A Weekend in Salzburg, Austria – September 2014

The last stop of Eurotrip2014 was Salzburg, Austria! Salzburg has long been on my travel wish list, and I was very happy to travel here!

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We rented an apartment in Apartment City, which was a great location just off the Getreidegasse, between the Altstadt and the University area.  Gorgeous views from the apartment!  In addition to the views, there was a beautiful old church that turned into what appeared to be a drug-fuled, underage rave on Friday…luckily it stopped at midnight, and went right back to a church on Sunday morning!  #clubchurch

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We arrived on a Friday night, and our first stop was Augustiner Bräu Mülln – also long on my wish list!  Augustiner Bräu is a brewery and beer hall, serving delicious, delicious beer and housing a variety of stalls selling food.

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On our first full day, we toured all of Salzburg’s best sites, including the Mirabell Palace Gardens, Mozart Square and residences, the Salzburg Cathedral and the Festung Hohensalzburg.

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We also stopped for coffee, breakfast and the famous Sacher Torte at Cafe Sacher.  The cake was decadent!  Bucketlist  – check!

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After hitting the “must see” list, it was finally time for shopping on the Getreidegasse!  The Getreidegasse is a pedestrian-only shopping street abounding with international chain stores, restaurants and tourist shops selling Mozart balls and countless other Mozart paraphernalia. In addition, to shopping, Getreidegasses is quite picturesque, as all of the stores, including the McDonalds, have metal signs displaying a picture of their wares, harking back to the time when the masses were illerate.  The street was so picturesque, I returned early Sunday morning to take pictures without the crowds.

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My favorite shop on Getreidegasse was a small shop called Spirtuosen Sporer.  Sporer is a family-owned liquer store, selling countless varieties of flavored brandy and schnapps – from pine to edelweiss to blackberry – since 1903.  We tried a variety of samples and all bought bottles to take home.  Plan accordingly, Sporer is closed on Sunday and closes at 5 on Saturday.

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Later that evening, we dined at a delicious restaurant – Bärenwirt.  his may have been the best schnitzel I had on the trip (close with my Hallstatt schnitzel), and this was certainly our best meal in Salzburg.  Our waitress spoke perfect English and was extremely friendly.  The mean ended with a complementary bowl of gummy bears!

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Our final day (SAD), began with a stroll down an empty Getreidegasse for pictures and then a visit to the famous Cafe Tomaselli for some truly delicious coffee!

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After, we set out for what was one of the most fun events of the trip!  We walked about 30 minutes to the Stiegl-Brauwelt, or the Stiegl brewery, for a brewery tour!  This is truly a great brewery tour and it is one of the best I have ever taken.  The brewery also has a restaurant, beer garden and a fabulous giftshop!

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We ended the trip on a touristy note by a Mozart dinner concert at the Restaurant St. Peter Stiftskeller.  The performance was very good and the location was gorgeous.  A good way to end the trip!

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I was very sad to leave, but we had a great time in Salzburg!

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Salzburg Top 5

Salzburg has many “must-see” sights, and most tourists will not spend enough time to see all of them!  As such, here are my “must see” sites in Salzburg!

1.  The Festung Hohensalzburg (Fortress).  The Fortress is number one on my Salzburg list.  The Fortress is really old (dating back to 1077 A.D.), full of history, and it completely takes over the town.  We went to the Fortress in the early afternoon by taking the finicular to the top.  The top has gorgeous views of the town and surrounding mountains.  After taking many, many pictures, we walked through the Fortress, which includes the actual Fortress and a few museums.  At the end of our tour, we sat down on the edge of the Fortress at one of the restaurants (food was surprisingly good) for a beer and a snack.  Perfect views!

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2.  Sitting At A Cafe And Eating Something Decadent.  Salzburg is a decadent city.  Mozart, history, swanky shops, beautiful scenery.  That’s Salzburg.  Thus, when in Salzburg, even if you are on a tight budget, you must go into one of the many cafes, sit outside and have a decadent treat while watching the city go by.  We went to two: Cafe Sacher and Café Tomaselli.  Café Tomaselli edges out Cafe Sacher because it is a bit more central and has outdoor seating.  We stopped in on a Sunday morning and quickly grabbed a seat outside at its “annex” location – basically more outdoor seating directly across from the original.  We ordered coffees loaded with chocolate and whipped cream and sides of local liqueur.  We also ordered large, beautiful, fancy ice creams!  YUM!  This is a great way to pass time.  Plus, Café Tomaselli is one of the main squares, which makes for great people watching!

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3.  Something Mozarty.  Mozart was born in Salzburg.  Mozart was baptized in Salzburg.  Mozart lived in Salzburg and played in Salzburg.  Mozart is Salzburg’s most famous citizen, if you don’t count the Sound of Music characters (who are equally important in many minds).  If you come to Salzburg, you cannot escape its Mozartness, and I recommend embracing it and doing something, anything, Mozart related.  You can visit his birthplace, where he lived, places he played, see a concert, take a tour, see people dressed as Mozart – the possibilities are endless!  While I generally steer clear of touristy shows and the like, I decided that we should see a Mozart concert while in Salzburg.  Upon researching such concerts, there are several options.  We opted for the Mozart dinner and concert at St. Peter’s Stiftskeller, aka the supposed oldest restaurant in the world.  The restaurant itself was very beautiful.  We were quickly seated and ordered drinks.  Then the performance started, which consisted of about 7 people playing instruments and signing.  The performers were good – much better than expected.  The meal was served in between sets and consisted of a soup (really good), chicken (good but pretty basic) and a fun dessert complete with Mozart’s silouette in cinnamon.  Yes, a shioulette in cinnamon.  Brilliant.

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4.  Salzburg Dom (the Cathedral).  I have been to a lot of European cathedrals, and I loved this one.  It was beautiful and had a lot of history.  Plus, it is still used regularly by regular people.  You can walk right into the cathedral if a service is not taking place.  Entrance is free, but the cathedral suggests a donation of €1, which you can (and should) leave in the box upon exiting.  The interior of the cathedral is beautiful and well worth a stop.  You are free to take pictures without a flash…and here are mine, including a selfie with Craig!

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5.  Strolling Getreidegasse.  Getreidegasse is a pedestrian-only shopping street abounding with international chain stores, restaurants and tourist shops selling Mozart balls and countless other Mozart paraphernalia.  In addition, to shopping, Getreidegasse is quite picturesque, as all of the stores, including the McDonalds, have metal signs displaying a picture of their wares, harking back to the time when commoners were illerate.  I picked up a few Salzburg tourist goods and hit a few of my favorite international chains (Mango and Zara, always better in Europe!).  In addition to being picturesque, Getreidegasse goes right through the Aldstat.  Strolling the street allows you to walk through town, people watch, shop, grab a snack, etc.  My favorite stops, aside from shopping, were Sporer and Nutella ice cream!

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While this is  top five list, I feel obligated to include the Mirabell Gardens since they are very much associated with Salzburg.

6.  The Mirabell Palace Gardens.  The Gardens are are last on my list, and frankly were underwhelming.  I include these on my list, as they are what initially comes to mind when I think of Salzburg, and they satisfy the Sound of Music box.  We visited these around 11:00 a.m. on our first day, which was also a Saturday.  The Gardens are just over the bridge from the Aldstat and were very easy to reach by walking.  At 11:00 a.m., the gardens were very crowded and it was difficult to get a good picture of the gardens.  There were many tour groups and a fair amount of people taking professional wedding pictures.  Despite the crowd, we made our way through the gardens, saw the Pegasus fountain, the vine tunnel and the gnome park.  We only spent about 30 minutes here due to the crowds.  If I were going back, I would try to get to the Gardens earlier – I think they open to the public pretty early.  The Gardens were totally free.

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There you are – my top five in Salzburg.  Enjoy!

Cafe Sacher

We stopped for coffee, breakfast and dessert at the famous Cafe Sacher after visiting the Mirabell Palace Gardens. The cafe is very close to the Gardens and Mozart’s birthplace and makes for a great break before or after.

We walked right in and took a seat. Despite its fancy exterior, you can wear whatever you want to the cafe. Plenty of tourists stroll in wearing something terrible. To my surprise, Cafe Sacher has a full menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails).

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We opted for breakfast, coffee and dessert!  Dan definitely ordered best!  He choose eggs with truffled ham.  SO DELICIOUS!!!!  I opted for the vegetarian baguette, which was just mediocre.  I guess that is what I get for ordering vegetarian.  The coffee was great – I had the cappuccino with a side of their liqueur.  After, we all had the famous Sacher Torte!  The cake was so decadent, rich chocolate with an apricot jam in the middle, topped with whipped cream and a Sacher chocolate!

The cake was quite big for the price and was easily split between two people.

LOGISTICS

Cafe Sacher

Hotel Sacher Salzburg

Schwarzstraße 5-7

A-5020 Salzburg

Tel.: +43 (0) 662 889 770

24 Hours in Hallstatt, Austria – September 2014

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Hallstatt, Austria was our third stop of Eurotrip2014, and Hallstatt was quite possibly my favorite place on the trip!  Hallstatt is a tiny village in the Salzkammergut lake district in the middle of Austria, historically known for salt production, and recently known for tourism (and for the knock-off replica in China).  I added Hallstatt to our iteniary based on a picture that I saw two years ago on CNN’s travel photo of the day – seriously.  Random, but Hallstatt totally lived up to my expectations.

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Our trip was quite short – only 24 hours – and it took some effort to get here.  Specifically, we left Munich around 1 p.m. and took the train to Salzburg (about 2 hours).  From Salzburg, we took a different train to Attnang-Puchheim (about 50 minutes), where we changed again to a local (read: slow) train to Hallstatt.  Once at the Hallstatt train station, we took a boat, the Stefanie, across the lake to the town of Hallstatt.  This took a grand total of about six hours.  Hallstatt was worth it, but the trip can be difficult.

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We arrived just as it was getting dark.  The boat ride across the lake was beautiful, and I think we all fell in love with Hallstatt on that boat ride.  We found our hotel, Gasthof Bergfried, pretty easily, checked in and set off for one of the best dinners of the trip!  Note – if you arrive late (like after 6:30) call your hotel and let them know.  Hallstatt is very much a morning/day town and most everything except restaurants close at night.  We called ahead and our hotel left directions and keys to the room for us.

Now, on to my favorite dinner of the trip!  We dined at Gasthof Zauner based on TripAdvisor recommendations.  It was delicious.  The meal started with complementary bread with two butteresque spreads – a potato-based one and a pimento cheesy one!  For mains, I ordered my favorite, the schwineschnitzel, which is pork schnitzel.  The schnitzel was so, so declicious here.  YUM!! Everyone else got pork medallions in gorgonzala sauce, which was also decision, but everyone agreed that mine was the best!  For dessert, we split the famous (and HUGE) Salzburg dessert, the Salzburger Nockerl.

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Before dinner, we stopped by the local Spar (a European grocery chain), which must be the best small grocery store in the world!  The Spar had a great selection of souvenirs, Austrian candy (including Mozart balls for less than in Salzburg), bacon-wrapped hotdogs  and a wine bar with Austrian wine (who knew?!).  Yes, a wine bar!  I lost Dan for a few minutes, and I found him at the wine bar!  The owners were really nice, too!

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For our only day in Hallstatt, we woke up early to head up to Rudolfsturm – where my CNN picture was taken!  Note, Rudolfsturm is the only lookout point in Hallstatt, but there are several more a short bus ride away.  Make sure you know what you are looking for before getting on a bus!

Rudolfsturm is directly above Hallstatt, very close to the entrance of the salt mine (which we skipped).  To get to Rudolfsturm, you take a funicular to the top of the mountain.

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The entrance is right behind our hotel, Gasthof Berfried, and you can follow the “salt mine guy” (above) to the funicular.  To go to the salt mine, continue following the “salt mine guy,” other wise head right up to the Rudolfsturm.  Rudolfstrum has an awesome lookout point with great views!  For an awesome picture, wait for the tourists to clear out (it will happen!) and take a picture of just yourself at the tip of the lookout!

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Rudlofsturm also has a restaurant and outdoor beer garden/tables.  When we went the outdoor dining area/beer garden was closed for food due to bad weather, so we just had drinks outside.  Prices were pretty reasonable!  My attempts at recreating my CNN photo are below!  The middle one isn’t bad!

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After visiting Rudolfsturm, we walked around town, tried the local Hallstatt Bier, shopped and had a great day!

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LOGISTICS

Rudolfsturm

Salzbergstraße 1

4830 Hallstatt • Austria

Phone: +43 (0)6136/8811-0

info@rudolfsturmhallstatt.at

Stiegl-Brauwelt

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On our last day in Salzburg, we took a tour of the Stiegl Brewery!  This was such a fun experience, and I am so glad that we did it.

The brewery is about a 30 minute walk from the Altstadt.  We used the GPS on my phone to ensure we were on the right track, and the walk was much, much easier that I anticipated.  Actually, I had worried about this activity since I started planning our trip.  It was very difficult to find much information on the brewery in English on the internet, or in other blogs or travel books.  In any case, it worked out great!

We called the morning of and confirmed the time of the English tour, which was at 14:00 when we visited, and I think there is only one English tour a day.  Upon arrival, we went into the giftshop and purchased tickets for the tour (€11,00/person).  Easy!  Before the tour, we had a quick lunch in the restaurant and checked out the grounds, including Stiegl’s own maypole.  So cool!

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The tour started with a very “euro” 360 movie, proceeded through the making of beer and ended in the Stiegl museum.  The tour was great and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves beer, or who is in the area and has not had a chance to tour a brewery, since beer is such a part of the culture in this part of the world.  The tour ended with a tasting of three beers of your choice, which equated to a little over a 1/2 liter of beer, and a free gift.  For our gift, we had the choice of another beer to take home (in a bottle), a magnet or a lapel pin.

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The three beer sampler was served in the outdoor beer garden, where Dan finally got to smoke his Cuban!  We left around 16:30, and the entire event lasted about four and a half not-rushed-at-all hours.

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LOGISTICS

Sitgel-Brauwelt

Bräuhausstraße 9

5020 Salzburg

Tel. +43 (0)662-8387-1492

The brewery is open on Sunday.

The website seems to have improved A LOT from when I was researching this.  I think they may have read my comment card!

Bärenwirt Salzburg

In Salzburg, we dined at a delicious restaurant a short walk from our apartment – Bärenwirt.  This restaurant is just up the hill from the Altstadt on the way to Augustiner Bräu.  We walked by this restaurant earlier in our trip, and we were so glad that we returned!  Dan and I dined on pumpkin soup, a meat platter, schweinschnitzel and German chocolate cake. YUM!! This may have been the best schnitzel I had on the trip (close with my Hallstatt schnitzel), and this was certainly our best meal in Salzburg.  Our waitress spoke perfect English and was extremely friendly. The meal ended with a complementary bowl of gummy bears – so cute!  When the waitress saw that we were excited about the gummy bears, she gave us some extras in a to go bag!

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Bärenwirt also claims to have “the best friend chicken.” Craig tried it, and he seemed to like it.  Growing up in Virginia, it was hard for me to get on board with this.  However, it seemed like a valiant attempt.

LOGISTICS

Bärenwirt Salzburg

Müllner Hauptstraße 8

5020 Salzburg

Tel +43 (0)662 422 404

We didn’t make a reservation and were able to walk-in around 8 on a Saturday.

Augustiner Bräu – Salzburg, Austria

We went to Augustiner Bräu on our first night in Sazlburg upon the recommendation of our cab driver.  Augustiner is a large brewery just up from the Altstadt.  The route is very easily walkable and took about 15 minutes from the Altstadt.

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Augustiner serves half or full liter steins of their own brew.  To get a beer, you purchase a token from the cashier at the front, grab a stein, rinse it in the water and hand your token and stein to the man pouring the beer.  After collecting your beer, the brewery opens up into a beer hall with numerous stalls selling various types of food.  As with most beer halls, you take a seat wherever you please.  There were a lot of university students there.  Very Hogwartsesque.

We tried food from a few of the stands, but nothing really blew me away.  The stalls served inexpensive local fare, including schnitzel, fish, and pork.  However, you can also bring in our own food!  I wish I had known this, as we passed a pizza place on the way that smelled amazing…

In addition to the indoor beer hall, there is an outdoor beer garden.

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LOGISTICS

Augustiner Bräu

A-5020 Salzburg Lindhofstr. 7

T: +43-662-431246