September 7, 2013 – The road to Salzburg took us through Munich. We didn’t venture past the train station, though, since we had a tight connection to make. We did make it, and were happy to find out that we were on the top section of a double decker train. Which was very cool. Things got a little more interesting when we realized that a group of about 6-8 southern German guys were hanging out in the lobby by the bathrooms. They were having fun and amusing themselves (and were mostly sober) by singing soccer songs, pounding on the bathroom walls if people took too long or a line formed, pounding on the windows and whistling at cute girls on the platform, and yelling at a sleeping guy in the train next to us.
I was expecting Salzburg to be a small city; and it probably would have seemed like that had we not just spent half a week in a small town. As it was, though, Salzburg was pretty warm, and seemed fairly large.
We stayed at a hotel along the water; it’s a bit of a walk from the train station, but perfectly situated to stroll to downtown Salzburg. And stroll we did, past fountains and old ruins with statues of dwarves on them, past the residenz with its lovely gardens (and a wedding party taking photos), and finally up to Festung Hohensalzburg. Actually, we rode the short funicular up to the fortress, and decided to stop at the cafe to get some dessert and drinks before continuing on our self-guided tour. We were fortunate to snag a little table overlooking the town, particularly the cathedral, below.
Feeling refreshed we continued on with our tour, which took us around the fortress. We started with the audio guide; there was a bit of a line, but we were quickly inside and walking around the inner corridors. Afterwards Tony discovered that the open windows in the men’s bathroom had strategically placed flower boxes – and that the Austrians definitely are not Puritans. 😉
We made our way back down the winding path from the fortress and towards the cathedral. Along the way we stopped to watch a pole-vaulting competition and enjoy some snacks from street vendors before continuing on to the cathedral and then St. Peter’s cemetery.
The walk back along the river was timed perfectly, with the sun setting behind the town and over the water. By the time we reached our dinner destination, Augustiner Braustubl, it was dark. The beer garden was also quite crowded, though we did eventually find a self-serve standing table upstairs. Even better was the table location, directly across from the sausage vendor.
But let’s backtrack. This is a traditional beer garden. You grab a mug – either a half liter or a liter (I recommend the liter) – rinse it out, and get in line. You pay, then pass your mug to the man with the keg and find a table. Next up is the challenge of getting food. You can take a full-serve table, or a self-serve one. We preferred the self-serve, and happily bought some white sausage and a traditional cheese-stuffed sausage. Both were wonderful, though for full disclosure, Louisa was trying to originally buy a different kind of sausage other than the white one. A fortuitous language barrier resulted in us getting the white one, which was nicely spiced and delicious. After eating we took our half empty beers down to the courtyard and found an enjoyable spot along the wall.