Sightseeing in Salzburg

After our last day of cycling along the Danube, our boat cruised all night to get us back to Passau, Germany.  Our group of seven departed from the ship and took off on foot to the train station, walking on the same bike path that we had started out on one week earlier.  Our next stop: Salzburg, Austria.

While we were waiting on the platform for our train, several police officers showed up as a train was arriving.  After the passengers filed out, the police went on board and came out with four people, kids really, probably in their 20’s.  They seemed a little surprised, maybe a little embarrassed to be hauled off the train as they juggled their electronics and luggage.  They were peacefully escorted over to the large tented area next to the train station.  Refugees.  I was a little surprised too, and even though everyone appeared to be on their best behavior, it was hard to watch.  And while I knew that we would be seeing refugees while we were traveling, I didn’t expect it at this small train station, though it makes sense being right next to the Austrian border.

We arrived in Salzburg late in the afternoon and walked to our hotel.  We had three nights and two whole days to explore Salzburg and the surrounding area.  Here’s what we did:

Augustiner Brewery, Salzburg
Augustiner Brewery – we’re sitting in a 1,000 seat beer garden!
Augustiner Brewery, Salzburg
Augustiner Brewery – This brewery run by monks has been serving up beer since 1621.
Birthday Dinner, Augustiner Brewery
Our first evening in Salzburg also happened to be my birthday. Here’s my birthday dinner. Ha!
Salzburg, Austria
Walking around town after dinner, it was getting dark and raining pretty heavily, but that didn’t stop me from taking photos with my phone – isn’t Salzburg Castle just gorgeous?
Salzburg, Austria
Here is another view of the castle from Mirabell Garden.
Werfen, Austria
The next morning, we took a train to Werfen, about 25 miles south of Salzburg. This might be the most idyllic place I’ve ever seen.
View from the cable car, Werfen, Austria
First we took a cable car up really high.
Werfen Ice Cave, Austria
And then we hiked up to an ice cave. And not just any ice cave, the largest one in the world!
Werfen Ice Caves, Austria
This is the entrance to the ice cave, looking back towards the path we took to get up there.
Lanterns at the Werfen Ice Caves.
Every third person on the tour held one of these lanterns.  There is no photography allowed in the caves, and there isn’t much light, but it is truly magical in there.
Werfen, Austria
Heading back down the trail after the tour – which was excellent. Here is all the information you need if you want to know more about the ice caves.
Me in Werfen, Austria
Here’s me, extremely happy. I can’t get enough of this place.
Beers in Werfen, Austria
Big surprise, we stopped for a beer. They are well deserved, we climbed a lot of steps.
Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria
Next we tour Hohenwerfen Fortress or Werfen Castle.
Werfen Castle, Austria
Another view of the castle.  The castle was built in 1077, and extended in the 12th century.  There was a uprising of the farmers in the 1500’s and they rioted and burned the castle down, but then they were ultimately forced to work on it’s reconstruction.  So that didn’t exactly work out for them.  The castle also served as a court and a prison.  On the tour, you can see the room that housed the dungeon (and you can look down into the dungeon!) along with various tools of torture. It’s a bit unsettling.
Werfen Castle, Austria
Looking out a window of the castle – that’s the entrance to the ice caves way up there!
Werfen, Austria
Werfen, through a castle window.
A falconer in Werfen, Austria
There is also a falconry show.
Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg
The next morning, back in Salzburg, we toured Hellbrunn Palace, built between 1612 and 1615.
Revolving Couch, Hellbrunn Palace
Inside the palace, this revolving couch allows visitors to enjoy all the artwork in this room (it moves very sloooooooow).
Hellbrunn Palace
The main reason this palace is such a popular attraction: trick fountains.  You can’t see them now, but they’re scattered all over this gorgeous property.  You see, Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus, who used Hellbrunn as his summer palace, thought it was hilarious to soak his guests with water while they were sitting down to dine outdoors.  I would be a very unhappy guest.
Unicorn at Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg
This unicorn at Hellbrunn Palace dates back to 1700.
Stiegl Brewery, Salzburg, Austria
Stiegl Brewery. Brewing beer in Salzburg since 1492 (!!!). In 1650, Stiegl became the biggest brewery in Salzburg. And in 1780, Mozart sampled the beer (and maybe drank it regularly?).
Salzburg Cathedral
Salzburg Cathedral, the doors opened in 1628.
Salzburg, Austria
View of Salzburg from Salzburg Castle (Or Hohensalzburg).
Salzburg, Austria
Also taken from Salzburg Castle, looking in the other direction.

Of course, we wish we had more time to explore.  Salzburg is one of those cities where it’s easy to imagine yourself living there, it’s very appealing.

When we arrived at the Salzburg train station, three days prior, a quick glance up at the monitors had shown that all trains to Munich, our next destination, were cancelled.  Between the large amount of refugees trying to get to Germany, and the revelers trying to get to Oktoberfest, the train system was all clogged up.

The night before we were planning to leave, no one knew when they would be running again.  We looked into renting a car or two, catching a train close to the border, or taking a bus.  The next morning, the rental car prices had skyrocketed, the train station had no direct route, only suggestions of how to get close, and the long distance buses were very elusive.

To be continued…

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