Friday, September 15, 2006

Salzburg and the Sound of Beer Glasses

1. Cruising at 90 on the autobahn, still easing into it.
2. St. Ruperts Fest - Pretzels in S, M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL!
3. Looking up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress
4. Andy - E46 Piloto at the Hotel Weisses Kreuz
5. How's a fat guy get out of his car? He folds up his mirrors.
6. Hangin' out with the politicos (glasses and balding, center rear...)
7. The magic of Salzburg at night.

After a quick call to Lufthansa to check on A&J's luggage (still nowhere in sight) we set sail for Salzburg. Easing on to the Autobahn we were rolling along at 90 still a little squeamish and not at all tempted by the burgers flying by at 155 in their big Bimmers and Mercs.

Despite the stormy weather, the sights of onion dome churches, nestled in the alpine meadows and mountains strenghtened the realization that we were no longer in the corn fields of Indiana.

With the Nav providing faultless directions, we pulled into town only to get trapped in the middle of a parade in honor of St. Rupert, Salzburg's annual mini-Oktoberfest. With a tip of the hat to the cell phone god and Rick Steves, we quickly made reservations on the fly and got A&J installed in the Hotel Weisses Kreuz, a family run place on a cobbled back street under the fortress. We took a slot at the Hotel Weisse Taube, a comfy place a block off of Mozartplatz.

We quickly clicked with hotel matron Andrea, who when I asked where I could park, produced a map and a magic marker and directed me to an underground lot 'just around the corner'. Once there, I had to make a 33-point turn to get backed into the space and then sucked in my breath to get out the door, folding in my mirrors to squeeze out of the slot. On the walk back, feeling 'manly' I got lost and found myself wandering the back streets of the old town. Thinking I could cut across town, Andrea neglected to tell me that I had to walk around the mountain to return. I finally slogged in soaking wet, to see the worried look on Marcia's face and the silly smirk on Andrea, that told me she enjoys doing this to all her visitors!

With no sign of A&J's luggage, Julie decided we needed to find a mall (I know...)to stock up on clothing necessities. Somehow the Salzburgers managed to produce a mall and following a 15 minute wild cab ride (Disney's wild mouse ride had nothing on this guy in his VW minivan)we found ourselves in a genuine US style mall. Marcia and I (suffering from the mall hives) decided to sit down at a cafe and have a cappucino while we waited. We were quickly surrounded by passers by taking cell phone pictures of us. We thought my god, we really stick out as oddities here, when we realized that some politico who was running for chancellor or major domo of all Austria was doing a photo op next to us!

Returning to town, we asked the cabbie where the best Wiener Schnitzel in Salzburg could be found. He dropped us off at a restaurant that didn't have anything resembling Schnitzel. We had a brandy and decided it was his brother-in-law's place. Walking back to the hotels through the majesty of Salzburg at nite was a joy. The thought of getting back behind the wheel tomorrow was tugging like a bow string.

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