Monday, February 6, 2012

Celebrating our anniversary (with Austria)

This past weekend marked our one-year anniversary in the Land of Mountains, Music, and Schnitzel.  So to celebrate, we packed our bags, grabbed our heavy coats, boarded the new Westbahn train, and headed to Salzburg, a world-famous, incredibly charming little city in Austria that we had yet to visit.

Salzburg was not unlike Vienna in that it was COLD!!!  Double-digits below zero in Celsius-speak.  So cold that most of the city was frozen solid, including this fountain at Schloss Mirabell.  Peering through the foot-thick ice, we could see hundreds of coins laying at the bottom of the pool - wishes to be granted in the spring when the ice thaws.

Salzburg's historic district certainly deserves its UNESCO World Heritage title.  We didn't have a great deal of time to explore this part of the city, but minus the throngs of "Sound of Music"-crazed tourists, we felt like we pretty much had the city to ourselves.  (The cold weather probably also had something to do with keeping people indoors.)

A great find was the 220 GRAD coffeeshop - a modern, cozy little place serving up a number of drinkable delights using fair-trade beans that they roast on site.  For this and several other local tips, we would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the recent "36 Hours" article on Salzburg that was recently (conveniently for us) published in the New York Times.

St. Peter's Cemetery.  Apparently where some of the flight scenes of "The Sound of Music" were filmed.  We thought the architecture was pretty cool; note how one of the chapels is built into the precipice behind it.  The latter leads up to Salzburg's famous medieval fortress on top of the Mönchsberg mountain.

The mighty fortress -- Festung Hohensalzburg

Looking out over the city from atop Mönchsberg.

After a short 1.1 km stroll along the ridge from the fortress, one arrives at the Museum der Moderne, which showcases rotating exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art. A highlight of the museum is the restaurant M32. It's a great place to rest the legs, warm up / cool down, and enjoy a snack.  The best part is the view over the city, especially as dusk sets in. 

One Sehenswürdigkeit ("sight worth seeing") that is off the beaten tourist route is the Hangar-7 complex out at the Salzburg airport.  The glass-domed building is a piece of art in and of itself.  But the collection of Red Bull-emblazoned airplanes, Formula 1 cars, motorcycles, and helicopters is the real draw.  All are the property of Dietrich Mateschitz, the founder of Red Bull, who shares his treasures with the public for free.  The plane behind David in the photo is a WWII-era B-25J bomber, and the racing car to the right is the actual one driven by Sebastian Vettel when he won his very first race as a professional some years back.

And this picture was snapped on the train ride back to Vienna as we rode past the Wallersee.  I'm in love with the idea of freely ice skating on top of open, albeit frozen, waters.  Isn't that how ice skating should be enjoyed anyhow?  I must admit that neither David nor I have ever tried it, but I think it's time for us to purchase our own pairs of ice skates and join the winter sport club.


a new girl in vienna said...

wow. looks fantastic! we haven't made it to salzberg yet. in fact, we haven't made it anywhere! (must do something about that this year).

Lydia Criss Mays said...

I'm so happy for you two. Prost to your one year anniversary (we wish we could look you in the eyes). Your pictures were incredible and leave one creating a fantasy land of history, machinery, and delectable food floating in my mind. Now I need to go click all your other links and get oriented with this part of Austria.

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