We spent one day in Salzburg en route from Munich to Vienna. The entire day was cold and rainy. That same day San Francisco set a record high temperature of 106 Fahrenheit. Sorry Bay Area, but we will happily take the rain.
For a one-day stopover, we chose a hotel rather than our typical Airbnb apartment. We found a Roman Catholic seminary that rents out rooms like a hotel, even though it continues to function as a residence for seminarians.
The walls were adorned with crucifixes and religious art, the courtyard had a statue of Saint Peter, and the halls were adorned with religious art. All of this gave the facility a distinctly monastic feel.
Notwithstanding its religious mission, our hosts warmly welcomed this gay couple, and we enjoyed the stay.
With the rainy weather and the short stay, we were restricted in our activities. We passed by Mozart’s birthplace and wandered around the grounds of the university.
Ed, a colleague of Frank’s, had spent a semester of law school in Salzburg. He suggested we check out the Hellbrunn Palace, about four miles out of town. We looked at the website and discovered that they were open until 9:00 PM during the summer, so we caught a bus just before 5:00 PM, figuring four hours would be ample.
When we arrived around 5:40, the place looked eerily quiet.
At the book store, we were sweetly told that since today was the first of September, the palace and their trick fountains had closed at 5:30, their winter hours. The gates were locked.
Really? September came that fast?
Well, all was OK. The large park connected with the palace was still open to the public, so we had a stroll. It was quite lovely. The palace dates back to the 1600’s and the grounds were beautifully designed and maintained, with large majestic trees all over.
Adding to our sense of good fortune, the rain, which had persisted all day, miraculously held off for the 90 minutes or so as we walked around. We had the vast park virtually to ourselves.
We headed back into town for dinner at a restaurant dating back to the 1860’s, located in a building dating back to the 1300’s. Great Austrian specialties.
It was a nice end to a rainy day in Salzburg.
The next morning, we grabbed the train to Vienna.
Vienna – The Most Livable City in the World
OK, it feels like we rave about the beauty of every city we visit. But come on, Vienna? AMAZING!
Vienna has been voted “Most Livable” city for each of the last eight years by Mercer. Most of the top cities on the list were from western Europe. The highest ranked US city was San Francisco at #29 worldwide.
For centuries, Vienna was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, the conglomeration of countries that followed the fall of the original Roman Empire.
The flourishing of aristocracy and wealth led to a large number of royal palaces and instilled a desire to make Vienna a leader in stunning architecture. It worked and it mostly survived (or was painstakingly rebuilt after) WWII.
We arrived by train and quickly figured out their subway system. Our landlady was vacationing in Croatia when we arrived, so she had a neighbor let us into the apartment. We were cautioned that she spoke no English and wanted us to call when we arrived. Well, this was a bit of a stumper as we didn’t speak the language. Compounding the challenge was that we would need a WiFi signal to make a phone call.
So we got off the subway in the neighborhood and asked a lovely, friendly and bilingual local woman if she would call and communicate for us. She was more than happy to and soon we were connected and introduced to our apartment.
A joke from our travels – A person who knows three languages is trilingual. A person who knows two languages is bilingual. A person who knows one language is American.
We were in the oldest section of the city. As soon as we dropped off our bags, we went for a walk around. We were astounded by the architecture. The second thing that stood out was the wealth on display. Every elite store was represented: Tiffany, Rolex, Prada, etc.
No doubt that the REALLY fancy stores had names that we wouldn’t even recognize, not floating in those circles and all.
Back to Home cooking
We enjoyed cooking meals in our apartment during our four nights in Vienna. Every breakfast, one lunch and three dinners prepared at home. Plenty of time to tour the city, and a feeling of home to have meals in the apartment.
Thinking Again of our own Palace
We are now planning to return home for good mid-November. Making that decision has led to our first bouts of homesickness. It also gets us thinking about how we might set our home up differently when we return.
No better way to get decorating ideas than to visit a palace.
Brian is thinking about new light fixtures for the house.
And Frank is considering a new flowerbed and maybe an arbor for the garden.
Next stop, Budapest.