Austria: Vienna and Salzburg

Friday 17 April to Wednesday 22 April 2015

travellingross rating = 7/10

An idea popped in my head a couple months ago when my suitcase turned up in Perth at my mum’s house – fly my mother and bag to meet me half way in Amsterdam. Thereby saving me coming all way back to Perth and being able to meet mum in Europe for her birthday and mother’s day. Plus this break aligns with the centenary Anzac day and I know we both wanted to tour the French WW1 battlefields following our last trip in 2012 to the Normandy D-day landing beaches, so it was perfect. I had two flights from Paramaribo and mum two from Perth, meeting in Vienna. Highlights and observations:

  • Always amazes me how full flights can be when several per day across Europe but not a spare seat from Amsterdam to Vienna
  • Amsterdam airport seems to be in a permanent state of renovation lately. And their free Wi-Fi requires you to reconnect every hour which is annoying.
  • Cold in Vienna. About 13C max. First day wet but other 2 days were clear and sunny.
  • Easy to get into old town centre via a tram stop on our closest corner. Highlights were elevator up north tower of saint Stephens cathedral – not that stunning or globally worthwhile; saint Peters church with its impressively decorated interior; Hofburg palace where we learned about the Austrian monarchy that ended in 1918 and in particular the empress Elisabeth aka Sisi who seemed like a spoilt brat who whined about life too much and was stabbed thru the heart with a letter opener in 1889.
  • The Austrian monarchy seemed doomed well before WW1 and the assassination of heir Franz Ferdinand.
  • Schloss Schoenberg was a train trip out of town and included a tour of many well preserved state rooms. The grounds and gardens were not that amazing but maybe better in late spring or summer. Lots of walking but we got there in good time with an express ticket to jump the line which meant the day was not rushed. Plenty of time to head back into town and visit the state hall library with its thousands of books dating back to the 1300’s when the university was founded. Beautiful room.
  • Our apartment was very nice and spacious with full kitchen which we made use of for breakfast and an evening meal.
  • Train to Salzburg comfortable and new but going through tunnels created a vacuum which was annoying for mums ears.

After training to Salzburg we walked about 15 mins to our hotel in the newer part of town. Not a far walk from there to the historic centre and the walk had many shops etc to explore. I wanted to visit this city back when I did the Munich Oktoberfest trip but didn’t have time. The city is known for its scenery and the film location for The Sound of Music. Also was the birthplace of Mozart. Good to finally visit and I think it would be even more scenic in winter covered with snow.  Highlights and observations:

  • Too many bikes on pedestrian streets and malls.
  • Wandering the alleys, getting lost, popping out into a scenic platz (square)
  • Sound of music tour. I can’t remember a lot of the movie but a good half day tour which is ever popular as 50th anniversary of the film.
  • Fortress high up on the hill with panoramic views
  • Late breakfasts in town squares
  • Learning about the Prince archbishop history and that Salzburg was its own state for a long time becoming very wealthy from salt mining.

Next stop – Paris and the champagne region of France.