By Eilene Lyon
Our Austrian trip began with a flight into Munich, Germany. At the airport, we bought first-class train tickets to Salzburg. A track delay caused us to miss our connection at the München Ost station. No problem, I thought, I’ll check the schedule and we’ll hop on the next train to Salzburg.
Fifteen minutes into our ride, the conductor checked our tickets and we were summarily ejected at the next station. Who knew that two different railroad companies ran that route? Ah well, no harm. We waited 30 minutes for the next train from our railroad company.
We took a cab from the Salzburg station to the Best Western hotel. Yes, they do have Best Westerns in Europe. We stayed at one in Norway on our last trip across the pond. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a more service-oriented hotel in my life. All the staff, from the manager on down, really bent over backward to make sure we had a pleasant stay.
When The Putterer had a little medical issue, the manager got him a taxi ride to the nearest hospital and later inquired if he was okay. The only misstep: the clerk who checked us in neglected to give us the package with all our bike tour information and vouchers.
I brought a list of sights to see, compiled from Atlas Obscura and Trip Advisor. A friend told me that The Sound of Music tour was a must. I noticed the tour visited several places on my list – great!
Do NOT take The Sound of Music tour, unless singing along with the film is your idea of a romping good time. (I must say, we did hear some juicy gossip about Christopher Plummer.)
I had hoped to see the intricate water features at Schloss Hellbrunn. Instead, the tour took us far from the main house to see the gazebo featured in the movie. We had a few minutes to admire a small portion of the garden, take a whiz, and get back on the bus.
We agreed that only the last stop on the tour – the town of Mondsee – had been worthwhile. However, if we’d seen our bike tour information, we would have known that we’d be going through Mondsee on the first day of our ride.
These two disappointments aside, we found Salzburg to be a beautiful city filled with delightful energy and scenic views at every turn. The food was excellent, though a good cup of coffee could not be had for any price. One shop touted American truck-stop coffee, and it definitely lived up to the promise.
We visited the St. Sebastian Cemetery to relish some of the ghoulish grave decor. Two notable interments are Mozart’s wife, and early physician/philosopher Paracelsus.
Feature image: View of Salzburg and the river Salzach from an opening in the castle.