Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Tuesday was another beautiful, sunny and HOT day. We decided to visit the Hohensalzburg Festung, so “the bitch” – no, it’s not me. That’s what we call OX’s navigation system. – took us up a winding road up the Mönchsberg overlooking Salzburg. The road got smaller and smaller, and we ecountered quite a few hikers, some giving us dirty looks. Hmmm. We did see a few parking spots along that road, but how far could we go until we got into trouble. We had gotten used to walking the day before, so we turned around and parked the car in front of a big, classy hotel.

We followed the signs through the woods until we reached the Museum der Moderne, where we made a short halt. However, seeing the fortress just about 1 kilometre away, we decided to continue. We were both enjoying the walk through the cool woods.

It’s amazing how many residences and old, but restored houses you’ll see on the way.
It was also interesting to see the different walls surrounding the fortress and we weren’t even there, yet!

Finally, we reached the bottom of the fortress. Woah! That’s still very high up!

If you thought we had a steep climb up the Kapuzinerberg, let me tell you that the walk from the gate (where you pay the entrance fee) to the (Fortress Hohensalzburg) itself is much more work! We couldn’t believe that some people were going up there (and coming down) in their flip-flops. Now, THAT my friends, was a funny sight! Seeing them slipping and sliding out of their shoes and trying to reach the chicken ladder on the other side, or then holding on to the railing along the fortress wall. The road leading up there is not only very steep – OX suspected over 20% climb - , but it’s like a sandy, crushed stone. And let me remind you that it was again about 32° C (90°F)!

Once we made it to the top (the actual fortress), we looked at different buildings: the small chapel, the salt storage (salt was worth more than gold at that time), the blacksmith’s and stalls, the grain storage, etc. We walked across the main market place and then decided we needed some food. What a blessing! We found a lovely spot in one of the outdoor restaurants and ordered a light lunch, and an ice cold beer to wash it down.

Once we were done, we decided to take the guided tour where one is handed a phone and can listen to the explanations in different languages. In front of the entrance, there was a bull made out of steel, I think, and it caught O-X’s attention. After this photo, I had to remind him that the expression was to “take the bull by the horns” and not “by the ears”. Oh well, that looks pretty easy. Anyway, the tour was very interesting and we learned a lot about the many developments the fortress had undergone since it’s been built in 1077. Quite an achievement, I tell you.

Our favourite part of the tour was the walk all the way up to a big platform which offered a breathtaking view of Salzburg and the surrounding area in all of its glory. Absolutely stunning!

The Kapuzinerberg (where we were the day before)

The Mirabell Palace

The cathedral

The salt storage

After the tour, we decided to walk back to the car and drive back to our hotel in Mondsee. Later, we were to meet with Peter and Sonja for a relaxing dinner by the lake, followed by a visit to very nice local bar.

Many laughs and a lot of fun. Can you tell?


Expat Traveler said...

thanks for the wonderful photos and looks like a great vacation! Now if I could get P to smile for a pic! haha

Ginnie said...

Goody-goody gumdrops! I LOVE seeing this place again--one I have actually been to and can recognize. Your pics have brought back so many memories, CS. WOW!

CanadianSwiss said...

ET: Get P. a few bacardi cokes and an evening with OX. I'm sure he'll get him to smile a lot ;)

Ginnie: LOL! "Goody-goody gumdrops" is something I haven't heard/read in ages! I'm sure the memories were good. It's such a beautiful region!