Salzburg and Hallstatt

Day 4-5 of the Central European Alps Train Journey


imageWe took the train from Munich and arrived in the picturesque city of Salzburg in under 2 hours.

Day 4 – Salzburg Cruise, Dinner and Concert

Before our very cultured evening we strolled around the Mariabell Palace taking in the immaculate gardens and spectacular view over the fortress in the distance.

Our cruise on the river Salzch took is past the medieval old town. We were guided along the river with interesting points of history, identifiable buildings and of course the reason behind the rivers name- Salt and the mining of it over the centuries.

Our dinner was delicious and featured spectacular views over the city from the panoramic terrace of the fortress. We had a divine bottle of Austrian white wine- a Weißburgener.

The Mozart concert was held in the Golden Hall of the Salzburg Fortress. The octet with a featured pianist pliers through Mozart’s better known pieces. It was a slightly surreal experience Bing in the birthplace of Mozart and listening to his music played high above the city!

Day 5 – Leopoldskronschloß and Hallstatt

Leopoldskron Schloß is the external film set for the von Trapp family in the sound of Music. You know the bit where the Countess is having drinks and telling Ct. von Trapp to send the kids to boarding school after they are married? Well it’s that bit. It’s situated at the back of the fortress and the walk is about 2 hours round and back over the fortress to the city.

Hallstatt is 1.5hrs drive from Salzburg. It was really the jewel in the crown of our time here in Austria. It is UNESCO- and from the pics you can see why! It isn’t easy to reach by train; you have to change trains and the station is on the opposite side of the lake- so you have to catch a boat. But….maybe this place is worth a bit of hassle!

Vienna Chriskindlmakt

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Vienna Christmas Markets

Coming for Australia, where Christmas involves long summer days, beer and BBQ’s, Christmas in Europe is something magical!

Having spoken to many of my English colleagues, not many of them have experienced a Germanic Christmas holiday. Why? When they smell and look like Christmas should be!!!

0184e9ceb1e22b56ac4b0cfa2920ac486e198044e0As you walk through the grounds of the Rathaus of Vienna you are first overwhelmed by the many lights decorating the huge trees. Candy canes, cupcakes and Father Christmas’s hand brightly from the branches.

Then the smell hits you! Cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and bratwurst spike each nose nerve all at once, leaving your mouth watering and your eyes bulging!

‘Where is the food?’

Suddenly your feet are seeking out all the delicacies your nose is lapping up!

01bca5b3139f8d690d1efa7828bed7db3f1dfe600cThe best thing (in my opinion) is the endless selection of mulled drinks.

Warm fruit wines, mulled cider, Christmas Punch, mulled Bailey’s, mulled Aperol. I can keep going but am considering pouring another glass of wine as I write and maybe that wouldn’t be good?!

And the best thing about the mulled drinks? CUPS, yes, every different market you go to you get a different cup!!! I have lots! I had lots of drinks! 014f4e825257cd595921f303df1d02f5557c1eef37

Here is exhibit a – Me, outside the Vienna Dom, with a different cup. This was mulled wine. It’s in the shape of a boot!

So, your thinking that all we did was eat and drink. Yes, this is possibly mainly true, but we did see some of the sites.

When I was a child I was into horses. When the Spanish Riding School of Vienna visited Hobart I was there with bells on. So, we went to see it for real. It was all I could remember from my childhood and more. Very worth a visit to get into the history of the great AustroHungarian Empire.

We also stumbled on the Schmetterlinghaus. We went here mainly because the name is awesome, don’t you think! I learnt German at school and one of the only words that has stayed with me is Schmetterling. What is a Schmetterling? Look it up and find out!

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If you are a fan of last minute shopping – This is the place for you. Ever wondered what you should get people for Christmas when you have no idea what to get them? Get them a beautiful Christmas gift from the markets. There are gifts from €5 to €5K.

I got a few presents for people, however due to my love of mulled drinks they might have been left in the hotel room.

We stayed in a Benedictine Monastery. WHAT? Should I have lead with that?

Benediktushaus was comfortable, with modern rooms and a standard continental breakfast. We didn’t realise it was an active monastery until we saw the nun cleaning and the friar manning reception when we left. Honestly – really good accommodation and very central.

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