Saturday, September 08, 2007

Climbing Salzburg - Part 1

What? You thought Salzburg was flat?? Well, part of it is, but to see some of the sights, you can go the easy way, or not. And with all the calories we had eaten up since we got there, we though it wise to, well, you know, burn a few of those extra calories.

Here's a picture of a beautifully manicured alley leading to a restaurant (I think it's the Kongresshaus, but I'm not sure) in Bad Ischl, a small town where we made a stop before continuing our route towards Salzburg on the Monday morning. I just love this picture. Well done, OX!

On our firstvisit to Salzburg, we decided to just walk through the old town. The fun thing was that we were there during the Salzburger Festspiele (Salzburger Festival). No, we are NOT the kind to run after prominent people, but prefer to leave them their peace and quiet. Let me tell you, though, there were plenty of camera teams and paparazzi everywhere, so they had their share of attention.

Anyhow, once there, we bought a city map and made our way to the most famous and probably oldest streets in Salzburg, namely the Getreidegasse. It’s great for all you (and us) shoppers out there. Every shop has its own emblem made of cast iron and, as you walk along, you’ll find that the side streets, or what often looks like an arcade, will lead you to lovely courtyards with cafés and restaurants.

We picked a side street that led us straight to a cute restaurant where we enjoyed a nice, light lunch while sitting outdoors. At some point, I was telling Orange-X that this was the street where we could find Mozart’s birth house. He looked at me, smiled and said: “Uhm. Yes, I know, sweetheart. We’re sitting right opposite it.” Huh?? Since I had my back to the house, I had missed it completely! Duh! There it is! How could I have mised that?

As we were almost done with lunch and contemplating on visiting this small museum, about 3-4 tourist busses arrived hauling not only your day to day tourist, such as French, British, American, etc., but also a bus full of apprentice Chinese monks. At least, I think they were Chinese. Tibetan, maybe?? Anyway, they all had shaven heads and were wearing orange robes, and everyone – including the other nationalities - was headed straight for Mozart’s birth house. The line was stacking back far into the courtyard where we were sitting, so we decided to skip the museum. We fought our way to get through the “Mozart” fans and finally made it to a bit less crowded areas of the city.

At some point, we got to the Linzergasse and saw a sign directing to a Franciscan monastery up on the Kapuzinerberg, which apparently offered a magnificent view of Salzburg AND, most importantly, had a restaurant where we could enjoy a nice, cold beer! The weather was gorgeous (and very HOT! - about 32°C, or low 90°F), so we started our steep climb up the road and many stairs, then into the woods. There were two routes to choose from. One was 2.2km (road) and the other 1.6km (walking path). We opted for the shorter version, because we were getting thirsty and... Did I mention it was HOT?? We soon discovered that the so called walking path was mostly stairs… Very old stairs that are not fit for legs of a 6’2” O-X! I was fine, but poor Orange really suffered during the first 500 meters climb. How steep was it, you ask? Just have a look... And this was the easy part!

After 45 minutes of zigzagging the steep hills and stairs through the woods (I swear that had to be much more than 1.6km!!), we finally made it to our goal and were totally dehydrated! My first thought was: “It looks so… uhm...empty up here”. I turned around to find an O-X looking at a sign in total disbelief. It read: “Wirtschaft Montag und Dienstag geschlossen” (Restaurant closed Mondays and Tuesdays). You have two guesses… Right! That day was a Monday - those who though Tuesday, were wrong. LOL! So, we were the only idiots (Austrians hardly ever do a climb like that without a liquid rewrd awaiting them!) up there? Almost. The only other humans in sight were a) an art student sitting on a foldable seat - and obviously laughing at us stupid tourists -, drawing the small monastery and b) what we think was the caretaker of the monastery coming back from a walk with his dogs, opening the door to the monastery and closing it right behind him. Frustrated (and still very thirsty), we walked back down again, taking the longer, but much easier road back to the Linzengasse. By that time, our throats felt like sawdust and we went straight for a street café where we first gulped down half a litre of water, then an ice cold “radler” beer (also known as a shandy).

We were getting hungry, so we walked back through small streets and alleys to the old town and started to look out for a nice restaurant. We sat down at the Café Mozart, at the Residenzenplatz, with a direct vew of the fountain. Now this reminds me of one of Ginnie’s posts (sorry, I couldn't find it). Why? Well, she mentioned something about having desert before dinner, and during our stay in Austria, Orange-X totally fell for the classic Eis Kaffee (Ice coffee). No, it’s not a coffee flavoured ice cream, but a strong, hot coffee with 2-3 good scoops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream to top it off. Well, she mentioned something about having desert before dinner and O-X had not one, but two of these delicious ice coffees before dinner. So what’s wrong with that?! Want a spoonfull??

We had a very nice dinner there, and made our way back through the beautiful old town to our car, then to the hotel.

Do you think that’s it? No way! We had much more climbing to do. Wait until you hear about the climb up the Salzburger fortress, Hohensalzburg!
BTW, if you look at OX's photo as "captain of the ship" closely (click to enlarge) you'll see part of me in his sunglasses. Next weekend, we're in Holland! :D
PS: I'll be adding a link with all the picts of this trip (except the X-rated ones, of course;)) in my last entry.


Jay said...

Your vacation sounds delicious :)

The Big Finn said...

Climbing all that way, reward. Bummer! It kind of reminds me of our honeymoon when Mrs. TBF and I were in Tahiti.

We had rented a scooter one day and stopped at a little oceanfront restaurant/shack and had the best grilled tuna burgers in the history of mankind. The next day, we didn't rent a scooter, but we decided to just hoof it to the shack for another tuna burger. The walk ended up being much longer than we thought, plus this annoying drizzle began when we had reached the half-way point. When we finally reached the shack (soaking wet and starving), I went to order the tuna burgers. Fifteen seconds later, I returned to where Mrs. TBF was sitting, and told her: "Now...don't commit suicide, but...they're out of tuna!"

We ended up just settling for something else...:(

CanadianSwiss said...

Jay: I was... All that ice coffee!! Mmmm.

TBF: I was wondering what was coming after your first sentence. You know, "no reward" and "honeymoon". I'm happy to read that it was "only" the tuna burger you ran out of ;)

Michael said...

Wow that's amazing...and all I did was go to the Beach!

the big bear said...

Puh! All this climbing would be no fun for my feet, I guess. Would you be so kind and push me up in a wheelchair if I join you next time? ;o)

But this picture with your feet - I don't know, it could be fake! Be honest: The floor was horizontal, you were falling forward and in that very moment OX took the picture. Later you turned the picture. Got you! :o))

Ginnie said...

This is one of my favorite cities in the whole entire world, CS! And that fortress is something else, too, where we did a dinner/concert tour.

BTW, when we were in Mozart's birth house, we found out that his sister was every bit as talented as he was and they often played duets together. But guess what! Because she was born at the time when women are supposed to get married young, her dad never promoted her again! So sad.

Donica and I leave for Atlanta tomorrow, so once again we miss each other by hours!!! What's wrong with us?! But our time will come. Surely it will!

swenglishexpat said...

Thanks for the guided tour; I got both tired and thirsty! Did you have any of the famous Mozart Kugeln? They are quite useful as rewards sometimes.

Expat Traveler said...

I have to say that I love your shoes and I've been looking for a pair like those for months. My biggest problem is the fit of course...

And the pics! They rocked, lovely vacation and well you got what you truely wanted with the walk, minus the meal.. In the end, it looks like the reward was worth it..

Happy times in Holland, can't wait!

CanadianSwiss said...

Michael: Beach is always good, too!

Big B: No-no-no. I didn't change anything on that picture :)

Ginnie: I guess women were not really promoted for any talent other than keeping house back then, huh? Sad indeed.

And yes, we keep missing each other by a few hours, but we'll make it work. :)

Swenglish: I'm not too fond of the Mozart Kugeln... Too sweet! But O-X loves them ;)

ET: The shoes are the most comfortable ones I have. They're like slippers. And guess what? Right after we came back down from the Kappuzinerberg, I bought the same in white leather!

Expat Traveler said...

what brand are they? I wonder if they have them in gigantor sizes here!!!

and those sunsets were amazing, a week of them!!! Now they are gone. :(

christina said...

Mmm...Eis Kaffee. I really need to discover my roots and explore Austria further. We've been to a couple of places but never Salzburg.

CanadianSwiss said...

ET: They're Puma's. I know they were really strong in the US a year or two ago, but I don't know how it is today and what you can find in Canada. And for your info, you'l need half a size to a size bigger, because they're made a bit smaller.

Christina: I'm sure that you have more that just "Eis Kaffee" in your roots ;) I highly suggest that you visit Salzburg, but stay a bit outside (Mondsee is just 20 minutes away by car and MUCH cheaper to stay overnight). I can give you a few addresses :)

CanadianSwiss said...

ET: They're Puma's. I know they were really strong in the US a year or two ago, but I don't know how it is today and what you can find in Canada. And for your info, you'l need half a size to a size bigger, because they're made a bit smaller.

Christina: I'm sure that you have more that just "Eis Kaffee" in your roots ;) I highly suggest that you visit Salzburg, but stay a bit outside (Mondsee is just 20 minutes away by car and MUCH cheaper to stay overnight). I can give you a few addresses :)