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Salzburg, Austria

AUSTRIA | Monday, 1 May 2017 | Views [422]

Made it out of Salzburg, Austria in one piece. I am slightly disappointed in the human race after sitting through a 4 hour Sound of Music bus tour that my mom wanted to go on, but i will get to that later. We spent a day and a half in Salzburg and I was originally hesitant that there would not be enough things to do in the area. Boy was I wrong. Driving east toward Austria, we started heading into the mountains. We drove past small towns with huge mountain lakes. We were in the area for the May Day long weekend, so there were a lot of people driving up to the mountains with sail boats to spend their holiday. As we continued to close in on Salzburg, the mountain scenery continued to impress. Snow topped mountains, clear with very few clouds in the sky. There were pastures with asphalt bike paths paved through the middle, so you saw many people riding bikes with the terrific scenery as a backdrop. It was pretty cool.

We drove in past the Red Bull hangar at the airport. I was told it houses the toys of the head of Red Bull. Red Bull’s headquarters are in Salzburg and I understand why. There are so many outdoor things to do within a close vicinity to the town. Lakes, hiking, mountains for skiing...they have it all. We unloaded our things in the hotel and took a bus to the old downtown area of Salzburg. After a 10 minute ride to the downtown area, the bus drives through a short tunnel and there you are. Downtown Salzburg. The tunnel runs through a huge rock formation which has a castle “fortress” on top of the formation. It had the best vantage point in the city amongst the surrounding mountains. We walked around the city, it is a walking only downtown. It was really nice with all the shops and restaurants. We checked out all the various monuments and churches, then we tried to find a late dinner. That took quite a while as a lot of places were closed and some of the open ones did not look all that great. We ended up settling on a place called “Burgerista”. It was a great accidental find, super cheap and really good burgers. It seemed to be the local young persons hangout, so my parents were one of 5 others there over the age of 40. The burgers were incredible and the amount of food was great too.

The next day Bryan, Dad and I drove 20 minutes over to a salt mine tour. Salzburg (aka Salt City) has the oldest salt mine in Europe. The mine had everyone dress up in coverall type pants and a big white overcoat to both protect your clothing and your butt. We took a toboggan type train where we were all scrunched together and you got to know the people in front of you and behind you a little too well. The train ride was only about 5 minutes and it took us on our initial descent into the salt mine. They showed us a few videos of how the mines worked and how the kings used the salt production to get wealthy. The mine weaved back and forth between the Austrian and German borders and the borders were marked with little plaques. To make our way deeper into the mine, there were two slides along the way. They were basically two parallel wooden bars (imagine the parallel bars from the olympics) that were about a foot apart, just wide enough for you to straddle and keep your legs out in front of you. You sit with 3 people together like a toboggan run and off you go! The backsides of the pants they provide you are reinforced for these wooden pole slides. It actually was a blast! We also took a short boat ride across one of the salt lakes in the mine, then took the train back to our starting point. All in all, it was a very interesting and fun excursion.

We were then off to go to the “Sound of Music” bus tour...shoot me now. We jumped on an extended luxury bus, which was all painted up on the sides with images of Julie Andrews and all of the kids from the film. There were probably 70ish people on the bus, 50 seemed excited to be there. The tour guide was dressed in the stereotypical german dress and was all amped to be singing about the movie. We drove around to several areas that were filmed in the movie, we were let out a few times to go walk around the various parks that were used in the film. It was nice to be able to get out of the bus because it was a beautiful 65 degree day, without a cloud in the sky. As we made our way through the tour, I just had to try and ignore the singing that was going on around me and enjoy the views of the mountains as we were driving through. They took us out of the city and further east in Austria into the mountains and to a lake district. We drove around some of the lakes and they let us out a this beautiful location overlooking a huge mountain lake, which appeared to be having a sailboat race of some kind. The ski lifts were still running along the side of the mountain as some of the peaks still had snow on them. We had a great view of the valley, simply incredible. It was worth dealing with all the Sound of Music nonsense to be able to get out of the city and up into the lake district.

Once the tour was over, our night started to go downhill a bit. Knowing that we wanted to hit up a laundromat before it closed at 10pm, we wanted to grab dinner quick before we headed back to our hotel to grab our clothes and go wash them. We had about an hour to grab dinner so we went to a highly rated italian restaurant and we were seated immediately, great. It took the waiter a little over 5 minutes to come give us a menu, not a big deal. He did not return to take our drink order for another 10 minutes, becoming more of a big deal. He did not bring our drinks out for another 10 minutes, big deal. Then he did not even come back to take our order until we flagged down another waitress that we needed our order taken. We decided that at that point, there was no way that our food would come out and give us enough time for us to eat...so we just paid for the drinks and left. I thought we should just walk out on the drinks, since it took them over a half hour just to take our food order, but my Dad has a soul i guess and he left some money.

We made it back to the hotel and got all of our clothes ready to wash. We drove over and found the laundromat and we had about an hour and a half to get everything done, not a problem right? WRONG. We get there and put our clothes in the machines, loaded up with detergent, and the central money machine which controls all of the washers and dryers is not able to accept paper bills for some reason. It was broken and would only take coins. The washers and dryers themselves were pretty expensive and we figured we needed about 50 euro in COINS. So with our machines loaded, Bryan and I ventured out to find ways to get our paper bills turned into coins. Of course we are looking like bums, since all of our normal clothes are sitting in the machines down the street. We stopped at 6 or 7 bars/restaurants asking (in German) if they could exchange our bills for coins. Some of them we ended up talking to in english, but we were able to get about 10 euro exchanged per place and some said they couldn’t help us. So after about a half hour of realizing that we needed coins, finding the coins, and returning to the laundromat...we had just under an hour before it closed to get all of our clothes washed and dried. Of course as we rush to get things dried, 10pm hits and we assume all of the machines shut off, but NO. Nothing happens. The only issue is that we again run out of coins. So we end up leaving with my cloths mostly dry, but my other family members had some really damp clothing, which was then hung all around the hotel room for the night. Man did that adventure to the laundromat exceed my expectations. I mean, of course you are going to run into issues if you go to do your laundry at a random laundromat in Austria, right? But I figured we would just see some of Salzburg's finest citizens and be back on our way...not even I could have predicted that we were going to go out having to make change for 50 euro...it was comical, that's all I can say. We had a few granola bars in the car and that was our dinner for the night.

We are now driving about 3 hours from Salzburg back into Germany and over to see a few castles before we go to north to Munich. The weather is supposed to get worse as we drive back into the German Alps.

Guess who isn’t prepared for 34 degrees and rain...


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