Salzburg Getaway Part the First

The Teenager had his first week-long school trip last week, and we took advantage of the opportunity to hop a train for that R&R we missed right after packout thanks to my husband’s accident. The one advantage to his being stuck in a hotel room for three weeks with a broken ankle was the accumulation of a lot of Starwood points. Which we cashed in for a free night at the Goldener Hirsch, a five-star hotel dating from 1407 in the Altstadt (Old Town) on Getreidegasse, the main tourist/shopping street in Salzburg.

The real deal.
Turned-down bed at night with a chocolate on the pillow, a robe, bed slippers, and a little towel so your feet don’t touch the rug 🙂 All in pink and green.

It was really very nice, in an old-fashioned sort of way. But, breakfast was not included! We could have had it in the hotel restaurant for the astonishing price of 26 Euros each, but preferred to step across the street to McDonald’s. Oh, the irony. But the cappucino was pretty darn good, even in a paper cup. It was an Austrian Mickey D’s after all. It was fun sitting there with an Egg McMuffin watching the Salzburgers obsessively scrubbing down their storefronts in the morning. (A street sweeper comes by and literally washes the streets every night.  I am not making this up.)

Getreidegasse in the rain.
On the way out of the Altstadt, there are a lot of buildings attached to the cliffs along the river. I bet they have great wine cellars.

Salzburg is pretty much mobbed with tourists. Rich tourists. Mostly Japanese. We skipped Mozart’s birthplace because we didn’t want to feel like salmon swimming upstream, and to be honest, I hardly know one composer from another anyway. The first day, we visited the Dom museum, saw the usual ecclesiastical plunder, walked around a bit, and oddly enough, ended up at a beer hall for dinner. Augustiner Brau has been run by Augustinian monks since 1621. Practice makes perfect. The beer is awesome, and the price is right. It is a bit off the beaten path, in the Mulln district. On a Monday night, we did not notice any other foreigners there-certainly no tour buses. There are tables along the walls called stammtisch, reserved for various groups on certain nights of the week. Each was occupied  by several rotund, ruddy middle-aged men. Other tables were occupied by groups of men, women, and teenagers, with a few families. One family brought a picnic!

Pick your mug from shelves on the wall…
….rinse it out at the font, and go to the bar for a liter (or half-liter) of beer.
Visit a kiosk for pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, etc.
And chow down at big wooden communal tables in the beer hall.
Kasekraner (cheese filled sausages) with mustard, parsley potatoes and a giant cheese-laced pretzel. This did not suck. At all.

On the way home, we contemplated the Festung (fortress) Hohensalzburg, which has loomed over the city pretty much forever. Looks like a long way up to to the top doesn’t it?  More about that in my next post.

Damp, but happy walking back to the hotel along the river Salzbach.


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