Archive for July 10th, 2009

Changed Plans and Crazy People

Friday, July 10th, 2009

img_4923After a pleasant night in a large room all to myself, I ate breakfast, checked out, and booked a tour to Eisriesenwelt ice caves, the largest known to man.  The desk clerk told me that the tour operator would meet me in the hotel lobby around 1:30.  I loitered for a bit with e-mail, called the Cheniers to confirm mine and Babette’s visit tomorrow night, then set out to explore the Festung Hohensalzburg (literally, high Salzburg fortress).  This iconic landmark looms high over the city, perched at the top of the rocky crag that sharply interrupts the old city.  If this were Athens, the Hohensalzburg would be the acropolis.  Lazy tourists can pay to take the funicular up to the castle’s entrance, but I enjoyed the walk up the steep, cobbled paths.  Surprising to me was the steep, dirt road that lay just inside the castle’s gates.  I was trying to picture soldiers and horses from the fortress’s medieval days coping with the steep path.  I imagine a few must have slipped and fallen.  I spent a couple of hours roaming the expansive area and the inner rooms and towers.  This is one of the largest, unspoiled fortresses from the medieval period surviving today.  The place had (more…)

Hiking the Lake District

Friday, July 10th, 2009
View across to St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut

View across to St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut

I awoke to cloudy skies, contrary to the weather prediction I checked last night.  As I made my way toward the main tourist office, I came across a large farmer’s market.  I purchased 2 chocolate croissants before making it to the Mirabellgarten.  I wandered more of the garden today, enjoying the well-manicured beauty.  I sat down on a park bench under the grove of linden trees to eat one of my croissants.  A steady rain began to come down, but the trees completely sheltered me and I enjoyed the ambient sound of rain as I finished my snack.  By the time I was ready to get up the rain had come to a stop, giving me freshly wet cobbled streets as I made my way to the Mozart Plaza.  I gathered some information from the tourist office and decided to spend the afternoon in the lake district, starting in St. Gilgen about 30 km away.  (more…)