Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day Sixteen – Friday, June 15 – Salzburg

We needed to move the car by 9:00AM, before the daily enforcement started, so Paul drove to the nearby underground garage, where the spaces were REALLY tight, but the car is going to end up with door dings at some point, right? When arriving back at the hotel, Paul overheard someone asking about when the pick up for the Sound of Music bus tour was scheduled, and learned that it was due in about 5 minutes. A quick dash upstairs, where Annette was fortunately (almost) ready to go, so we bought tickets and jumped on the bus when it arrived. We had decided to opt for this tour, since we had recently watched S.o.M. on DVD as part of the “pre-trip film festival” and, hoaky as it sounds, we had heard that it actually covered some good territory.

Our tour guide, Peter, had been doing this for 15 years (ouch!), and considering that, his patter and corny jokes were well delivered. We saw several of key locations used in the movie: the lakefront Leopoldskron Palace which served as the front exteriors of the von Trapp house and the scenes with the kids in the boat and hanging from the trees in their curtain clothes; the glass pavilion which had now been moved to the Schloss Hellbrunn (which we unfortunately didn’t have time to go into), and the Nonnberg Abbey from a distance. We also drove out to the countryside and saw some beautiful scenery including St Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang.

The unexpected highlight of the tour might have been the sommerrodlebahn near the Fuschlsee. This is a summer time, modified luge that snakes down a ski hill on a metal track. You get hauled to the top on a modified Poma lift, and we chose the “double sledge”. Lots of fun, but only time for a single run.

Since we hadn’t had any breakfast, we opted for an early lunch when we got to Mondsee, where marriage scene was shot in the local Cathedral. The town was very cute – preciously so – and obviously oriented toward the tourist trade, so our expectations weren’t too high for lunch. We were very pleasantly surprised by our meal at the Vini & Panini Restaurant on the main square, sharing a “tunny” salad with capers and balsamic vinaigrette and a mozzarella and tomato Panini on baguette.

After returning to Salzburg at the tour’s conclusion, we walked through Mirabell Gardens, which was also used as a location for much of the “Do, Rae, Mi” song. We didn’t have a particular itinerary for the afternoon, so we headed across river along the Gefreidegasse shopping street and did a bit of exploring.

The heat and humidity of the day was taking it toll, so we decided to head to the Mozart Wohnhaus. This was the second home that the Mozart family moved to when Wolfgang was 17, and it now serves as a “Mozart museum” with a very informative audio wand tour. Everywhere one goes in Salzburg, there is Mozart: Mozart candies; Mozart CDs; and just about every imaginable Mozart souvenir. In spite of the tsochky overkill that somewhat spoils parts of Salzburg, the very informative Wohnhaus exhibit – along with the evening concert – were just the right kind of Mozart. (note to self: add another viewing of Amadeus to the “post-trip film festival.”)

After the Wohnhaus, we got ourselves ice cream cones, and did a bit more wandering around. At around 4:30, he headed back to hotel to change for our evening dinner/concert at the Hohensalzburg Fortress. In the afternoon, the humid heat had given way to some ominous clouds and wind. Since they had some umbrellas for hotels guests, we took one, which turned out to be a good move, as the sprinkles soon turned to full on rain. We took the very speedy funicular from the base of castle, and had a bit of time to tour the fortress prior to dinner at 6:00.

Paul had booked the evening dinner and concert online several weeks before the trip as one of the “cultural evenings” that we were interspersing during the trip. We were seated at a table with a fantastic view in two directions of a corner – one overlooking Salzburg and the other looking toward the Untersberg mountain (or something like that). We had a beef in aspic, potato soup, chicken and fish, and a beautifully presented selection of deserts with a treble clef dusted in powdered sugar on the plate. In addition to our usual swapping of main courses, we actually swapped seats a couple of times to share the different views. We briefly conversed with a Japanese couple who were sitting at the table next to us and learned about their travels.

The concert was held upstairs in the Fürstenzimmer stateroom in the castle, which was beautiful, but HOT! The program consisted of the very familiar “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” for string quartet, a piano and string “Klavierquartett g-moll KV 478, and after a much needed intermission to get some fresh air, Beethoven’s Streichquartett c-mol op. 18/4.

After the concert we descended the funicular and walked on to the Weissbier Brauerei (AKA Die Weisse – , which was a few blocks away from the hotel at Rupertgasse 10. Die Weisse is a very cool restaurant/biergarten with many different rooms and an local microbrew that appeared to be mostly packed with locals. We gave a fat tip to our waitress, who was a phenomenon of efficiency with her high energy, wireless ordering pad and total awareness. After an evening brew/radler, it was back to hotel and bed around 11:30PM.

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