Mondsee and Salzburg Austria 27 & 28 July 2013

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August 29th 2013
Published: August 1st 2013
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Mondsee and Salzburg Austria 27 & 28 July 2013

After leaving Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, we made our way south again to Austria and on the way to Salzburg.

We booked into Camping Nord-Sam which was a very popular spot as it had a little lake where the kids did some fishing, a swimming pool, playground for kids and was obviously a popular spot for families on summer European holidays. We got the 3rd last site. On one side of us was fellow-countrymen (!!!!) from the Netherlands and on the other side was a fellow who was from South Africa but was living and working in Bavaria/Germany and spoke fluent German.

We chatted and solved the ‘problems of the world’ as well as many travel stories. The next morning we had several cups of coffee together and it ended up him helping us to book the camper in at a Fiat place in Rosenheim, Germany in a couple of days, for a wheel alignment and a few other minor maintenance things that the camper needed.

On the morning of 27 July we pulled out of Mondsee and headed for Salzburg. It was going to be at least 35 degrees and we thought perhaps we should be lazing and swimming next to the lakes in the area. We decided to drive on and spend the weekend in Salzburg.

We had been to Salzburg on our last trip to Europe in 2002, but it was only for 1 ½ days. For those of you who have visited Salzburg, would you agree that it is a city that has a bit of everything – history, music, scenery, near the German (Bavarian) border with a population of some 150,000 in the home of the movie The Sound of Music. It was difficult not to burst into songs when we walked and road our bikes along the Salzach River, or climbing up to the Hohensalzburg fortress which looms over the city. But there is a lot more to this compact city than Julie Andrews and as Mozart's birthplace.

We found a nice camp site 5 kms away from the city. Our site was completely in shade all day. It helps when you arrive at a campsite at 11.00am.

Once settled we took our bikes off the camper and road into the city. It was pretty flat ride alongside the canal and river and only took 15 minutes. It was lovely.

We road and walked around the city, revisiting some of the sites we had visited before but many more we hadn’t. When we got up to the Fortress by cable car we saw a thermometer which told us that it was 42 degrees. It was HOT!!. So the best thing to do in these circumstances is find a shady, breezy spot and have a cold beer – that is exactly what we did after having a good look around the fortress, in its museum etc. The Fortress offerd breath-taking views of Salzburg and the Alps. Inside the fortress is a museum of medieval weapons, life on the fortress, and torture instruments.

A BIG TRAVEL HINT, it will save you heaps – buy a “Salzburg Card” for 26 Euros as it includes:
Free single admission to all the city's attractions. Free use of public transport throughout the city, including fortress funicular, panorama boat & cable car Untersberg. Attractive discounts for cultural events. Discounts for various tours and excursions.

We also visited Schloss Mirabell located right next to the Salzach river and the Mozarteum University of Music and Arts. It is a beautiful castle with gardens, built by an archbishop for his beloved courtesan. We saw the "Garden of Dwarfs" and the Garden of Roses. Inside, we found the marble stairs of Raffael Donner. There is also the world's most beautiful wedding hall, the Marble Hall which unfortunately was locked on Sundays.

By the time we had a good look around it was dinner time so found a spot to have a fish meal and at 8.00pm road our bikes back to the camp site. It was a beautiful evening with a bit of breeze blowing. We had a great day in the city.

The next day we visited sites out of the city centre:

1. Hellbrunn Palace and gardens which was Once the summer palace of the Archbishops of Salzburg

2. Trick Fountains (in the gardens of #1) - it has lots of clever fountains and pretty gardens. We were advised then when you take the tour of the Trick Fountains, to stand next to the guide otherwise you will get wet. This was absolutely right. The guide asked for volunteers to sit at a stone table on stone chairs. As he was telling his story he switched on the water which was when everyone got wet as there were spurts of water coming up from under the concrete seats. These tricks continued throughout the tour…and you can only see the gardens with a guide who, one at a time, switches on the fountains. Fortunately, it being a really hot day, getting wet was pleasurable. I’m not sure what it would be like in winter as the water was very cold. The Archbishop of Salzburg built the gardens so that he could amuse his guests!!!!

3. Untersberg Mountains – we went up in a cable car to 1850m peak. The cable car runs from the 'St Leonhard' station in the town of Gartenau to the station at the Geiereck peak. We didn’t have time to visit the ice cave which was 1 ½ hours walk once you got off at the top after the ride in the cable car. Oh well, you can’t see everything!!

4. We popped back into Germany and visited the 560 year old working Salt mine which was absolutely fascinating. It included an hour’s ride in a salt cart underground. We saw a light-show underground in one of the cave s that had been dug out to extract the salt over the years. We floated across the underground lake and saw another light show. We also learned of the salt extraction methods which changed over the years. Salt saw a big part of the Bavarian economy in early days. I don’t have any photos to show you as we were not allowed to take cameras for security reasons, but we all dressed up in blue overalls. We were pleased we had them on as it was pretty cold underground (down to 12 degrees which was a contract to the 38 degrees above-ground). What was an added bonus was we use wooden slides to descend into the lower levels – great fun!.

From there we ventured towards Rosenheim where we found a camp site called Campingplatz at Stein. Wow, was this a busy camping ground. We ended up on a pitch behind the barn because it was so crowded. The attractive feature of this site was the large lake. As soon as we had organized power and internet, we went for a swim in the Lake which was close to the Chiemsee Lake. It was beautifully refreshing.

We made out dinner at the camper – fish, salad and potatoes in their jackets accompanied by a half bottle of Champaign. Very pleasant. After dinner and a shower, we settled down to a bit of blogging and then the wind whipped up. It was a big, windy and wet storm. The camper held up very well.

By the next morning, all was calm and dry. We got going at 8.00am and drove to the Fiat Service place so they could start the work on the vehicle ASAP. Thanks to Martin the South African/German speaking person we met in Mondsee, the Service Centre was waiting for us – excellent!

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