Salzburg/Eagles Nest

Forgive this entry. This keyboard is possessed and nothing is where it should be!

I forgot to mention crazy wind in Innsbruck. I think my guide called it the Fonn Winds. He said it comes from the Med and sometime West Africa bringing sand. Apparently when the winds come it is followed by rain or snow. And people start acting crazy. The suicide rate goes up. Accidents increase and people become more aggressive and the animals get restless. It doesn’t impact everyone, but it sounds like it impacted his son when his son was young.

Started with a walk in the new and old town. The Sound of Music put Salzburg on the map. The Austrians did not like it when it came out (and was taken out of theaters after three days because the Hollywood portrayal of the true story was over the top), but then after people started visiting because of the movie, they embraced it and love the free marketing. Salzburg is also the birthplace of Mozart. Apparently Mozart hated the place and people. Mozart said the city lacked culture and had narrow minded people. He moved from there and died in Vienna where he is buried.

I don’t think I have ever seen the Sound of Music, but we saw a lot of places that had scenes from the movie. We started in the Mirabell Gardens. A Catholic bishop had the palace built for his mistress and mother of his many children. It was built outside of the old city. Saw where Mozart was born and where he lived a lot of his life in Salzburg.

The first Starbucks opened about a month ago. The younger kids like it because it’s hype but it kind of kills the culture of going to a cafe and lingering for hours.

Went to Mozartplatz to see the statue.

Went to St. Peter’s Church. There is a restaurant that Charles the Great ate at from around 803. There is also a nice cemetery behind it. That church and the Salzburg Cathedral were both dark and damp.

Oh, and tomorrow is a national holiday in Austria so the military was out in Kapitelplatz so the chessboard was covered. They had a band and were giving tours and boat rides. A lot of families there. It was cool. Kind of like our Seafair but with tanks and stuff like that.

And oh my, has the weather been good. I have three layers but am ending up just in my tshirt. The weather has bee nicer than I could have imagined. I have had some rain, but it’s really just been so nice. The sun has been hot.

I spent the afternoon at the Eagle’s Nest which is a place the Nazi Party built for Hitler to celebrate his 50th birthday. He had a house lower in the hill but it was destroyed after the war. The Eagle’s Nest was a spot where Hitler and the party would entertain foreign delegates. I’ve heard that the French ambassador termed the phrase as the Nazi’s called it the Tea House, but I read that the Americans termed the phrase. In today’s dollars it would have cost $120M Euros.

The drive up was amazing and the water was so clear. And the view from up there was amazing. Really amazing but it was weird riding in an elevator that Adolf Hitler had ridden in. It’s like where does that much hate come from.

Currently in Munich. Tomorrow is the last day of the tour and I will be hanging out here from Sunday to Wednesday, returning Thursday. What will I do? Nothing.

Tired of running around. I will plan each day as I go. Maybe I will do a day trip or two. I know that I will sleep in on Sunday. Oh, and they fall back Sunday so I will get two fall backs again.

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Fairy Tales and Mad Kings

Same thing as previous entry, I need to edit and run spell check.

I spent most of today at Neuschwanstein Castle, which is one of the castles built by Ludwig II. Poor guy. It doesn´t sound like he was prepared to rule by his parents. We learned of his schedule, which included 30 minutes each day with his mom. Then his dad died and he was made king. He spent the money it had taken centuries to amass in 22 years. His death is mysterious, either murder, suicide\murder, suicide, or accident.

His castle was awesome. Apparently it inspired Walt Disney.

I have been promised a castle and prince (and happily ever after) and am still waiting for both!

Arrived in Salzburg in the evening and took a walk along the waterfront with some tour mates and had dinner. It´s nice from what I can see.

Innsbruck

Okay need to edit and run spell check on this. It won´t save without me publishing this draft. It´s like every word is red!

Yesterday, we did a quick stop by Liechtenstein. It was okay. I did go to a church, which was nice.

Then to Innsbruck. We stopped by a church as we entered the city, I think it was called Basilica Maria. It had a really good view of the ski jump. We heard some funny and sad stories about people sneaking onto the jump and going down. Some ended with death, others a sprained thumb or broken collar. Alcohol and youth seems to be a common factors.

Innsbruck was made the regional capital by Maximilian I. He married Mary of Burgundy and if my memory is serving me correctly, they are the parents of Philip the Handsome who married Juana the Mad who is the sister of Katherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII and both are daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic kings.

I did a walk of the Old City. I started with the Triumphal Arch, which the Empress Maria Theresa (mother of Marie Antoinette) built to celebrate the marriage of her son, unfortunately, her husband died the same day so it also commemorates that.

Then to the St. Anne´s Column. Saw the Golden Roof, St. James Cathedral, Hofburg, City Tower, Hotel Weisses Kreuz, which was built on Roman foundations and has been hosting guests for 500 years. Its guest have included Mozart and Maximilian and a mix of other people like that.

My hotel had a really great location. I went out, turned right, and Hofburg was two minutes away as was the entrance to the Old City.

Like Vienna, the city itself is a work of art with fantastic buildings. I didn´t bother going to Hopsburg because I have been to the palaces in Vienna. The hotel I stayed at used to be the stables for the palaces. Thankfully no trace of its past use.

I was going back and forth on whether to walk up the City Tower, but then it ended up closing on me. I just felt too lazy to do it.

I went to a church called Church of the Former City something dedicated to the Holy Spirit, which was finished in 1705. There is  a cross there from 1500. It was quieter than St. James Cathedral. St. James did have an awesome crypt at the bottom and was pretty.

I walked along the river bank and through the royal park. While walking, another church caught my eye so I cut over. It was St. Nicholas. It was open but you were only allowed in the front section. It was dark and smelled of incense and an organ was playing – I assume a recording. I was the only one there so it was nice and peaceful. They had a nice cemetery in the back. Most were maintained by family members.

I saw a Jesuit church was across from my hotel, but I figured I had done enough churches for the day.

Had dinner with the group. It ended up being fun as a few members sang for us. One sung a few songs from the Sound of Music. Another sang an Italian song and “I Did It My Way,” and another sang “I Could have Danced All Night.” Good voices. And more songs to remind me of vacation.

And finally, in the words of Andrejs, “If it is worse, make it better.”

Vienna

When we returned to Vienna, I went for a walk along the canal.

Then I cut over and went to the Royal Treasury. There were some amazing pieces! Looking at how the Hapsburg’s lived, I wonder how their people fared. It’s one thing to see their lavish palaces and another thing to be a common person during those times.

After that, I went to the Kunsthistorisches Museum. There were pieces from Raphael, Holbein, Rubin, Rembrandt, and others. There were a lot of pieces. The ones that stood out were of people I knew like Jane Seymour (Henry VIII’s third wife), Mary Tudor (his sister not daughter), Charles V. There were also some paintings involving Jupiter seducing various women.

There was a section I ignored because the paintings disturbed me and not in a good way. I don’t want to see decapitated heads. Call me old fashion!

Then a final stroll around Vienna for this trip!

Vienna – Random

The computer here is kind of weird. Every word shows as wrong so will run spell check at home. Also the y and z are in the wrong spots so bare with me. Actually the keyboard is pretty funky. I always forget!

Some of the lovely food I have had includes beef stew with potatoes, wiener schnitzel (veal), Wurstelstand hot dogs for a fast, cheap lunch, and apfelstrudel. I thought I would lose weight, but alas, negative! The hotel also makes yummy Belgian waffles for breakfast. Cannot resist!

I forgot to mention that in Budapest, we went to the observation deck at St. Stephen’s Basilica. The views were decent.

And not to confuse you but yesterday I also went to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.

Vienna

Today I slept in and skipped breakfast.

We started the morning at the Schronbrunn Palace, which was the summer home of the Hapsburg emperors. The rooms we saw were quite nice and the garden behind the castle was nice even though it was fall.

We also walked around the grounds of the Hofborg Palace courtyards, which was their main home. Vienna is pretty impressive, and I am counting the city as a museum in itself.

I wanted to go to the Royal Treasury but it was closed so I will need to go tomorrow afternoon after Slovakia.

I did go into the Imperial Rooms and they too were impressive.

I walked around the area of the Opera House, City Hall, Votive Church, and Parliament.

I will be heading in pretty soon.

Tomorrow Slovakia and then the Royal Treasury and perhaps more walking.

My vacation is winding down. Today is Tuesday and I come back Saturday!

Vienna Night One – You Must Leave by Seven

We arrived in Vienna yesterday afternoon. After I got settled in, I joined the couple from Qatar, Lisa and Brooks, for dinner.

I need to remember the name of the dish I had, but it was good. Brooks had some boiled beef, which was by far the best dish.

When we asked for a table a little before six, the restaurant was almost empty but there were a lot of seven o’ clock reservations.

So the host was like I can sit you but you must leave be seven. It wasn’t rude it was just very matter of fact. We laughed about that for the rest of the night. You must leave by seven. Yes, still on the floor!

We then went to the concert. It was good. There was a live orchestra and also some singers and some dancers. Good way to spend an evening. I was so tired when we got home and was ready to crash!