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Published: August 24th 2016
This morning we docked at the small town of Passau. While some of the travelers would stay behind and explore this quaint town on their own, we signed up for a full day optional tour of Salzburg, the home of Mozart and where scenes from the Sound of Music were shot. We met our local guide Gabi in full Austrian dress. She was a fabulous guide and was very passionate about Salzburg. She loved the city and it was evident by her enthusiasm. Our walking tour included some of Salzburg's most historic sites including Mirabell Palace (beautiful gardens where Maria and the children sang and danced on the steps and around the fountain). We saw the birthplace of Mozart and the house he lived in for 8 years. He left Salzburg and moved to Vienna at an early age.
Our guide gave us some ideas of places to see during our free time. She dropped us off at St. Peter's Restaurant which is run by the Benedictine monks. We were wisked into a private room and lunch was served immediately so as to give us some free time afterwards.
I really like our tour director. He is young, energetic and knowledgeable about everything. He runs a tight ship so to speak, wanting us to see as much as possible while also keeping us on time.
After lunch we went through St. Peter's Cemetery which was beautiful and we'll kept. Our main goal was to take the funicular so we could see the beautiful view of the Alps and the city of Salzburg. It was gorgeous and we have been blessed with great weather.
Keeping our eye on the clock we took the funicular down and started meandering through the cobblestone streets. A couple we met had visited Salzburg 40 years ago and they wanted to see the place where they stayed called the Elephant Hotel. It was still there and probably had been for hundreds of years.
It was time to meet our group for the 2 hour drive back to the ship (it had set sail for a town the name of which escapes me). When we arrived the Monarch Empress had just arrived from Passau. I must say that these tours are well orchestrated and things work very well as long as everybody is on time. That is one of the main rules.
In the early evening all passengers rejoined the ship and we started sailing for Melk.
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