In and Out of Germany (Part 1)

We took a break from Germany to see a couple of other cities that were close by.  First, we went to Salzburg, Austria which to me is famous for one thing only: The Sound of Music.  It was a short two day visit that would have been more enjoyable if it was warm but I am still glad we went.  You can do a Sound of Music tour but a lot of forums online talk about how you can basically take yourself on the tour and save your money.  I would love to do one if we went back to Austria one day during Europe’s summer.  It looks so different in winter that I took a photo of the Pegasus fountain without even realising it was from the movie until later that day.  I didn’t do it justice so went back another day to take a proper photo of it.

Salzburg also boasts as being some musician’s birthplace.  Have you ever heard of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?  Yeah, that guy.  There were all sorts of Mozartesque places but again, the forums online discouraged going to the Mozart house or museum as you can find the information within the museums readily available online.  We didn’t bother going to either place BUT we did do a bit of research and chose a musical performance to attend.  We saw a quintet perform some choice classical pieces in the beautiful and intimate marble hall at the Mirabell Palace.  It was a wonderful thing to do right before Christmas.  Neither of us really listen to or know much about classical music so it felt like a real cultural experience.  I like listening to the classical station on my way home from work as a wind-down sort of music, but I have rarely appreciated it as its own art form.  I loved being in the presence of such great talent.  The first chair violinist had such passion, such verve, and her fingers were flying across her instrument quicker than looked real.  The music was beautiful and very exact with no mistakes.  Callum was apprehensive about seeing the performance because it’s the sort of thing a river cruise would stop at for its guests to see—so, in his words a “tourist trap”.  But sometimes tourist traps are actually good, and this one was.  It cost us only about 20 euros each to see and it was a performance that lasted 1.5 hours long.  There was a pianist that came out for a couple of songs—er, movements?—who was also very talented and added another level to the violins, viola, cello and bass.   Callum equates seeing a classical music performance in Salzburg as seeing the Empire State building in New York or the Opera House in Sydney.  It’s super touristy but it’s also one of the major things you should do while there.  I agree.

Unfortunately for me, I got a rather bad head cold while in Salzburg.  In fact, I almost didn’t make it through the above-mentioned music performance.  I felt quite poorly and didn’t enjoy much else.  We did see the Hohensalzburg which is seen from the Mirabell gardens and other viewpoints within the city.  It sits atop the hill and went through many renovations during its nearly 1000 year existence.  It was the home of all the Prince-Archbishops of the past, ending with Count Hieronymus von Colloredo in 1812.  The castle is said to be one of the best preserved in Europe and boasts perhaps the oldest railway system called the reisszug.  This is different from the 1892 funicular which we rode to get to the top of the castle.  We did a tour of the grounds with a guide who didn’t say anything, but rather just supervised all of us while we listened to our audio guides.  Since I wasn’t feeling well and it was very cold (they don’t heat the castle) I didn’t get much out of it.  I also felt really rushed because I wanted to stop and look at things rather than just listen to information I could find online while I walked cattle-style from room to room.  I wanted to take pictures, read plaques, etc, but I was the only one who seemed to want to take my time (besides Callum).  The guide whistled loudly and swung his keys around indicating that he wanted me to hurry up.  I would like to redo this tour at my own pace in the summertime.  The view of Salzburg was stunning from the upper parapets and I feel that if I was amazed in the cold of winter, I bet you it would look twice as good in summer.  Another one for the list of places we must return to!

After Salzburg we returned to Germany to the city of Nuremberg.  We stayed in a glorious hotel and it was the perfect timing for me to enjoy such luxury.  I was terribly ill the entire time so didn’t see a single site in the city over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day other than the old square a couple of times to find meals and to get some fresh air.  Callum didn’t do anything either other than see the huge Christmas market on Christmas Eve while I ate a very expensive dinner in the hotel restaurant.  I just couldn’t make myself go out into the cold when all I wanted was a hot chicken noodle soup, a cup of tea and a cozy bed.  I got a hot broth for 8 euros, realized I needed more nutrition than that, so ordered a plate of veggies for another 14 euros, and two bottles of water for about 7 euros.  I needed to keep my fluids up and they do NOT serve free water anywhere in Germany, a tradition I take huge issue with but can’t do anything about.  Merry Christmas, me. Below are Callum’s photos the same evening.

The hotel had a pool that was disappointingly cold and a sauna (5 euros per person per use) which was heavenly and really good for me.  I had a pounding headache for three days and felt, in general, miserable.  Because of this wasted time indoors trying to recover, and the fact that everything was closed over the days we were in Nuremberg, it is once more another stop to return to in the summer months so I can fully appreciate its beauty.  It is also home to another great artist: Albrecht Dürer.  We were staying a mere 10 minute walk away from his house, and I was too sick to notice until after we left.  I am really kicking myself for not forcing myself to just take some drugs and get out there.  I have to say though, this illness was the first one besides some food poisoning in South America that I’ve had all year, so I think I did pretty well.  Callum has been sick only once as well.  I suppose it was time!  9 months of travel can take a toll.  I did manage a bit of a walk around on Christmas Day and took some pictures of the iconic landmarks from the Old Town such as the Frauenkirche church and the Schöner Brunnen fountain.  Luckily I started to feel a bit better by the time we left Nuremberg.

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