About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mountains and Fountains

Today is our second day in Salzburg. After breakfast in the hotel, we walked over to the train station to catch the bus that would take us to Untersberg.

Our hotel.

The bus ride took about 30 min. We arrived at the tram station, bought our tickets and rode up to the top of the mountain - 1853 meter high.

Once on top there are hiking trails that take you to different lookout points. We hiked to the highest one, which took about 45 min and lots of sweating. It was sunny and very warm and humid. The views from the top were wonderful, even with hazy skies. Brandon had fun at the top building some towers from the stones. These mountains are mostly marble. Its interesting that the stones on the hiking trail are polished smooth from years and years of hikers stepping on them.

Views of the Alps.

The cross on the mountaintop that you can barely see in the distance is near the tram station. This cross is featured in aerial views of Salzburg during the opening scenes of The Sound of Music.

We stayed on top of the mountain for a little while, relaxing the in the shade of an information sign while Brandon played. It was time to hike back down to the tram station. The hike down was easier but still slow going due to slick rocks and gravel. Near the end Katrina slipped and scraped her hands up a bit.

Making our way back down to the tram.

We rode the tram back down the mountain and caught the next bus heading towards Salzburg, getting off the bus a little ways down the road at Hellbrunn Castle.

In 1610, Prince-Archbishop Sittikus decided he needed a lavish palace with a vast ornate garden purely for pleasure. He built this and loved to invite his VIP guests out for fun with his trick fountains. We got our tickets and waited in the shade for the tour to begin. We had heard that the tour guides loved to get people wet. The trick is to notice where the ground is wet and move away from that area. All the fountains are fed from a natural spring. Of course, Brandon wanted to get soaked. He even volunteered to sit at a special table that soaked visitors. I think these gardens were one of his favorite places on the trip.

Brandon volunteers to get wet. Water shot out of the seats and the table.

Inside one of the grottos.

The prince's crown.

This was a water powered chirping machine. It sounded like birds in this room.

Brandon had a lot of fun and got really wet. The fountain tour exited into the formal gardens. We were free to roam the gardens and the attached park.

Katrina and Brandon in the formal gardens.

View of Untersberg.

We were told that the park is the home of the gazebo from The Sound of Music. We found it in a corner of the park.

Sixteen Going on Seventeen....gazebo from The Sound of Music

Brandon spotted a playground, so we headed that way. Katrina and I found a shady spot to sit while Brandon played on the zipline and then in the sand.

Fun in the sand.

We were hot and hungry, so we walked back to the bus stop and headed back to Salzburg. We ate lunch at a little cafe near the bus stop. Katrina and I each vegetable lasagna and Brandon had a hot dog.

This afternoon Katrina wanted to visit Mozart's house. Yesterday we visited his birthplace. I wasn't so interested, so we decided to split up. I headed out to find the local hobby shop. Brandon chose to come with me. Katrina headed to Wohnhaus - Mozart's house.

Brandon and I found the hobby shop easy enough. It had an incredible selection of HO scale vehicles. I've never seen so many. I ended up buying a few (2 of which will be headed to Blodgett), as well as some scenery details. Brandon bought an HO scale city bus.

We figured Katrina would be awhile longer, so we headed to the toy store that Brandon spotted the night before. We wanted to see what Siku they had and to look at all the new Lego kits. Katrina texted me as were walking there. She would meet us at the toy store.

Mozart's second home provides insight into Mozart's life and music, with the usual scores and old pianos and a 30 minute film. Katrina enjoyed this home more than the birthplace home.

We made our way to the elevator that takes tourists up the cliffside for a different view of the city.

View of old town and fortress from top of elevator.

Mosaics of old Salzburg.

We were hungry and had some trouble deciding what to eat. We finally agreed on the Augustiner Braustubl, a huge 1000 seat beer garden within the monk-run Augustiner brewery. It was packed with people, loud and happy. Just what I expected of a beer garden. We found a table and I headed over to get the beers. First you pay the cashier, then you find a mug, rinse it out and hand it to the guys at the kegs. I had a beer. Katrina had another Radler.

I brought the drinks back to the table and headed upstairs to see what the various food vendors were selling. Katrina and I ended up with roasted chicken. Brandon had a pretzel. We agreed, that was the best chicken meal we have had in a very long time. Later, I headed back upstairs to find some dessert. During this whole time Brandon alternated between eating and playing on the wooden beer barrel play area.

It was late, we were tired. We caught a bus back to our hotel and crashed. Tomorrow we head to Slovenia, with a sidetrip to Hallstatt.

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