Friday, August 24, 2012

Salzburg -- Day 1

  It is not entirely fair to say that we've spent 2 days in Salzburg, when Day 1 was really almost entirely spent on trains and buses. The trip from Berlin to Salzburg started for us at 5:30 in the morning, when we woke up and took the S-Bahn to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. We waited there for about half an hour for the high-speed train from Berlin to Munich. The train was fast, but the Shinkansen it was not. We made several local stops along the way, and rail delays made the trip that was *supposed* to be 6 hours, more like 7. It was a comfortable trip though, as we have first class train tickets thanks to yours truly. The biggest issue with being an hour late to Munich was that we summarily missed our connection to Salzburg. This was not a huge problem, as there are several trains from Munich to Salzburg leaving all the time. We had to wait an extra 20 minutes but the more noteworthy was that the local line that we ended up taking had a broken air conditioning unit and it is pretty damn hot in this part of Europe right now -- it gets up into the high 80's every day and most of the smaller venues like restaurants don't have air. Blessedly most of them also have outdoor seating so it's usually not a big deal unless it's very crowded.
   We did eventually arrive in Salzburg and decided to catch a bus to the hotel. This may be news to some people, but I am absolutely *horrendous* at directions, and I got that flaw from my father, who happens to be the only other person that's on this trip with me. We got the right bus...going the wrong way. Of course, we didn't realize that until about 15 minutes into the trip. (The buses also have no air conditioning, and these backpacks don't help with the sweat factor.) 
  We got off, waited 15 minutes for a bus going in the right direction, corrected course, and were on our way to the hotel when the bus, which runs along power-supplying cables over the road, managed to shake loose one of its power connections. The bus driver had to stop and use a big metal crook to get the connector back on. Good story, but we were totally destroyed at this point from the train ride and really wanted to get to the hotel.
  45 minutes after our initial snafu with the bus direction, we were back at the train station where we started, and then on to the hotel. Coincidentally, we are staying at another Holiday Inn. It was the cheapest, centrally located hotel I could find in Salzburg. It is definitely not as nice as the Berlin Holiday Inn, but still servicable. Total travel time to get here? Well if you count from 6:00 when we left the Berlin hotel, it was 12 hours door to door. Longer than the flight to get from New Jersey to Berlin by far and we have to do it *again* on the way back. Hopefully we won't hit as many snags...
   We rested up a little then headed to, translated, the "Wild Man Guest House" for dinner. Here we each dined on a "Farmer's Platter." Apparently farmers eat well, or at the very least eat a great deal of meat. Before this trip, the Executive Producer at my office said that when he went to Germany and Austria he thought he was going to die of gout -- ok, I get it now, Ben. 
   But I couldn't leave it at just the Farmer's platter. Oh no. One of the desserts I'd been dying to try is called Kaiserschmarnn which means the Kaiser's...schmarnn. 
I dunno. Anyway, it's a type of fluffy, pan-fried sweet dough torn into bits and served with powdered sugar and plum preserves. It was terrific. I may just have to get that one again before I go. I may just.     
   We walked back to the hotel, over the Salzach river, past the  Hohensalzburg Fortress...and then it started to rain. It was big, unreasonable rain, and naturally, we had left our rain gear in the hotel room when we left for dinner -- a sensible place to leave rain gear. But again, we were tired, and I wasn't about to sit under an awning and hope that the rain would stop, so we walked it. I don't think my father has experienced walking a mile in the rain in a while. I hadn't. It reminded me of hiking part of the Apalachian Trail when I was a kid, actually. Except with more...urbana.
   When we finally got back to the hotel, soaked to the bone, i wasn't going to go back to that hotel room without a stiff drink -- to warm the spirit, mind you. The hotel has a little bar, so I got us a pair of schnapps. It's a local area schnapps called marillenschnapps and it was pure heaven. Really great. I had always associated the word "schnapps" with the cloying, super-sweet cheap stuff you find in American liquor stores. This was nothing like that. It was mildly sweet, very strong, and with just a little fruit flavor. I think it is pear, but I haven't looked it up yet.

1 comment:

  1. "The blind leading the blind" comes to mind....In all fairness, I'm not very good with directions either, so you got a double whammy!Sorry,kid.
    I'm thinking you guys are going to gain a LOT of weight on this trip. Enjoy, but take pity on your Dad...a mile in the pouring rain after a day like that?