Monday, December 7, 2015

Europe 2015 Day 5 - A Tricky Wet Day In Salzburg

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Europe 2015 Day 5 -  A Tricky Wet Day In Salzburg
Salzburg, Austria - 28th September 2015
After four lovely days in the Czech Republic it was time to bid "Na shledanou!" (Goodbye in Czech) and head out to Austria. The Czech Republic is a lovely place and given a chance we will probably visit it again.

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For us from Asia with weak exchange rate, eating out in Europe can be rather expensive. So whenever possible, we tried to eat in. Our breakfast at Český Krumlov was such; with breads, other pastries, bacon and ham.

8:15am - We were on the pre-booked van provided by CK Shuttle and said our goodbyes to Angela, the caretaker of Pension Galko. There is a souvenir shop at the ground floor and we conveniently picked up some knick-knacks to take back home.
Michael, our driver was a warm, friendly man and he did us a great favour; instead of using the highway he took us along rustic roads that passed by small towns and rural pastures.

Almost un-noticed by ourselves, we zoomed by the border into Austria. In this rural area there is no major checkpoint, only a couple of Czech police border guards manning a small post.

Soon we were exposed to the disciplined and regimental culture of Austria. At one of the highway petrol stations approaching Salzburg, we stopped for a pee break. Payment was via a vending machine that issued a token, the token activated a turnstile allowing entry to the toilets. No payment, no token; no token no entry! Luckily most of us could hold it as we had to get small change and run through the whole process which took us a while.
Sally putting on a sad look, it's 0.50 Euro pay entry, that's more than RM2.50 which is quite a sum to cough out. At some small towns in Malaysia that's enough for a breakfast meal.

12 Noon - We arrive at our hotel, the Sun Inn Hotel Salzburg Zentrum. It's conveniently located within walking distance to the interesting Getreidgasse shopping street and bus stop No. 5 of the Salzburg Hop-On/Hop-off Tour Bus.

A short walk through a pedestrian tunnel adjacent to the Seigmundstor Tunnel (which runs below the Festungsberg) and we are at the bus-top ready to board the Hop-on/Hop-off bus red route.

On the other side of the cliff below which the tunnel ran is the Pferdeschwemme Horse Well, a fountain with paintings of horses. Opposite this is Stop No. 5 for the Hop-on/Hop-off bus... we hopped on.

To get acquainted with Salzburg, we did one loop of the bus route passing by all the interesting points. It's a good way to rest and view the city while listening to songs from the musical "The Sound of Music" that was being piped in through the head-phones on the bus.
One of the first point that we passed by is the St. Etihard Church (Erhardkirche) right in the city centre.

High above the Hohensalzburg Castle (Festung Hohensalzburg) sits majestically on the Festungsberg.

Most stops were quick ones, to drop off or pick up passengers. But at the Leopoldskron Palace (Schloss Leopoldskron) it was a 15 minutes stop and we managed to get this beautiful shot of the palace sitting placidly on the lake.

A closer view of the palace.

It was a loop that took about an hour, we ended the tour at the Mirabell Gardens (Schloss Mirabell) stop; crossed over to have a late lunch at Pommes Botique. Sitting there enjoying the food and some Austrian beer we discussed and decided which places on the tour loop that we wanted to visit.

Our first destination visit in Austria, the Mirabell Gardens (Schloss Mirabell).

It's a fairly large garden with flowery beds, some fountains and many statues.

The Mirabell Gardens is the garden compound of the Mirabell Palace.

The girls loved the flowers and the statues here, and took advantage of this tamely lion.

A bridge led to a shady wooded section at the back; careful though there are goblins here!

We hopped onto the bus again and proceeded to Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn). Just before going in we double-checked the bus's schedule printed on the bus-stop here; it's two and a half hours to the last bus, giving us ample time to spare here.

As we would be visiting other palaces in later days, we did not go into this one; just took some lovely loving photos from the outside.

Hellbrunn Palace is beautiful, but we wanted to spend more time at the Tricks Fountain. This was  an interesting place, with fountains and other water features like dynamic moving statues (called automata), etc. all powered by water piped in from nearby streams.
It's also full of tricky features, like the above dining table which had water spouting out from the chairs and floors!

One of the many displays with moving miniature statues, this one is of a town square scene. All the little people moved, some waving arms while others walked around.

The Tricks Fountain show how powerful a force water can be, like the above water spout that can lift a heavy metal capsule right up to the ceiling level. And to think all this was done in the Middle Ages, it was definitely a fine piece of engineering.

Other than the palace and trick fountains, Hellbrunn has a large impressive grounds with calm lakes and even a nursery.

We took the bus back to town, crossed a Love Locks bridge over the Salzach River...

... to the Getreidgasse shopping street. Eventhough most of them just did window-shopping, the girls could not be happier. There were just so much to see and appreciate.
And the husbands just went "Phew... just window shopping!"

This street is famous for the range of shops that sell branded fashion wear, coffee, chocolates, etc. 

Many come here just to admire how pretty the shop windows have been done up and also the unique signages that hang over the shops.

Some of the signs were colourful indeed.

Dinner was at Hanas, an Indian restaurant located at a niche off this street. They serve pretty good curries and the owner Mr. Ahluwalia was very warm and friendly, perhaps he was just glad to see some other Asians.

His restaurant was cozy and well decorated with statues and paintings from India.
There we were, our first day in Austria, enjoying Indian food and admiring Indian artwork, interesting isn't it?

It has been a wonderful and cool first day here... Benetton Cool!

(For more photos of the day Click Here)

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