but let's just say the Celtic history is presented better in Scotland and Ireland.
Once we were back in town, we headed to Tomaselli's Cafe for a coffee and sundae in the cafe of choice for visiting celebrities. I had a 'Mozart Sundae' - because Salzburg. It was delicious, even if it was a tourist gimmick.
From there we wandered the streets and admired the least plastic and most beautiful McDonald's sign, before getting home to do some much-needed washing. We had dinner at an un-Trip-Advisor-rated Chinese restaurant, figuring that the risk was worth it for a five minute walk. The risk paid off and we enjoyed the break from schnitzel, pork knuckle and pretzels.
The next day we were blessed with ideal walking weather - not too hot, not too cold, and not too wet. We walked into town, enjoyed a 'Salzburger' and the best hot dog I've ever had, and then caught the lift up the mountain to the modern art museum. Instead of admiring modern art though, we admired the views of Salzburg and its surrounding hills (which were, of course, alive with the sound of music). We kept traipsing along the elevated walk, until we found a scenic park bench to sit and Appreciate Beauty and Excellence. And then the hills came alive with the sound of F18s zooming around, making a lot of noise and generally showing off.
On the way down the mountain, a shitsu puppy called Bouschka made itself the centre of attention by gambolling downhill with excessive glee and enthusiasm for life. I can only guess what sort of horrendous day you must be having when a tumbling ball of fluff fails to make you crack a smile.
We ended up at the market and shared a cinnamon-doughnut-pretzel as big as a football but much, much tastier. From there we admired the church (no sprucing required) and crossed the River Salzach to see what was on the other side.
Almost as soon as we crossed the bridge we encountered a cafe called "Darwin's", and it was advertising Pimm's, our drink of choice when holidaying up north. It was definitely A Sign. So in we went - and ended up being served a coffee and a Pimm's by a Kiwi. Because wherever you go in the world, you are never far away from an Antipodean. Simon voted it as one of the top three coffees he'd had since leaving Australia, so we were glad we'd paid attention to The Sign.
We walked past the theatres advertising 'Spamalot' and scoped out the Mirabell gardens, where I rode a unicorn and watched from a tactful distance as a young man recorded himself singing a love song with his phone in his hand playing the accompaniment, and the lyrics on a piece of paper in his other hand.
We had grand plans of buying actual vegetables and cooking dinner that night, but were thwarted by the old Sunday trading laws. I'm not sure how they work, precisely, but it seemed that the only shops that were not open were the ones selling fruit and vegetables. You could most definitely still buy beer. So we had Asia Wok-Man dinner #2, because at least the crispy duck and noodles came with some sort of greenery. And also because it was delicious. Salzburg adventure complete.