31 Dec 03 European Vacation 02 Jan 04

In case you didn't realize it, you can click on the pictures for a bigger image.
Thursday, 01 January 2004
Happy New Year!
Salzburg is famous for many things, but most people associate this city with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the 1964 movie "The Sound of Music".  In the years following World War II Salzburg developed into one of Austria's leading trade centers. At the same time the city became one of the most popular tourist venues in the country.

I was up early so I showered and headed up to the top floor of the hotel for breakfast. What a spread! They had a bunch of delicious breads, cheeses, and sliced meats along with cereals, hot foods and lots of juices to drink. I tried a little of just about everything so I was pretty full by the time Andrea showed up. I never did identify two of the juices, but they were good.

I guess we didn't think, but Andrea and I had taken the key cards out of the slot by the door, so Jen got stuck showering and dressing in the dark. At least we were able to surprise her with breakfast in bed. We talked the folks in the restaurant into helping us assemble a plate of breads, cheeses, meats and ... drumroll please ... Nutella! Jen was in heaven, especially because they were in little single-serving packages and most of all, at room temperature. Apparently any other way is just plain wrong (more on that in Hagen).

We made one last visit through the main square and down to the river, then headed back to the hotel to check out and get to the train station. We got back late after new years, and couldn't take two steps without stepping on beer, wine, champagne or some other type of bottle or can. Somehow though, by the time we were back out on the streets for our farewell tour, they had completely cleaned up the streets and walkways. Even the stages and other equipment was gone. WOW! Talk about efficient.

After checkout from the hotel, we walked to the bahnhof to take the train to Salzburg. On the way, we saw something that Jen really remembered. Here it is in her words:
On the walk, saw a girl with a yorkie-terrier, which she would yell "lauf, lauf, lauf!", and it would run across the street, then keep looking back for her to catch up to it. So cute.

Leave it to Jen to notice the doggies. I was too busy enjoying the wind making my eyes water. Silly me. Anyway, we got to the bahnhof and double-checked our train departure time and platform (I never did see a Platform 9 3/4) and trekked to the platform. The train was on time (of course) and we were on our way.

We were in first class again (nothing but the best for my friends!) and this time we really scored. This 1st class cabin had only four seats instead of six and was quite comfy. When they finally came
to check our rail pass we were told that technically we were supposed to reserve these cabins and pay a surcharge, even with our passes. We decided to move to
the other first class cabins to avoid this. At least we got a chance to sample the First 1st class for a while. The trip to Salzburg was only a few hours so we settled in and relaxed for the ride.

Jen did some writing, Andrea some reading and me, well I just stared out the window at the mountains and took pictures. I did quite a bit of that on this trip. Some of the pictures actually came out too. Can you believe it? The fog wasn't quite as thick in some places, but overall it was a somewhat overcast day.

We arrived in Salzburg later in the morning and went to throw our stuff into a locker so we could explore unencumbered. It took us a few tries to find a working locker. When we finally did find one that worked, we had to use two lockers for all our things. With our stuff secured, we made a
break for the old city. Jen did a pretty good job considering that it's been a few years since she was last here. She had a momentary mental lapse (probably due to a partly frozen brain) and started to doubt her internal compass. Here's a hint Jen, we believe you, so should you!
Jen led us through some gardens that look like they would be pretty impressive in the spring or summer. While they weren't quite as impressive as they would be at that time of year, but at least they offered us a nice shortcut to the old part of town. As you can see, we all got in on at least one picture in the gardens. It's too bad that so many areas were roped off. It looked like there could
have been some fun things to see. After the gardens we walked around through the older parts of the city. The streets and sidewalks were busier than I expected. For some reason I didn't expect quite so many people to be out and about on New Years Day.
We found Mozarts Geburtshaus (Mozartís Birthplace) at Getreidegasse 9 as much by accident as intent. This (as you've no doubt figured out) is where Joannes Christosomos Wolfgang Theophulis Mozart was born on 27 January 1756 and where he lived until 1773. In 1773 he and his family moved to a house in Makartplatz which is known today as Mozart Wohnhaus (Mozartís Residence). These two houses are now popular museums and music lovers
from around the world come to see artifacts such as Mozartís childhood violin, his concert violin, his clavichord and portraits of his family. Most of Mozartís Residence was destroyed by a bomb in 1944; the building has been restored to its original glory by the Mozarteum Foundation. We decided not to go into the museum, choosing instead to see more of the city and its people.
That and we were pretty pressed for time since we planned to stay in Vienna for the night, not Salzburg, so we had a train to catch later. We moved on and discovered that the people of Salzburg had kept their Christkindl Markt going strong.
The Cristkindl Markt is a sort of town fair that begins at Advent in many German and Austrian towns. The Christkindl Markt (Ger. literally, Christ child market) is generally held in the town square and combines shopping
and pageantry as well as tradition. On opening night and, in some towns, every night, onlookers welcome the Christkindl, or Christ child, in the form of a golden-haired angel played by a local youth. The picture on the left is a shot of the town square. The people are all gathered around the ice skating rink. We watched the kids (big and little alike) skate around for a bit, then noticed that
the food/drink stands were still open and smelled really good. We worked our way to a stand selling hot drinks and spent some time trying to figure out which fruits they were made from. Jen and Andrea got drinks that were basically mulled fruit drinks, while I got a cup of gluhwein. The drinks went a long way towards warming us up. Jen remarked on how pretty the German and
Austrian cities are during the holidays. The trees were still lit up, and the people were having such a great time. We walked back towards the train station by a slightly different route and saw a few of the main city squares. There were quite a few horse-drawn carriages around, and Andrea identified the horses as Haflingers. They all had shoes with spikes on the bottom to grip into the
ice and snow. Pretty cool. By the way, Andrea's seen more horses on a per-day basis here than on her entire trip to Greece. We then headed back to the rail station because we were getting cold again. Even the dogs had little jackets on them to keep warm. We did stop for one last photo shoot before going to the bahnhof, after which we found our track and waited for the train.
Once we got on the train, we settled in for the ride to Vienna. Shortly after the train got moving, I headed up to the BordBistro (onboard cafe) for a couple of drinks and guess what I found? Here's a
hint, look at Jen in the picture on left. Yep, that's right, Pepsi! We shared a couple of Pepsis then Jen took a nap while Andrea and I did a little reading. Other than that it was a pretty uneventful ride. Arrival at the hotel on the other hand...
We get to the hotel Capri courtesy of Jen's memory for U-bahn stops. You see, in my efforts to minimize the excess crap in my backpack, I managed to leave the directions to the hotel in Orlando. To top it off, despite the e-mail I received just before leaving the states, the hotel didn't have my reservations, and the hotel was booked. Fortunately, the guy at the desk was helpful and found us a triple at Wilhemshof Hotel for a much cheaper price. Still pretty nice. The elevator to this place was the smallest we had ever seen - hardly enough room for Andrea and Jen to squeeze in there with their two bags. We went up to the room in shifts.
After getting our stuff settled into the new hotel, we headed out to track down some food. The hostess recommended a place nearby, but it was closing so we found a little pizza place nearby. We ordered a small pizza each because the waiter said each pizza was sized for one person. Either the pizzas were much
bigger than we expected or we weren't as hungry as we thought because we couldn't finish them. Actually, the pies were HUGE and we were stuffed when we left. One would have been enough for the three of us.

Needless to say, this had been one of the busiest New Years Days I've had in a while, and we were all pretty tired by the time we finished dinner. After dinner we turned in for the night since it was pretty late anyway and most places were closed.

There was actually some concern on Jen's part about the shopping situation in München (Munich) since with the new plan, we'd be in München on a Saturday. Usually stores are only open for limited hours on Saturdays over here. That's something I experienced in Portugal also, actually. Eventually (after much talking to herself) she decided that we would be alright and that staying an extra night wouldn't cause problems.

This was especially important for Jen because she had planned all along to do just about all of her shopping in München. I mean, where else can you get a decent selection of her favorite Prada and Louis Vuitton purses and bags. I think Andrea was looking forward to that part too. You know how girls are with their purses!

Alright, goodnight until tomorrow.

31 Dec 03 European Vacation 02 Jan 04

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