All right, this will be a long one, but I promised to get better about my travel posting. The upside is your ability to see more of my traveling; the downside is long, picture heavy posts.
We decided to go to Salzburg, Austria on a whim. I had just turned in the last of my homework, and felt the need to do something big. Before I knew what was happening, we had booked a hotel, arranged a dog sitter, and had plans to drive. Normally, I am not much of a road trip person. I grew up in a large, not well off family, so anytime we traveled it was by car. Squeezing all of us in for hours at a time was unpleasant, and being the one who also had motion sickness was even worse. However, there only appeared to be flights into Salzburg one day a week, which did not work with our weekend plans, and Google Maps said it was only an 8 hour drive. Not pleasant by any means, but completely doable.
Right around the halfway point in the trip we were due to drive very close to a large base, so we decided to breakdown the trip a little. We drove to the base Friday night, as soon as everyone was done with school and spent the night. The next morning we woke up, took care of a little trip business (Little One had to have new shoes before walking around all day), got a hot Venti Vanilla Latte, and got back on the road. As soon as we left the base I discovered the Vanilla had been left out of my latte, the first of many disappointments on Saturday.
We got on the road around 10, later than we wanted, but expecting a four hour drive, still reasonable. After programming our hotel in the GPS we learned it was actually going to be 5 hours. As soon as we discovered this we realized it made sense; the town the original route passed through was about 45 minutes away from the base we were visiting, so we were technically a little away from where we should have been. We decided to suck it up and get on the road.
I don’t know how many of you have driven through Germany in the winter, but it can be quite beautiful. Cold, but beautiful.
It was a good thing the drive was beautiful because that 5 hour drive turned into 9 hours. There was construction, traffic, and who knows what else. I’m fairly certain at one point there was a time portal; we were 90 minutes away from our destination for at least three hours. I’m not sure how we kept our good humor through the trip. Maybe it was the excitement, maybe it was the girls behaving themselves and keeping content in the backseat. Whatever it was, we never completely lost our optimism. It was a bit too late to do much when we finally arrived at the hotel, so we ate and settled in so we could get an early start the next day.
I think I am getting better at finding hotels that are a good value. We don’t spend much time trying to get the fancy 5 star hotels. As far as we are concerned, they drain our available travel money on the place we spend the least amount of time. When we travel, we get in the hotel, we drop our stuff and we leave. We are only in our hotel to sleep and shower. Why waste money on a nice room we will barely be in? For that reason, I don’t have super nice photo of our room. The hotel was nice, but not impressive.
See? My kids think it is a great room when they don’t have to share a bed.
Okay, a bad glare, but isn’t the room number sign adorable?
In the morning, when things were brighter, we saw we had half of a good view. It was cold and snowy in Salzburg so it’s hard to see, but above the ugly buildings was a large snowy mountain.
We headed out to see what we could see of the city. Instead of having a day and a half, we were down to one day and we refused to waste it. One bus ride and we were in the city center.
Sundays in Europe are often quiet. Most of the stores are closed, and the streets are deserted. It made it peaceful. Much less stressful then the normal weaving through a crowd with kids. We worried that we wouldn’t be able to do anything, but there were still options.
We stumbled on Mozart’s Birthplace, which was pretty cool. No pictures allowed inside, but honestly, it was an old house. If Mozart had not been born there, it would likely be long gone by now.
We wandered around and took some pretty pictures of the views. We weren’t trying to hard to find anything specific, just looking to see what we could see.
We also stumbled on the birthplace of Christian Doppler, but we couldn’t go inside.
It was near a random statue, which seemed to be unlabeled, and Little One decided she had to pose underneath.
It was a pretty relaxing morning. We took it easy, as we had signed up for a tour in the afternoon (which will be pt. 2).
One of our favorite things we stumbled on was this Mozart themed graffiti in a walkway under a road. I know technically that graffiti is not authorized, but come on. This is high class stuff here.
A little before our tour we found a Starbucks. This is one of my travel quirks. I know there are great coffee shops round the world, but I don’t go to the Starbucks for the amazing coffee. I mean, I like it well enough, but that isn’t why I look for one everywhere we go. I collect the city/country mugs everywhere I can. I have a collection of travel mugs from years ago, and since we have been in Europe I have stuck to the regular mugs. It’s a silly tradition, but it gives me a morning reminder of my travels. As I make my coffee, I can think of where I have been, and I often pick my mug based on where I would like to return.
Of course as it was cold, we took advantage of the warm store filled with warm drinks. The Starbucks was two story and we enjoyed ours downstairs.
I loved the downstairs of this Starbucks. There were these stone archways with drywall filling in the gaps, and large heavy duty wooden tables. It felt like we were in a medieval castle, waiting for people to storm in and try to steal our coffee. The girls and I enjoyed it, but I think my husband was pretending not to know us.
Just before our tour was scheduled to leave, we found a church right next to the meeting place. As we are us, we had to go in (once we confirmed they were not in the middle of services) and look at the Art.
It was a good thing I snapped a picture of the sign for my memory. I remembered St. Michael’s. It was St. Andra. No where close. It was a pretty church, and there was a remarkable series of paintings around the edge showing the crucifixion step by step in about 20 paintings. A bit dark, but well done work.
I never get tired of finding art in churches.
Sure, there is a definite theme in the work found in a church.
Technically, religious art isn’t a thing I care much about. This doesn’t speak to me spiritually or anything.
But it’s hard to argue against the quality.
We left after Little One lit a candle. I may have lit one too, with the selfish purpose of a safe and easy trip home the next day.
After the church we took a tour, which was four hours on and off a bus, and will come in the next post on this trip. It was a quick trip, with really only one day in the city of Salzburg, but it was amazing. Luckily for us, the candle worked, and our trip home was much easier and less stressful. We stopped by the same base halfway through for a little rest. I guess the Starbucks there realized they had forgotten my Vanilla syrup from a couple days earlier, because they made sure to give me extra in my coffee instead of the extra shot of espresso I requested. Sigh. I really need to check my coffee at that shop before I leave next time.
Well, that is all for today’s post. Come back Friday (or Saturday if my internet stays slow!) for Austria pt. 2, The Sound of Music Tour.