Tuesday, August 23, 2016

One last day in Salzburg before moving on! Day 4, May 29th!

Today was our last day in Salzburg before we moved on to our next destination...we were getting closer to boarding our river cruise, but still had some sightseeing to do here! 

We started the day by heading back into the Old Town, crossing over the Locks Bridge...

Our next stop was another one that we could use from our Salzburg Card, Mozart's Birthplace!

Another museum where other than in the entrance, no photos were allowed, so here is the kitchen....

And a view from one of the hallways

And that's about all you get to see!  But this was a pretty interesting museum. This one had much more about Mozart's life and his original compositions and letters as well as his instruments.  It was really very fascinating! 

Afterward we walked through town a bit and did some souvenir shopping

Then we made our way back over to the other side of the bridge for our afternoon tour!

This afternoon we were going on a tour to Hallstatt, in the Lakes and Mountains region. Hallstatt is Austria's oldest and we're told, also Austria's most photographed villages, surrounded by the Dachstein mountains and located along the Salzkammergut Lake Region. As we waited for our bus, a little lunch break! Instead of hot dog stands, it was more like a brat stand!

We drove through the picturesque countryside, although it was fairly overcast...and we didn't have any photo stops along the way.  When we arrived, we had a few options. We could take the funicular up to the top of the mountain for the spectacular views, or head right into the tiny town. We went up to the mountain top! Hallstatt was inhabited as early as 800-400 BC in the iron age, and is therefore considered the oldest, still-inhabited village in Europe! It is also one of the salt mining towns in Austria and you could visit the more than 250 year old salt caves here, which are similar to the ones we visited in Hallein.  Hallstatt is also a World Heritage UNESCO site.  So, off the bus we went and we started heading to the funicular!

This was going to be a tall one!

Some information about what's up at the top!

The view was just beautiful.  

That down there is the tiny town of Hallstatt, or most of it anyway!  It's said you can walk it in 10 minutes...I think yo can!

We had a nice overlook, picture spot here!

Then after taking our pictures up top, and enjoying the view, we went down to the town and browsed around and enjoyed the picturesque little town!

We really enjoyed visiting this town.  We would have liked for it to have been a full day tour though.  It did feel a bit rushed. The guide kept telling us all of the things we could have done, but that we wouldn't have time - we could do the boat ride on the lake, but we didn't have time.  We could go up to the top of the mountain, but then we didn't have time to visit the "bone church".  We could go to the salt mines, but we'd miss the bus. Of course we had already seen salt mines, but it would have been nice to see the other exhibits up there.  It seemed to me that a full day tour here rather than a short half day tour would be nice, given that it took as much time to drive there and back as we actually spent there.  But we were glad that we went and we liked the visit!

And before leaving Salzburg, and Austria for now, here are just a few pictures of our hotel!  The Wolf-Dietrich

And we'd find that these "fancy" ducks were everywhere in Austria, Hungary and Germany....but here, they were special Mozart ducks. And our lobby had their very own display!

Tomorrow we would be moving on to Budapest.  Alex and I absolutely loved our time in Salzburg. It was a perfect choice for us! A great combination of history, nature and adventure. We were looking forward to the next leg of our journey!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! Our 3rd day continues! May 28, 2016

After finishing up at the Hellbrunn Palace, we continued on to the Salzburg Zoo.  This was at the same stop we got off of our Hop on Hop off Bus, and also one of the admissions we could use with our Salzburg Card! 

By looking at the map at the entrance, the zoo didn't seem to be very large, but once we started walking through, it just kept on going! It was a big, full blown zoo!  It was very nice and many of the animals exhibits were built into the side of a mountain giving them quite a large, natural area to roam around in. Below are just some of the many, many pictures of some of the animals that were there!

There were some animals you wouldn't necessarily expect to see at a zoo, including a cute little mouse, in his mouse house!  

There were some field mice too in there little field grass exhibit

And a very cool insect exhibit too!

I'm not sure I've ever seen guinea pigs at a zoo, but these guys seemed pretty happy to be there!

The setting for this zoo was unbelievably beautiful!

This guy was just begging us to take his picture!

And while it's hard to pick a favorite, because all of these animals are just adorable, these little red pandas are a real hit!

We spent about 3 hours at the zoo, and between our time there and the palace we thoroughly enjoyed our day!  We caught the bus back to Salzburg and had a fantastic pizza dinner.  Afterwards we stopped at a little grocery store for some water and candy for Alex. 

Another successful day in Austria!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Trick Fountains! What a Way to Cool Off! - Day 3 con't 5/28/16

Continuing on the Hop on Hop off Bus tour, the next stop we had on our list to visit was the Hellbrunn Palace. We weren't really sure what this would be all about, but I kept reading descriptions of trick fountains and who doesn't want to see trick fountains right?  We arrived, and purchased our tickets and on the outside, everything looked like pretty much your everyday Palace...as far as palaces go!

We had a bit of time before our tour began so we walked around the park area a bit. We came across yet another Sound of Music bit of history!

Look familiar? 

After walking around the park a bit, it was time for our tour...we walked back up the drive to the Palace towards the entrance.

We went into the courtyard area with our group and walked back into the grounds of the Palace.  We realized then, that the tour would be of the outside areas of the palace.

I think the Hellbrunn Palace website explains it best, Hellbrunn Palace is 

"The passion of Markus Sittikus. Imagine a man who is simultaneously a prince and an archbishop; a man of power with a wealth of gold and salt. His name: Markus Sittikus. His vision: to create such a place that had never previously existed. The power of Markus Sittikus reached far beyond Salzburg. He ruled a region from Carinthia in the south to Regensburg in the north. But why did he have Hellbrunn built in only three years…? Well, it was simply his love of life. You can still feel this passion today: Hellbrunn is more than a summer palace with a park and the unique Trick fountains – Hellbrunn is a love of life.

In 1613 prince-archbishop Markus Sittikus assigned the construction of Hellbrunn. His vision: to create a place that is beyond believe. The palace,  the extensive park and even the Trick fountains of Hellbrunn are a gorgeous jewel on the outskirts of Salzburg.

This was not a residence but a place for celebrations, a location for summer fun and recuperation. This spirit can be felt now just as much as 400 years ago: Whether you stroll through the expansive park or get a tour of the Trick fountains.

Visitors to Hellbrunn are drawn particularly by the Trick fountains. They can enjoy the water automats, grottoes, fountains and other water-operated tricks – nothing else in the world can match their forms and variety.  One thing is certain: all guests can look forward to a refreshing, fun experience for young and old. The water sprays from all spouts and tubes, it trickles and ripples – and sometimes it even gets someone wet. Surprises are guaranteed!"

So, first thing, we all sit down behind this table and our guide tells us how Markus Sittikus would invite his guests over and have them sit at this table and when they'd all be sitting there, the fountains would turn on and they'd get soaked.  What fun for them!  Then fountains came on everywhere!  You can see them around the sides and coming out of the chairs.  This guy had quite the sense of humor...we wondered what would be next!

Then we started walking along the pathway towards the palace

We went inside and found the decor to be quite interesting, at least in this section!

Yes, it does look like a cave...

We went outside and lookout!

You just never know what's going to come out of a deer nose or antlers!

Then all along this little stream were these little figurines. The water automats they're called. They are powered by the stream, and they're a bit interesting as well!

Next is a mechanical theater with over 200 water driven figures that move to the beat of an organ piece, also driven by water....at the end, the guests watching it are surprised by some more water.  You'd think it was going to come from the theater but it catches you off guard coming from an unexpected source. Which I'm not giving away in case anyone makes their way there!

This thing was huge - you can get a better idea here with the people in front of it

Next we went into a room called the Grottos

This water rose up from the floor with this cone on top...

and of course to exit the Grotto....

Alex and I had a blast here.  It was a hot day and the fountains were cool, and very unexpected. You never knew where one would pop up. It was a totally unique place! Outside of the tour area was the garden area and we spent some time walking around. The grounds were beautiful! Many people were just sitting there enjoying it or picnicking.

So far, we were very happy we had hopped off at this stop! And there was still much more to see here!...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

More of the Sights in and around Salzburg! Day 3, 5/28/16

Today was our first day out and on our own and we were looking forward to seeing some more sights in and around Salzburg! Our plan was to make use of the Hop on Hop Off Bus and the Salzburg Card today. As expected, my legs were as sore as could be after the climbing from yesterday, but onward, map in hand!

We decided to do the full loop for the hop on hop off bus, which started right around Mirabell Gardens, so a stop in the gardens was first up! Mirabell Gardens.  The Mirabell Palace and Gardens were built by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606 for his mistress, Salome Alt, and her children. The Gardens are a typical baroque style and were opened to the public in the late 1800s.  The Palace is now the official government offices of the city. 

Although we didn't take the super advertised, and incredibly popular tour, today is the day where you can definitely see the third thing that Salzburg is very famous for! The Sound of Music! Keep your eyes open, you may spot some movie locations in the pictures from today! 

It was a bit drizzly, but we still enjoyed our visit here!

After walking through the Gardens, we hopped on the Hop On Hop Off bus and started our journey!

Our first stop was The Mozart Residence....

This is a model of the house, other than that, no photos were allowed inside

The house is filled with documents, portraits, and instruments from the Mozart family.  It was quite amazing to see!

Back on the bus, passing the theater that has The Sound Of Music pretty much playing all the time!

And here we have the former home of Christian Doppler, the creator of the Doppler which is used in ultrasound technology.

Perhaps another familiar site? The "Von Trappe Mansion" This is the Schloss Leopoldskron.

We continued on our bus ride, to our next stop.....which will be the next post!  The Hellbrunn Palace!