Our Salzburg hostel the first night was located just outside of the city. It was actually this woman’s house- Haus Christine, so I suppose it was a sort of B &B cross over. Since we would have to get back on the train if we wanted to go eat in the city, Christine herself suggested we walk up the road to the next village, where there was a restaurant. While we were wandering somewhat aimlessly towards the town on the side of a lonely little road in the middle of Austria, the views were absolutely incredible- the sun was just sort of setting and you could just turn around and bam- there were the alps. Salzburg is situated in sort of a valley- Haus Christine was situated on a hill up one side and the Alps provide breathtaking views on the other. It was amazing. We found the Austrian cuisine to be remarkably similar to that of Germany, and, stomachs happily full, we wandered back to the hostel-haus to head to bed.

            The next morning, we ate breakfast in Christine’s glass breakfast room- another beautiful panoramic Alp-en feast for the eyes. The mission for the day was the Sound of Music tour, which I’m pretty sure is the biggest tourist attraction in Salzburg. The guide picked us up in a shuttle and drove us to the main bus, where we joined tourists from all over the globe for four hours of Sound of Music sights, trivia, and so much more! Interestingly enough, the film itself didn’t even last a week in Austria, but, nonetheless Sound of Music and other types of tourism has become the biggest employer for Salzburg-ians. I won’t waste your time attempting to rehash every detail of the 4 hour experience, but we did see several sites where the Von Trapp villa was filmed, the famous gazebo from “I am sixteen, going on seventeen”, the church where Maria and the Baron Von Trapp were married, and of course the Alps that they crossed to escape into Austria (fun trivia fact- they had to use a double for the littlest Von Trapp because Christopher Plummer insisted she was too fat for him to carry for those scenes). And I picked up some fantastic sound of music related jokes, but those are for another day.

(tour guide) Why did the Sound of Music take so long to film? A: You can't get a Plummer to work on Saturdays!

 

Mondsee

  

            After the tour, Maura and I hopped off the bus and set out to find an internet café to book our second night in Salzburg. While standing on a street corner contemplating a map, a very kind Austrian man passed and pointed across the street- “Yoho?” and walked away. No, he was not exchanging whitey pirate jargon with the confused tourists, he was pointing out the Yoho Youth Hostel, which was to become our home for night #2! (Unfortunately this remarkable stroke of luck made us cocky, and our ideals of the simplicity of finding hostels would soon be discounted in both Rome and Florence). After dropping our belongings, we wandered around Salzburg for a while, visiting the Mirabell Gardens, a beer garden, and the AltStadt (Old City) area before calling it a day and heading back to YoHo for the night. (Our first hostel mates: girl who was never awake and angry German lady who yelled at me for not drying my hands.) Nonetheless, I slept like a log.

Guten Nacht Salzburg!

            The next day, we decided to explore outside of the city on bikes! After a bit of confusion and some helpful direction from our Sound of Music tour guide, Peter, from the day before, we found a bike rental and chose our destination- the Hellbrunn palace and gardens. We ate lunch in the park and soaked up the sunshine. Have I mentioned that there was yet again a fantastic view of the Alps? After the return of the bikes, the afternoon played out much like the previous one, a relaxing wander around. Since we had already checked out of the hostel, we had to sneak back into to take illegal showers. It’s lucky that there really was no one around because sitting in a hallway repacking all of your belongings into your newly purchased hot pink suitcase is not a very surreptitious way to make illegal use of hostel facilities. After showering, we indulged in an Austrian McDonald’s and headed to the train station to catch our night train to Florence, Italy. It was Auf Wiedersehn to Austria, and Ciao Italy!

Bike riding in Austria!