How Do You Say, "The End" in German?

Two posts about the Dolomites and now four posts about Austria… will the posts about this road trip ever end?!  I promise, I’ll wrap it up here… I think I’m spending as much time writing as I did enjoying the trip!

An unfortunate haze covers a beautiful city

You may have gathered (HERE) that we instantly fell in love with Salzburg and extended our trip by an extra day/night to see more.  We started day one with a visit to a castle, Hohenwerfen Fortress and so I thought starting our second day with a visit to it’s sister castle, Festung Hohensalzburg would be appropriate.

Castle tower
Inside the main gates
From the main courtyard

Festung Hohensalzburg (literally, High Salzburg Fortress) sits atop the Festungberg Mountain, commanding a view of all Salzburg – a useful feature during the middle ages.  Today, the opposite is even better – a view of the beautiful castle is ever-present as you walk through the city below.  I described a history of it’s sister castle (HERE) – the purpose for this castle was the same.  The original fortification began in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein as one of three fortifications during the Investiture Controversy.  Today, it remains as one of the largest medieval castles in all of Europe.

The day was hazy, which was unfortunate given our high position over the city.  I was hoping to capture some amazing panoramas of the city – but the haze wanted to get in my way.  Still, the castle tour was amazing.  We started with a ride up the funicular and then wound our way through the various museums built into the original fortress.

A ride up the funicular
Beautiful views blocked by fog
Wouldn’t want to pick a fight with this crew
I like my lady wearing a bit more “contemporary” undergarments
Don’t be a jackass in the 15th century – or else you’d be sporting this
Guys – just go ahead and shiver.  Yeah, this punishment is for THAT
The chapel
Julia found her knight in shining armor
Leaving the main castle
“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…no, really.  Where’s my milkshake?”
Castle tower
View from below

Next up, a classic Sound of Music attraction – Schloss Leopoldskron.  The movie was filmed in Salzburg in 1965 and Schloss Leopoldskron, an amazing estate just outside the city – served as the backdrop for some of the most infamous scenes.  Surprisingly, the city’s fascination with the movie consumed me and I did an ample amount of research about the film.  It turns out, many tour operators pass off the estate as the Von Trapp Family home featured in the movie.  Couple points of order (during which, we’ll take a brief detour).  The movie, The Sound of Music staring Julie Andrews (America’s earlier version of Julia Roberts) was based on the 1959 musical, The Von Trapp Family Singers.  The musical was based on the real life Von Trapp family, a family that lived in Austria in the early 1900’s.  OK – this brings us back to Schloss Leopoldskron, which is often falsely presented as the Von Trapp home.  The real family did not live there (they lived in a more modest estate in another neighborhood).  This was not their home in the movie (there’s only one brief front exterior scene of the Von Trapp home, and that was yet another estate).  They did not film inside (the interior shots were done in Hollywood).  So, why on earth would anyone come here?  Well, it’s easy for tours to pass off as the home because it’s a wonderful sight to behold and who really remembers anyway?!  The tie to the movie you ask… remember when the kids paddle home in the canoe to meet The Captain’s girlfriend (and fall in the lake, getting soaked in the process)?  Well, that scene was filmed here (and the subsequent scene with the pink lemonade).  In any event, it made for a nice walk along the side of the castle and down into another town.  Plus, we still had a lot of sausage and pretzels to work off!

We followed a beautiful road that wrapped us around the castle
Julia kept wanting to “pet” the ducks – Villa in the back
Schloss Leopoldskron – castle in the background
A stroll with one of my favorite ladies
As we walked back, we navigated through town and then walked along the river.  Our new mission – successfully make it to Augustinerkloster und Brau – a beer house and oh, so much more!  But we passed an outdoor food market… the best kind of market.  I had to stop and get a German sandwich.
Rooftop view along the route back to the city
Soft pretzels – I happen to be a sucker
I love me some vendor food – this place made a mean sandwich

Eventually, we made it to Augustinerbier.  The monastery, now turned beer hall is furnished with a large dining area (picture your mall’s food court, but exclusively German food… and no samples on toothpicks), several great halls for drinking, a beer garden and more.  The brewery was founded in 1621 by Augustinian monks called from Bavaria.  To this day, they follow the Purity Law of Brewing, set in 1516.  Your journey begins by picking a mug (the size of your choosing) and then washing it in a communal sink.  Next, you present your mug to be filled and go find your seat.  Many of the tables are reserved, so move fast!  We were among the first through the doors at 3:00pm on a Wednesday and the place was packed within 20 minutes.  Many of the tables are reserved for individuals and companies – just like box seats at a stadium.

The most amazing beer house I’ve ever been to outside of Munich
I think this says, “Come in and enjoy some beer”
Food court before the crowds arrived
Choose your mug
Give it a good rinse (that’s not me, by the way)
Guess who’s is who’s.  You’re correct… mine is on the left.  Jen has a wooden leg
“Not, ‘cin-cin’ Mom… here you say, ‘prost’!”
Julia on the loose!
Look at the placards on the wall – choice seats go for big bucks
One of the smaller drinking halls
We were bummed it was too cold for the garden – maybe next time

After a couple brews (and apple juices for Julia) we had another Sound of Music destination – Mirabellgarten.  These immaculate gardens are beautifully maintained and offer the perfect line of sight to the castle on the hill.  They are also great for singing “do-ray-me-fa-so-la-te-do” and running beneath a tunnel of foliage.  I even helped a group of college girls photograph a replica of the moment when the Von Trapp family jumps on the entry steps.  They could only jump about 4″ off the ground.  It was not easy to photograph.

Beautifully maintained garden
Perfect juxtaposition with the castle – sad about the haze
Julia wanted to ride the “horse”
Early for flowers – but in a nice bloom
Julia ran around like a kid in a candy store
I had all of three seconds to capture this shot
The Von Trapps ran under this archway in the movie
A nice fountain
Many beautiful statues

As the sun fell behind my new favorite castle, we headed back toward the hotel to eat dinner.  We finally found Das Stadtwirtshaus, a restaurant near our hotel that we were unsuccessful in finding the day before.  The 24 hour wait was worth it – everything about the restaurant was exactly what we wanted.  Truly authentic and delicious.  Unfortunately, a full week in some of the most amazing places we’d ever seen and my camera’s memory card was full, so you’ll have to imagine this meal along with us.

The next day we woke up early and enjoyed a nice breakfast in our hotel. Afterward, we piled into the car and began the six hour ride home.  Our three-day trip that turned into a two-country-week-long-tour was finally over.  And so are the stories about this particular family adventure.  Thanks for reading!

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