Once we decided our plan of action for Salzburg, we got on course and made for the train station. Little did we know, until we got on a tram to take us to said train station...that we had been standing directly across from it while waiting for said tram...ridiculous. We went about 2 stops when we realized our snafu, got off, waited for the tram back, and proceeded to cross the street to catch our train. I had made us reservations at a place called Turnerwirt
that looked pretty charming and was relatively cheap. It was a little bit outside of historic Salzburg, but with such last minute preparations, we didn't want to lose out on a good price and we figured it would be a good walk.
When we arrived in Salzburg, we discovered that although I had a bus route planned from the internet, finding the actual bus was like searching for needles in hay. We looked at 6 different bus maps that told us pretty much nothing, other than the bus line that I had found online was not actually available from the train station. After about 20 minutes of walking from terminal to terminal trying to decide on a bus, we headed back into the train station thinking that maybe we should try the metro system instead...or that maybe we could ask for help...or find a better map...ANYTHING. When none of these ideas panned out either, we made our best guess, hopped on line 23, and hoped for the best.
Amazingly, the bus stopped directly across from the Hotel, and all of our fears were quelled. We got in around 2:30/3 and knew that we had a long walk ahead of us, so we did the drop and run, grabbed a city map, and started on the 3 mile trek to Old Town. About 45 minutes into this walk (you'll never guess) we felt that it was getting a bit long in the tooth, double checked out map...and found that we had made a wrong turn and were way out from where we should've been. No worries, we maneuvered ourselves back on track, and within about 30 minutes were crossing the bridge into beautiful, picturesque Salzburg.
Now, when I say ' beautiful' and 'picturesque', what I mean is, that in the sunshine and warmth of a Spring day, this place would be amazing. However, as soon as we arrived, it started sleeting, grew even more cold, and it was getting dark. I don't think I've ever been more cold in my life. I was absolutely chilled to the bone and felt like I'd been hanging out in the Antarctic Peninsula
in my swimsuit.
Of course, with numb fingers I fumbled around with my camera, trying to capture at least some of the essence of this city, which barely worked and I quickly lost interest in. At this point we were freezing our tails off and starving (like usual) and headed into the little city, full of tunnels, caves and cobblestones pedestrian streets in search of a hot meal. When we could no longer stand the biting air, we picked one that 'looked fine' and had a little English on the menu.
I'm pretty sure that this was the cruddiest choice that we made on the entire trip. The place was a little hole in the wall mom & pop shop, with bad 90's decor (80's?), and was almost as cold inside as it was outside. The waiter/owner/cook, did not speak English, despite what the menu would lead you to believe, so we fumbled around with ordering. Feeling pressured, I just pointed at something, fish and chips, for god knows what reason. Nick asked for a steak sandwich, I believe. When our meals came out...mine was certainly fish, with cold German potato salad, okay, not too bad. Nick however, received a chicken pizza. Chicken pizza really? That's not even close to Steak Sandwich...in fact it may be universally opposite. But, what are you going to do? Nothing. We sucked up our less than pleasing meals, all the while under the intense scrutiny of a 30something Austrian couple sitting next to us. Luckily eyes aren't lasers or this woman would've bore holes right through me. She stared me down the ENTIRE time we were there. It's not like we were being loud and obnoxious. We were quiet and gracious despite ourselves and talked in low, casual voices, clearly nothing that should have induced such an outrageous interest in us. I wanted to punch her nose. Alas, of course, I would never do such things.
We then sat waiting to catch the waiter/owner/cook for 15 more freezing minutes to get the bill. During which time there was some crazy blow out where woman from the adjoined bar (who seemed to be the owners wife?), stormed out with great dramatic flair, and the bar patrons, the couple next to us and the other employees proceeded to speak in greatly excited tones about the whole thing for another 10 minutes. Feeling like flies on the wall, we just wanted to get out of there, but had to wait it out until we could pay the bill. Finally, and without knowing what the heck just happened, we paid and got out of there, where although it was ice raining and windy, I preferred.
After this charade, we walked around for about 40 minutes, until we realized that the clock had struck midnight and everything turned into pumpkins. Actually, the clock struck 5pm and EVERYTHING closed. Literally. Miserably cold, with nowhere to find shelter, we did a little more picture taking and made a bee-line to the bus station, figured out which bus would take us back to the hotel (no chance of walking back in this weather) and went back to nestle in for the remainder of the evening.
Hanging out at the hotel was pretty boring, and there weren't a lot of food option around there, so Nick ended up going out around 8pm in search of some fast food *bows head in shame*. The closest he found was a McDonald's (the only time in the trip we resorted to this), but I can at least say we got different food there than what McDonald's at home is serving. I had a funky take on a chicken sandwich...not really sure what was on it, and we got curly seasoned fries with sour cream dip, totally not available here.
The rest of the night we read, watched international CNN, and I took a nice hot bath in their clean, huge tub. Kind of a bust, but we were happy to at least see the city a little bit and it was a much, MUCH cheaper pit stop than where our original plan would've taken us.
So, highlights of Salzburg were as follows::
Charming, well priced hotel at Turnerwirt
The enclosed, mountain-surrounded feel of Old Town.
Seeing all of the funny Mozart
related goods and paraphernalia.
Mozart - Symphony no36 Vienna Philharmonic
(this is actually at the Musikverein that we went to in Vienna)
Next stop, Zürich.