Sunday, September 21st, 1997 Salzburg, Austria
Breakfast at 8:30 AM. Jim & I dressed for church and Shari & Dave planned to spend the morning at the Kaiserappartements (the Kaiser's apartments). After breakfast we checked out of our rooms and put the luggage in the lobby. Jim had checked out and rechecked out several of the local churches. He was looking for a high mass with music. We decided to go to St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) which is in the heart of Vienna with a soaring tower that is visible from all over Vienna. The 10:00 Mass was to be a high mass. We arrived at the collection time for the nine o'clock Mass. Stayed for that and then only stayed for part of the high mass so that we could return in time to leave. The music was beautiful. Organ plus an all male choir in Latin.
Back at the hotel Shari & Dave arrived from their tour of the Kaiserappartments and they’d had a great experience also. The accidentally joined up with a tour group and thought they might even get into the Spanish Riding School but they realized that everyone in the group had a ticket. They also heard the Vienna Boys Choir sing during part of their visit. The apartments that they visited were mostly in gold and red. Cissy, Franz Joseph’s wife, preferred to live at this residence per the guides.
Jim changed clothes in the lobby WC and we were off to Salzburg. Shari & I waited with the luggage while the boys went for the car. Took about half an hour but they were able to find a parking place close enough so that we didn’t have to run the gauntlet at the end of our street. The local poliza like to stand there and give tickets to people who attempt to drive down the street…it’s limited to only taxis and bicycles. They’d talked one out of a ticket when we’d arrived by pleading their case!
On our way back to Linz we went off the autobahn to find Shari’s castle ruins which we’d seen on the way in. After several false starts, we finally located in on the North side of the Danube River. We stopped and had lunch along the South side of the River before crossing over. After investigating the ruins of the castle we continued on the North side of the Danube to the next access road to the autobahn; a lovely drive with great views and wonderful small towns.
Our next venture was to go to a small town on a lake that Jim heard about from Rick Steve’s Travel Tapes. Shari said she felt like we were going through the cracks in the mountains. The mountains were quiet high all around us. We saw several funiculars going to the top of mountains. Some for skiing, others to salt mines in the area. The town we visited was called Hallstatt, located about 55 miles southeast of Salzburg and perched precariously on the side of Swan Lake.
It is famous as the prettiest of lakeside villages and is pictured on thousands of travel posters for Austria. It is very old and has bone of pre-historic men that have been found here. The graveyard ran out of space so all the bodies were dug up, names put on skulls and the skulls stacked in a special room in the church. We parked at the far end of town and walked to the church at the other end of town. It was cold and I (still in my skirt for church) nearly froze! Shari and Dave were tempted to shop at all the stores but most were closed since it was Sunday.
Back on the road we continued over the mountain…so many great views of small villages against very tall mountains. Reminders of stories of long ago. Shari said that at times she felt like a very tall person looking down on miniature towns and at other times she felt very small in the presence of all the grandeur of nature. Finally went back to the autobahn for the final leg into Salzburg.
It was getting dark as we arrived and since the road into the hotel was on streets that were basically pedestrians only…the drive was slow and tedious. But we did arrive about 8 PM and the Elefant Hotel in the center of the old city is very charming. It has been a hotel for over 400 years but is nicely upgraded…even has plastic computer keys that you have to put in a special slot after you enter your room or the lights go out! We freshened up (a quick drink of scotch for me) and went out to find a light supper. Found the Potatoes & Co. with very little effort and had an enjoyable feast on baked potatoes and beer! Talked about our mutual experiences in Mammoth Lakes and skiing. Compared children and decided their Michael is a lot like our Wendy. Both have trained as bar tenders at Marie Callendars. Back home we enjoyed some news on CNN and off to bed before 11 PM.