Central Europe for Sexagenarians – Day 14

Posted by admin on July 15th, 2013 filed in batman, photography, travel

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Mittwoch, 10. Juli 2013

Happy Birthday to Mom!

We woke up to perfect weather in the beautiful setting of sunny Alps and enjoyed coffee on the picnic table outside. We made breakfast and packed up before Marco (the cabin owner) came to see us off. When he showed up, he had brought Mom a sweet bread loaf with a single lit candle after having noticed her birth date on the rental paperwork. It was a very sweet gesture.

We thanked him and said our goodbyes to him and the neighbors, then headed deeper into the mountains, taking the back roads toward Salzburg. We passed through the Gesäuse National Park shortly after leaving the cabin, and got to see a helicopter towing a tree through the air! (see the gallery pictures below)

The scenery on the drive was beautiful and the weather could hardly have been nicer. But other than that, there’s not much to say about something that’s best experienced in person.

We eventually made it to Salzburg and it took us awhile to find exactly where we were going and where to park, but once we did, it was a short walk to the pedestrian bridge that connects the old downtown to the other side of the river. As with several other bridges in the neighboring countries, the bridge was spotted with love locks, and while walking through town, we saw a store that sells them (and probably engraves them, too).

The bridge was lined with multiple signs, each of which had a quotation in German and the translation in English. All of them were about Salzburg and several were pretty negative: “Salzburg: the town I’m from but wish I weren’t.”, “Worse than Munich.”, “Even a golden cage is a cage”, “If Disneyland isn’t kitsch enough, if Hollywood isn’t shallow enough, if London isn’t rainy enough: come to Salzburg!” Heading into the old town, it didn’t really make sense, but about a block in you can appreciate how they feel. Of all the places we went, old town Salzburg was the most commercialized. Everything was geared toward tourists and expensive and crowded.

We grabbed a bit of food to eat for lunch then walked by Mozart’s birthplace as well as a few of the town squares before deciding we had had enough. It’s a beautiful town, but the new town parts are probably much more realistic, interesting and fun.

Before leaving, we stopped at a Billa grocery store in the ground floor of one of the buildings of old town to satisfy an ice cream craving. The store had a very weird, cave-like layout, but we finally found the frozen goods and bought a box of mini ice cream bars. Walking back across the foot bridge, we were given some free Coke Zero samples to go with our frozen treats. So much sweetness!

We stopped by one more building where Mozart had lived, then gave our remaining ice cream to someone sitting on the bridge, returned to the car and left town.

We crossed into, then back out of Germany en route to our next residence in the Alps, and were eventually waylaid by construction which rerouted us through a town full of construction. Hungry and a little tired, we parked the car and walked around until we found a restaurant that looked decent. It turned out to have good food (I had some red lentil curry and Mom and Laura split a pizza-like dish), but charged almost 7 euro for a large bottle of water. ‘Twas a little steep. We enjoyed eating outside though and got to meet a very interesting man who was riding around on a bicycle with his dog: back paws balanced on the frame, front paws on the handle bars. He stopped to talk with us for awhile, sharing his experiences of living and wind surfing in Hawaii, growing up in Poland, meeting his dog in Greece, playing in a band locally. He was an interesting character to say the least. I think he was trying to invite us to dinner, but it wasn’t totally clear. And we were in the middle of eating dinner, so….

After finishing and paying the bill we returned to the car and got back on the road, landing in Heiterwang a little after 9pm. It took us about half an hour to locate our reserved residence in a town of less than 600 people. We had booked an apartment, but the online information had a generic address (there appeared to be 4+ streets of the same name scattered across the town) and after stopping a few times to ask for help, Mom and Laura found a man in a restaurant who was willing to help them look up and call the apartment company. He didn’t recognize the name from our reservation, but as soon as he talked to them on the phone, he knew who we were looking for and where we needed to go.

Despite all the trouble in finding the place, the apartment was beautiful and a welcome destination from a long, but fun day. Hopefully a wonderful and memorable one for Mom!

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