Day 2. We wake to find it raining again. Luckily the hotel has spare umbrellas and let us borrow them for the day. The first thing we do is walk down to the river. On the way, we stop at a local cafe to get a little
breakfast. Dad goes for the apfelstrudel; I decide on a croissant-like bread filled with ground hazelnuts and a little round donut. Of course, we both get coffees.
The first adventure of the day is a trip up the funicular to the large fortress at the center of Salzburg -- the Festung Hohenssalzburg.
The funicular is jammed with people. Maximum load 50? Get 50 people on there, damn it. As a result of the sardine treatment, it isn't the most relaxing ride ever. The view from the fortress, however, is tremendous, and I won't ruin it with crappy pictures from my iphone. We did the audio tour, saw the sights, visited the multiple museums and the state rooms. I even decided to give in to the temptation to pay a euro to shoot 3 crossbow bolts at a target at 10 meters. I got 2 kill shots. Take that, target. If you had been an invading french soldier... you'd have been 10 meters away from me and chances are you wouldn't have been alone.
It is about 1:00 when we leave the Hohensalzburg and start to head back to town. During the adventure in the fortress, I knelt to take a picture and twisted the hell out of my left knee. Perhaps the better word is *re-twisted* as it reawakened a very similar pain to the time when my car attacked me a few months ago by kicking off the intrusion alarm while I was getting out of the vehicle. Anyway, it's not a nice sort of pain. It's the kind of pain that startles you when you step incorrectly by how sharp it is...not the best thing to happen 4 days into a 15 day trip that consists of lots and lots of walking. I also contracted a pretty nasty cough at some point during the day, but I refuse to believe it had anything to do with walking in the rain the previous evening.
We sto at a beerhall for lunch. There I have the first of the two dishes I wanted to try in Salzburg: Salzburg Nockerln. It is spaetzl with local cheese, covered in caramelized onions and herbs. It is savory and certainly filling, but I can't help but feel like it's glorified mac-and-cheese. I also have an herb bier, which was very nice and only available in the summer.
Post-lunch we go to the Salzburg museum, "rated best museum in Europe for 2009", as it reminds us in the brochure. There are 2 permanent exhibits there: sacred art (a display of church artifacts and paintings, mostly Catholic), and exhibit entitled "the Myth of Salzburg" which, somewhat ironically, is a frank eexhibit about Salzburg's popularity as a tourist attraction since the Arch-bishops of the church decided to make it their playground. The exhibit feels a little bitter, actually. It makes clear the point that Salzburg was its own independant city-state before being claimed first by Bavaria, then by Austria, and how all the annexing has affected their economy quite negatively over the years. It then goes on to a pretty cool interactive exhibit that talks about how each Arch-bishop affected the city through two actors on LCD screens below paintings of each arch-bishop, arguing their individual influences.
Next we return to the area around the cathedral where there is a huge romanesque fountain and several common squares. The Salzburg festival is just winding down here, so the public plazas are still filled with tourists, street performers, artists, et al. We go to another coffee shop. It's hot and I decided to have an iced coffee while dad goes for an apfelsoft, which is a sort of self-mixed soda with slightly fermented apple juice and fizzy water and sugar. We then walk around the shopping streets for a while, just looking at window displays, then head back to the hotel for a late afternoon break.
After the heat has diminished a bit, its out again, this time to the north side of the river front, where we decide to have dinner. I have pike with butter sauce and a green salad (which believe it or not was my *second* salad in the same day, an amazing feat for Germano-Austria.) Pike is very flavorful. I had never tried it before and after doing so, I wish it were more readily available in the states.
At this point there is only one thing left on my "things I have to eat" list for Salzburg, and they have it here. It's called Salzburg Nockerln and you have to order it *before* your meal so the kitchens have time to prepare it. It's best described as a feather-light cream cheese souffle with a sour berry compote. It says it feeds 2 people, but I assume that means 2 people that haven't eaten anything else that day because it's monstrous. Oh, and also delicious.
By now the sun is down and we're both exhausted, so back to the hotel to do some reading and write thiis blog post. Tomorrow we go to the Mozart House and possibly a few other attractions, then take a 3 hour train to Vienna where we will spend the next 5 days. Once more into the breach!