Tuesday, March 19, 2013


December 30. 2012
The next day. we took the train to Munich. We arrived in the early afternoon, napped, had dinner at a sushi restaurant, and  then we took a nice walk around the darkened city, and that was about it. (Also, there was a really large number of Russian speaking people in Munich, possibly because of New Years?) 

December 31, 2012
The next day, we bought a regional rail pass (25 euro for the day for two people, which is an excellent deal) and took the train to Salzburg (around 2 hours away). We'd watched The Sound of Music on our way to Berlin and we decided it would be a lot of fun to go. 
The train ride itself was beautiful. The Alps are truly breathtaking. 

Salzburg is right on the border of Austria and Germany (much how Basel is on the Swiss-French-German broder). This is why we could use our German rail pass. But like Basel and Weil am Rhein and Saint Louis, there were already some subtle, but noticeable cultural differences. For instance, German shops and restaurants seem much more willing to employ borrowed English words in signs and names of things. In Austria, the names of foods were almost always translated into German (rather than just using the English word).We arrived in the early afternoon, and walked from the train station to the old town.

I may have hopped a low fence to take this picture. But who can resist taking pictures with unicorns?
We started out in this garden, which may look familiar -- though I'm sure it is much more beautiful in spring and summer. 
This scene may be familiar to fans of The Sound Music

Then we walked around other parts of the old town.

\We saw the river...
And Mozarts Geburthaus (ie. the house where Mozart was born), also Spar which is a kind of grocery store. Can you imagine: the birth home of a famously brilliant composer is now partially a supermarket? Ahh, Europe. 
Then we walked up towards the castle, though we opted not to pay the fee for the lift and entrance fee. It was really expensive. Austria had prices that were almost Switzerland status! We also sent some post cards, which cost a (relative) fortune.

Pretty views...
By this time, we were really hungry. We looked around for a bit for somewhere to eat. After considering NordSee (which is a sort of Long John Silvers -- fast sea food), we ended up at Burger King  because we didn't know how NordSee worked. Apparently, everyone else in Salzburg decided they wanted to go there too, because it was packed. I looked for a seat (because they were all full), and Tristan waited in line.
Here, one of the most amusing and shocking things in Salzburg happened, though I wasn't a direct witness. A middle aged American man, apparently, cut to the front of the line to ask the already terribly frazzled workers if this Austrian Burger King took DOLLARS (And  he did so by taking out dollars and waving them in worker's face)*. Yes, the Austrian Burger King, whose nearest neighbor also uses Euros takes Dollars. --- NO, of course they don't! Why would they? *facepalm* This is why people think that Americans are full of themselves and obnoxious. Such an embarrassment to American's, and, let's be honest, to the human race in general. 

*Note: Tristan is one of the most pro-America people I know, so you can assume this story is not the slightest bit exaggerated to emphasize stupidity.

After lunch, we walked around the city a bit more. There was a live performance and their were still things to do and look at.
Finally, as a conclusion to our time in Salzburg we walked up to the nunnery in Salzburg that is the nunnery in The Sound of Music:
Recognize this gate? 

Though the nunnery required a bit of a hike, the view well worth it! The alps were beautiful, as always. 
One our way back to the train station, we picked up two Stiegal's (an Salzburger beer) at a tourist shop. The owner was quite friendly and assured us that like in Germany (and in France, though I believe it is technically, if never enforcedly, illegal) having a beer on the street is fully within our rights. 
As we walked back, there was some sort of staging of a battle with fake cannon fire from the castle and from fortresses on the hill and fake military forces on the street (perhaps this is some sort of tradition where New Year's Eve becomes sort of a national holiday? We didn't know why.). It was a bit after 5, and the sun was already setting. 

We got on the next train to Munich, where we celebrated New Years. To be continued...

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