Thursday, May 25, 2006

Being in the right place at the right time

I think I may have made the most of my final day in Salzburg. I woke up fairly early this morning, had a hearty Austrian breakfast, then hopped on a bus with one of my roommates to go visit Schloss Hellbrunn and its famous "water-trick fountains." It was superfun - we got really wet at one point. And all the little kids were having a fun trying to get their parents wet. After the tour of the fountains, we went and played on the playground - always a fun thing to do. It was a really fun playground too, the kind you don't see any more in America because of stupid parents who sue people for their children's stupidity. I ended up lying on the grass there for about two hours, catching up on my reading. Luckily I remembered to put sunscreen on this time - it was really pretty out, but hot.
I decided at some point that I should head back to the hostel and start packing. I always say that jI'm going to do it early, but it never really happens until the last minute. And today was no exception. As I was heading back across the river, I couldn't help but notice the unusually large crowd lining both banks. And traffic was blocked off as well. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to stick around and see what was happening. I figured it was just going to be some parade, as today is a national holiday in Austria (don't ask what holiday, I don't really know). Not two minutes after I sat down on the river bank, a plane suddenly swooped out of the sky and began doing tricks over the river. Obviously, this must be what everyone was waiting to see. It was really cool - at one point the pilot even flew beneath one of the pedestrian bridges (don't worry, no one was allowed on the bridge at that point).
After the plane flew away, I got up to continue on my mission to get packed for Munich. But once again I couldn't help but notice how everyone was gathering along the blocked off streets. Then cops started coming by making sure everyone was backing up behind the barricades. What I didn't know was that there was a classic sports car rally going on - the Stadt Grand Prix. All of a sudden, all these really spiffy racers started zooming by. It was AWESOME. I spent about 2 hours watching them race through the streets of Salzburg. One of the drivers had a golden retriever as a co-pilot - complete with goggles! Only in Europe would such a race take place. Uncle Todd would have loved being here today.
Don't worry, all you car fans - I bought a program that has pictures and stats on all the cars and drivers so you can see it when I get home :-D.
I ran out of space on my UTD site, so I won't be able to load any more pictures for a couple of days until I find another place to store them. And I'll fix the broken "Salzburg3" page ASAP as well. I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Apparently an invading army was laying seige to the Hohensalzburg once upon a time. The situation inside the fortress got so bad that they were eventually down to just one ox to eat. To try to convince the seigers that they were doing fine, they paraded this one ox up and down the walls of the fortress, then painted it black and did it again, trying to convince them that they had more to eat than they actually had. The plan worked and the invading army left. Who knew? So now there is a random half-black and half-brown ox inside the Hohensalzburg.

More adventures in Salzburg

I decided to pay for one more tour - to the biggest ice cave in the world, Eisreisenwelt. It was an hour's drive out of Salzburg, then we had to hike 20 minutes uphill to get to Europe's steepest cable car, after which we had another 20 minute uphill hike to the cave entrance. It was well worth the effort and the money though. The cave was awesome. The only thing that was cold was my feet - I should have worn more than one pair of socks.
I was kind of tired after that, so I had some schnitzel and called it a night.
Then I woke up early this morning and went up to the Hohensalzburg (the fortress over the city). I met a couple from St. Louis - it was nice talking to them about all the places I had been on my roadtrip there. I went all through the fortress and then down to St. Peter's and the adjacent graveyard and catacombs. It was really cool.
Here are the pictures -
I'm going to go have some dinner now - and enjoy the warmth of my room (it's 10 degrees (C) outside)!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's a REALLY small world...

I thought it was a small world yesterday when I met a couple at the top of the Untersberg who were from Phillips, Wisconsin (where my great-grandfather was a cook in a lumberjack camp after immigrating from Germany). But it proved to be even smaller this morning when I ran into John Keese in the lobby of the hostel (he's one of the 03 McDermotts, for those of you who don't know him). Wow. Is that twice that two McDermotts have run into each other in a random European country?
Still waiting on my visa paperwork. I think I might go to Munich this weekend though, and see if I can meet up with Randi (one of my traveling buddies/roommates from my last trip to Europe).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Climb every mountain, indeed

The sun came out today (probably just for today if the weatherman is right), so I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go hiking.
I hoped on Bus 25 to the Untersberg, and ran into one of the girls from the hostel on the way. We both road up the cable car to the "top" of the mountain, then took off on a little adventure of our own. We walked up and down the ridge, and all the way to where you can start to see the Bavarian Alps. It was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! And of course, I was wearing a tank top and my keens, which was alright because it was about 60 degrees up there. But there was still a lot of snow, and I walked through a bunch of it in my sandals :-D. I know, I'm crazy, but it was a lot of fun. Lots of good pictures and a couple of videos (that's right, my new camera does video too - I just can't send them cause the file is too big).
I did get a bit of a sunburn, but that and the cold feet were a small price to pay for such a beautiful day. I wish I could live up there - I didn't want to come back down.
But the pizza at the hostel was calling my name...
Pictures are up -

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rain, rain, go away

You should all check out the weather report for Salzburg for this next week. It has been raining pretty steadily for three days, and with the exception of tomorrow, it's supposed to rain all next week as well.
I checked into going rafting/canoeing tomorrow with the sun, but they only do paragliding on Mondays. They did say that they are leading a rafting trip on Tuesday, which I might go on if it's not too cold.
I'm going to try to go hiking tomorrow. Depends on the weather. It appears to be snowing up on the top of the mountains, so that could rule out the hiking trip.
I did even less today than I did yesterday (at least yesterday there were a couple of hours of sunlight in the afternoon so that I could go to the gardens). BUT, I did finally watch The Sound of Music showing at the hostel - they put it on everyday at 10.30. Hehehe. There were so many macho guys pretending to hate it. But we all know they really were singing along on the inside.