Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Chiming Hills of Österreich - Day 4

Picturesque Salzburg

Hinterglemm                                                                   Austria

Tuesday 30th June 2015

Yet another early rise for me in the morning which was not a surprise at all as I’m always up early. In no time at all I was up and ready hearing quite a lot of commotion outside. I opened my curtains and had seen that there were a few people setting wooden ramps up and laying very large rolls of fabric down the green slope. I thought it was peculiar but then I remembered that there was a bike festival coming up at the weekend. Anyway I headed downstairs for an early breakfast as yet again I had another brilliant excursion to take part in. It was the day I would be taking a trip to the beautiful Salzburg so I was really looking forward to that. I thought it would be a bit weird heading into a city considering that I had spent the majority of my time in the foothills and mountains. 

I was greeted by the pretty receptionist in the dining area who I found out that she was actually the manageress of the chalet hotel and her name was Kate. Anyway I sat at the table and grabbed my food and began to eat. Then Kate came over and asked me if I wanted a hot breakfast and I could see that she already knew that I was going to say yes and soon rushed off back into the kitchen. As she left, Paul and Pat sat with me as we began chatting about what our intentions were today. We continued talking as I was shovelling in my hot breakfast and then Kate came back with 2 lots of sandwiches and said they were for me because I forgot my packed lunch yesterday. I was grateful she did that and said thank you to her; then I checked the time. Yet again I had about 15 minutes left to get to the bus stop so I grabbed my belongings and left in a rush. It took quite a short amount of time to reach the coach and I could immediately tell it was a different coach than yesterday. It was a double decker coach and everyone had the same intention to get to the top and the front. So I rushed in after handing my voucher over and headed up. The front seats were obviously taken but I did get a good seat just behind the steps with plenty of leg room and air con. When we were all ready, we set off heading straight for Zell am see. 

So I sat back and relaxed enjoying the fantastic mountain views again. Time had passed beyond picking passengers up at Zell am see as we were now on our way to Salzburg which was 107km away. There was an option when we got there of paying a local city guide to show people around but I didn’t want too as I wanted to go off and explore this great city by myself. The journey was smooth until typically, a traffic jam was slowing us right down; it was a good job that there was some fantastic scenery to look at to relieve the boredom. The slow driving carried on for another 20 minutes before the traffic was flowing perfectly again. By this point though we were nearing our destination and the first thing that stood out was the famous white fortress at the top of the hill overlooking the city of Salzburg. A few more turns in the city led us to our drop off point just outside the central area. We all got off the coach walking into the centre. The sun was beaming bright once more which was absolutely perfect as it made the area shine brighter. 


It was a short walk to the meeting point at the ‘Mozartplatz’ and this was the area where I parted ways from the group. With my map I was provided with and my trusty compass, I got my bearings and set off in a North West direction to the ‘Dom quarter’ where the large church was situated. The church which was called ‘Dom’ was the first building I had entered into. I was suddenly in awe when I entered into the church as yet again it was like being in Rome with the same type of layout and artwork amongst the walls inside. I had a slow walk around the vast areas weaving around pillars and the smell of candles went right up my nose. All I could hear in the church was a lot of people mumbling with a slight echo and the sound of my shoes squeaking against the marble floor. At this point I decided to take my leave not really knowing where to go next until I walked south and feasted my eyes on the large fortress above me. I had to get up there I thought to myself and get a great view of the city so I took a walk towards it. I was in a cemetery at the time though and I couldn’t get over how pretty the area looked despite it being a cemetery. The whole place was pretty much covered in bushes and flowers mostly on the graves. I walked through a big black metal gate and arrived up next to the lift that I could have used to get to the fortress. Not me though as I decided to take the challenging route up the side of the hill zig zagging gaining height. 

Salzburg Fortress

I was immediately sweating and was very exhausted by the time I had reached the white fortress; speaking of which, it was an amazing spectacle up close. I walked through the entrance and had seen that an 8 euro charge was placed to get in; so I paid and entered being welcomed by another incline. So up I went feeling strain in my legs walking through tunnels and open areas until finally the ground levelled out. I was absolutely sweating and it didn’t help that the sun was beaming bright down on me but I wasn’t complaining about that. I had a stroll around the fortress until I had seen an opening for the outer balconies. 

Inside Salzburg Fortress

The view of Salzburg was right in front of me and it felt great being at a high vantage point overlooking the city. I could see the church rooftops, the river flowing at the centre and beyond. I spent a bit of time looking at the view admiring it and getting a perspective of the land before I set off to the opposite side of the fortress. I thought the area showed all it had to give but I was wrong when I got to the opposite balcony. A most fabulous 180 degree view of the land lay in front of me with breathtaking picturesque mountains close by. I stared at one of the mountains and thought that it looked familiar to the one I seen when I landed at the airport a few days ago. That’s because it was the same one and as I looked to my right, there it was with planes arriving. I decided to leave at this point and head back down bypassing a puppet museum descending down a steep path until I was outside of the fortress walls. 

City of Salzburg
180 Degree View of Austria

Then I had to walk down the zig zagging cobbled road without speeding up which was a challenge of its own feeling pain in my legs once more. I headed to the next square along where I came across a very large fountain display and a lot of old fashioned horse and carts. It looked quite amazing and just off the square I managed to find a seat with shade to have my dinner at. Whilst I was eating, a large group of tourists came over and I thought they were taking a picture of me eating which I thought was weird but they were actually taking pictures of a peculiar plinth in front of me with gyro meters and needles which I thought was quite interesting. It was really nice to finally sit down too watching everyone go by enjoying their day as much as I was. 

My next location was the river and it wasn’t far from where I ate. On the way there I came across a homeless man who had his hands out for money and he seen me approach him and asked me for money. However, I thought I would do one better and give him my spare sandwich I received at the hotel being generous knowing he needed money for food. I could see he was grateful but not as grateful as I thought. He still asked if I had Euros on me and politely walked on thinking ‘cheeky git I just gave him my sandwich and he’s still asking for money’. I suddenly arrived at the marvellous spectacle of the river which was full and flowing rapidly down the city. I then crossed one of the bridges to the other side admiring the views along the way and then I immediately realised that this side of the city was full of shops both common and peculiar; so I decided to buy the majority of my gifts here getting it out of the way. I was gobsmacked at some places prices though; well over the top I thought. The peculiar shops were usually the best ones to go too such as the Swedish sweet shop, Mozart chocolate shops and novelty gift shops especially a certain one I went into that had a staircase full of long swords, battle axes and daggers. There were clothes shops too and the majority of them were selling the traditional ‘lederhosen’ at expensive prices. I stayed well clear of that but still admiring the displays in the shop windows. I then headed back along to the riverside where I took a right turn going North West following the river up. Yet again the views were remarkable to look upon and at this point it was really hot. There were a lot of people sunbathing as though they were on a beach too. Although it was boiling hot I never complained as I wanted it to be like this. 

I looked at my map to see where I was and I could see I was really close to the ‘Mirabellgarten’ which was a huge park with a well designed floral garden. So I headed straight for it which did not take long at all. I entered and had to climb a very slight hill to behold the most precious view of the floral garden with the large white fortress at its centre in the distance. I thought it was the best view of Salzburg by far and decided to walk down the garden alongside a beautiful fountain with a unicorn statue placed above it. I then headed to the next garden area in the park which had a large area of rose bushes with colours of red, white and yellow; it looked like something in a Disney princess movie and I thought I was the princess. 

Rose Garden (Princess Moment)

At this point I left heading back to the south side of the river buying more gifts along the way admiring the tight nipped streets as time here was shortening. The last remaining hour I had was spent wandering around the area trying to get last minute glimpses of the place. Towards the end I came across a peculiar band playing Mozart type music with strange instruments. One man had an accordion which was normal. The second man had a banjo/violin kind of instrument. The third man had the most bizarre guitar I had ever seen. The base of it was a very large triangular shape and strangely enough when they played together, it was perfect harmony and it was all happy sounding music which everybody loved. It was time to head back to the meeting point and I arrived quite quickly with half the group already there. Whilst we were waiting for more people to arrive, there was some more entertainment opposite us in the square. There were 2 clarinet players playing a Mozart song whilst a woman was spinning around on a very large hoop. The woman now and again kept coming off her hoop accidently but it seemed to pass the time. By this time everybody showed up and we were on our way back to the coach. Along the way I was talking to a couple about what they did during their time in Salzburg and what else they were doing in Austria. I thought it would be good to talk to different people as everyone had a different story to tell. 

We finally arrived back at the bus depot and boarded our coach. I managed to sit at the same seat as last time which was quite satisfying and once everyone was on we set off back to our hotels. I stuck my headphones in again and watched on at the mountain views passing by so majestically. I could see half the people on the coach were asleep which was not surprising, I sort of wanted to join them in the land of nod but I didn’t want to pass on the amazing views out of my window. A very long time had passed until I finally get off the coach at Hinterglemm feeling pain at the back of my legs. I was tempted to go into the pool nearby for my feet again but I just carried on back to my room. It felt great finally being back and once I sorted through my gifts, I looked out of my window to see what was going on and couldn’t believe what I had seen. It was the commotion from this morning but since I was away in Salzburg, they placed fabric on the ramp and covered it all with dirt. There was a digger above it carving out the ground still not understanding the meaning behind it. 

At this point it was time to head downstairs for my evening dinner thank god as I was hungry. I entered the dining area assuming I would be sitting at the same table with the same people. Not this time though as I was placed at a different table with a different group of people. It didn’t really matter though because we got on like a house on fire. We were talking again about where we lived and what we did laughing all night; the food was fantastic as well from beginning to end. The male waiter came over who I gave the rose too last night to give to Kate and I asked him if she got it. He said he had forgotten but he told her about it and apparently she blushed and didn’t believe him. So yet again I made another one out of a red napkin which looked perfect with everyone at my table watching on. I showed Paul and Pat the rose who were sitting at another table and they laughed knowing what it was for. Anyway, the next time the waiter came over I gave it to him and watched on. She came through the kitchen door and the waiter approached her with it. The look on her face was priceless as she was shocked and smiling. My heart was thumping like mad as I carried on talking to the people on my table. 

At this point it was getting late so we got out of our seats and began to leave as Kate was watching on. I was the last one from my table to leave and I told her that her face was priceless. She had a great big smile on her face as I left and headed upstairs. I entered my room and began packing my bag for the next day’s excursion with good advice to wrap up. Still I would think on at the wonderful sights I had seen today in the beautiful white city of Salzburg.
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