April 16 – 19, 2016
Salzburg, let the Sound of Music fill your ears! Alright, you may not hear the sound of Julie Andrew’s voice in the streets but walking through them sure takes you down memory lane. If you didn’t already know, the famed Sound of Music movie was filmed here in the 1960s and visiting this beautiful baroque city helped me understand why this city captivated the hearts of its audience. I skipped the official tour and instead created my own walking tour using Big Boy Travel and Google Maps as my guides.
Day 1: I spent my first day exploring the city by foot searching for all of the Sound of Music sites, which took me to most of the major landmarks in the city. After a few hours of walking, I took a rest and stopped at one of the oldest cafes in Austria, Cafe Tomaselli, for a slice of afternoon cake. The waiter was a little snooty but the cakes were delicious and it was nice to give my feet a rest while people watching. On my way back to my hotel, I picked up some Austrian jam, Mozart balls, and Manner Neapolitan wafers. For dinner, my hotel recommended Die Weisse, a traditional beer hall a little off the beaten tourist path which I appreciated after being surrounded by herds of tourists. Then, I decided to sped the rest of my evening at my hotel’s spa – yeah, it was quite fancy for a small little hotel.
Day 2: I opted to climb up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress which was definitely worth the effort for its rewarding views of the city along the path. Since I had seen most of the city already on my self guided walking tour, I spent the rest of my day revisiting some of the main sites, such as the Salzburg Cathedral, spending a little more time in them to fully appreciate the grandeur and beauty. I went to Gasthof Alter Fuchs for dinner. The food was great, the atmosphere was lively, and the servers were friendly. I even went back the next night because the food was delicious and ‘reasonably’ priced for Austria. Afterwards, I went to Hotel Sacher for my last fix of the famous Austrian sachertorte, decadent chocolate cake made for a king, literally.
Day 3: Since I found two days in Salzburg enough, I decided to take one of the Panorama tours to the Bavarian Mountains in Germany – it ended up being one of my favorite day trips. The tour followed the Kings Lake-Ache to Obersalzberg where the second headquarters of the Third Reich used to be, I had mixed feelings about being there. However, the highlight for me was visiting Kings Lake, where the water is so clean you can actually drink straight from it. On our way back, we stopped in the picturesque town of Berchtesgaden with just enough time for a beer and a pretzel.
Overall, my trip to Salzburg was short, sweet, and relaxing. Since the city is quite small, three days was perfect to get your bearings, see the main city sights, and even the surrounding mountains. I’d love to return and visit nearby towns such as Hallstatt which has been on my list for quite some time. Getting around Salzburg is definitely quite easy since it is a town small enough to explore by foot. Upon arriving at the train station, the buses are also very easy to use and most will take you directly where you need to go. I stayed at Hotel Wolf-Dietrich on the north side of the Salzach River. While the room wasn’t as grand as I had expected for a 4-star hotel, breakfast was great and the hotel had an amazing indoor pool, sauna, and spa downstairs which made up for it.