Courtesy of 3DFlags.comSalzburg, Austria (Österreich)

Salzburg, Austria

The trip from Venice to Salzburg was much more pleasant. The train ride took us through the Dolomites (part of the Italian Alps). Man, what a gorgeous countryside. Mist-covered mountains line the sides of the railroad, and turquoise colored glacier water flows alongside the tracks! Awesome.

Salzburg, home of Mozart and the 1965 film "The Sound of Music", is located along the Austrian-German border. It's much cooler here and greener than the Mediterranean coast. We stayed just outside the town of Salzburg at Haus Lindner, a bed-n-breakfast conveniently located next to a small train station. This place ranks as the best accommodation we had during the entire trip, and it costs roughly only $15 per person per night!

Most of the sights in Salzburg are located to the west of the river (of course there's a river), while the shopping district lies to the east. Mozart's home and many of the "Sound of Music" sites lie at the base of the Hohensalzburg castle. We checked these out and went on a tour of a salt mine (Salzburg means salt castle in German) just across the border in Germany. We also took one day off from sightseeing and relaxed, watching the rain in the morning from our balcony and playing frisbee in a park next to one of the lakes in the afternoon.

This is the view from the balcony of Haus Lindner where we stayed. Salzburg is a couple of train stops to the left. You can see the railroad above the red roof in the picture. At night when the trains roll by all lit up, it's like watching a scene from one of those elaborate Christmasy train sets!

Haus Lindner view

Here's a Haus Lindner kitten amusing herself with shoelaces.

Haus Lindner kitten

Here we are touring the salt mine. They made us dress up in these salt-miner's fleece garments. Don't we look like a bunch of karate students? Don't worry Russ, the bathroom is just around the corner.

Salt mine

Pardon the lack of exposure, but it's dark down here in the salt mine. The best part of the tour is when we got to slide down these big wooden chutes to get to the next lower level. (Byron got busted trying to walk up and slide down again.) The salt mines work by digging a room in the mountain and flushing the 70% salt rocks with water, which literally dissolves the mountain. The results are huge brine lakes inside the hills. We sailed across one of these salt lakes in a raft and got to taste the strong brine. Cool!

Slide in salt mine

Back in Salzburg, we toured the Hohensalzburg castle. At the base of the castle lies St. Peter's church, which was featured in "The Sound of Music". If you've seen the movie many times, you'll recognize the round arches in the cemetery where the Von Trapp family hid from the Nazis.

St. Peter's Church

Outside of the church is a big square where they were setting up for an outdoor concert. A bunch of food stands surrounded the square where they were playing the Rolling Stones on a huge TV screen. Imagine that! Rolling Stones in a town where I would have expected Eine Kleine Nacht Musik or the Requiem. Anyway, I was amazed at the size of this pretzel though. Just imagine the beer you'd have to buy to wash this baby down!

Big Pretzel

Speaking of beer, we headed for the Augustiner Bräustubl beer garden to sample the local flavors. This place used to be a monastery, now it's a monk-run brewery and beer garden with a capacity of about a thousand people.

Augustiner Braustubl beer garden

Here's a look at the Hohensalzburg (which roughly means "above Salzburg") castle above the town.

Hohensalzburg Castle

Three rooms share one balcony at Haus Lindner. We have two of those rooms, and these happy high school girls from Oregon had the other. We had a lot of fun trading food for favors... Uh... actually we traded food for their alcohol.

Crazy high school girls from Portland