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Published: September 17th 2017
Vienna, Salzburg and Berchesgaden – Sept 3- 10
After spending 6 days in Budapest we are due to leave Budapest and drive to Vienna; however, what would normally be a 3 hour drive required a major detour. The day before we were due to leave, Caroline found that we had left our passports in the safe at our hotel in Krakow and, after a phone call, we decide to drive back and collect them rather than relying on the post. So, the Yeti is driven back across Slovakia and then, from Krakow to Vienna, a total of 12 hours driving.
Vienna – We have allocated four days to see Vienna and purchased 3 day Vienna Passes, which allows us entry to the major attractions as well as access to 3 On-Off Bus tours. This pass is a BARGAIN, and they didn't make any money off us.
• Hundertwasser Museum – Why, you may ask? Answer; he died in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and is buried there on the land purchased. He is known in NZ as the architect of the world-famous Kawakawa toilets. Actually, the man was more than an
Industrial Architect and was quite an artist as well. His art is very reminiscent of Klimt and his architecture was definitely influenced by Gaudy.
• The Spanish Riding School – Performances of the Lipizzaner Stallions are far and few between, but you can watch training sessions for these mainly white stallions. Tickets sell out quickly, so we booked early for the next morning. On getting the camera ready to take a few photographs a disembodied voice sternly told us that photos were not allowed during training sessions. A fabulous way to spend 2-3 hours on a Vienna morning.
• Albertina Art Museum – From Warhol to Klimt and many more artists in between. I enjoyed this one.
• Belvedere – A hunting palace and now an art museum showing numerous Gustav Klimts paintings, including the “Kiss” and “Judith”. The “Woman in Gold” is in the Neue Gallerie in New York since 2006 for the whopping sum of 135 million dollars. Having said this, all of Klimt's paintings contain a large amount of gold paint. A bonus at this museum was a viewing of a work
by Van Gogh we had never seen before.
• Schonbrunn Palace – Caroline insisted we hit the road early for this one and we collected our tickets shortly after 8.00 am. The palace is very impressive and during our tour we had a long conversation with Bobbie who had been with the museum for many years in a senior position , was now a pensioner, and worked 2 days a week. He imparted much information about the Royal Suites and why the decoration was mid 19th
century rather than the 17th
century when the palace was originally built. The palace has two rooms restored every 12 months. This is a must see for history buffs and lets hope Bobbie still has a job.
• Coffee and Cake - At the Sacher Hotel, home of the SacherTorte, probably the world's most famous Viennese Chocolate Cake.
• Time Travel Vienna – A tourist ride that takes you 2000 years of Vienna History. Fun, but only if you have purchased the Vienna Pass and are looking for something else to do.
Market Vienna - This outdoor market is a daytime market rather than a night market. There are bars and restaurants as well as fruit and vegetable, butchers, and fish sellers. Around 7.30pm the market closes, but the bars and restaurants stay open for the evening. It's a great place to have dinner and a drink.
• On-Off Vienna Bus – Actually there are three bus routes that take you around the sights of Vienna and I think we managed all three.
Salzburg – A very pretty University City dominated by a large castle sitting on a high crag. The town is built around the Salzach River. Salzburg is definitely worth a quick stop, and it's obviously on the standard tourist trail; there are lots of them. It's extremely walk-able, however sightseeing tours, and entrance fees are expensive. The “Lonely Goatherd” sprang to mind immediately after looking in a window and seeing Lederhosen and a Julie Andrews costume available to purchase from the “Sound of Music”. Fortunately, Caroline had to hold me back, however I think I would have looked good in Lederhosen. We stayed in a Pension about 15
minutes easy walk from the old city.
Berchtesgaden and Obersalzburg – Often linked together, Obersalzburg was a collection of houses and farmlets on the mountain above the town of Berchtesgaden. This is our real destination as we have booked on a tour to the “Eagles Nest”. Obersalzburg was very big in Nazi circles. High ranking Nazis had holiday homes at Obersalzburg, and though Hitler was a frequent visitor before 1939, but he never came back once Germany was at war. Supposedly he completed the second volume of Mein Kampf after his release from prison in a small guest house in 1923/4. Royalties from the book allowed him to buy a small farm in the area that became his holiday home. The Nazis strong armed local farmers and villagers to sell their properties so they could build their enclave. His holiday home grew in size and was quite palatial by the outbreak of war. The mountain has tunnels underneath the homes where supposedly the Nazi's could make their last stand. Thankfully, the allies bombed the area and destroyed most of the properties, and although a few properties still survive Hitler's house was razed to the ground by the
Americans. We took a tour run by an American lady; it was most informative and included a short history lesson and a visit to the tunnels and the Tea Room on top of the mountain called “Eagles Nest”.
Schopfheim – We spent two nights hosted by friends Inge and Heinz. Although raining, we spent a full day touring Black Forest towns nearby to Schopfheim. An area of great natural beauty with trees and lakes - what can I say, “Very Edelweiss”.
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