Okay, enough transportation talk already. I’ll say just one thing: Germany trains hated us, but Salzburg transportation welcomed us to the city like an electric blanket on a cold rainy day. We arrived around 9am and stopped immediately at the Burger King right outside the train station to regroup and refuel after a VERY long night. Although the bike rental at the train station was closed, it was only a short walk to the hostel that we were hoping to stay at. We walked and appreciated the nice weather along the way – it wasn’t raining yet! We easily found and booked our room at the YoHo Hostel. Even though check-in wasn’t supposed to be for another two hours, the helpful front-desk worker told us that she’d have a room rushed for us so that we could go upstairs and take a nap. Thank you, Austria! We only planned on napping for an hour or so, but of course, five hours later, we woke up. At least we were refreshed!
We cheaply rented bikes for the day from our hostel and made our way over to the Hohensalzburg Festung Fortress. We didn’t even get lost! The ride over was absolutely beautiful, as well. We passed over the river, rode through plazas, and were immediately charmed. It was cold and cloudy, but it still wasn’t raining, and that was all that mattered. Once we arrived at the entrance to the fortress (after taking lots of pictures along the way), we ate at a little nearby café. I had bratwurst with sauerkraut and potatoes, and it was everything I wanted it to be. So Austrian, so perfect! We paid 10 euro to get into the fortress and took the cable car up to the top – the very top. This thing was super high on a hill. From the bridge that we were on earlier, in the middle of the city, you could see it sitting up on the hill over everything else. It was impressive from far away, and it was even more impressive once you were inside. We took the stairs up to the first level and were pleasantly surprised by a GORGEOUS panoramic view of Salzburg. It really was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Lots of pictures later, we finally motivated to go inside to tour the rest of the place. The inside was preserved very well, and hosted multiple exhibits of armor, instruments, and other things from the times when the fortress was first built. All of that was very cool, but I kept finding myself peeking out every window that I passed, eager for more beautiful views of Salzburg.
As we were later trying to find the exit – a difficult task within a place this huge – we stumbled upon the last free guided tour for the day. Why not! We put on our headphones and listened to more history as we made our way up lots of stairs to a few more different rooms in the fortress. Our last stop of the tour was definitely the coolest. I thought I had seen the best views of Salzburg possible, but wait, there was more! After way too many stairs, we walked into the open air of the very highest point of the fortress – a small, 15×15 platform that overlooked the entire city. It literally took my breath away (or maybe it was the stairs?). Many more pictures and memories later, we headed back down towards the exit. On our way down, we walked through another outside area with beautiful views, and since the misty rain had stopped, we found ourselves staring at a huge rainbow. How much prettier could this place get?!
We went back to our bikes outside the fortress and decided to ride around for a bit so we could see more of the city. We rode along the river for a while, appreciating the sights and sounds of the city. Yeah, I could totally live here. About an hour and a half of bike riding later, we decided to make our way back to the hostel. We stopped for an Italian dinner on the way back – not Austrian, but it was on the way and we didn’t want to risk getting lost… we were doing well so far! We got back to the hostel, returned our bikes, and I took one of the best showers of my life. (After two full days of not showering and sleeping on trains, I was quite relieved.) We took advantage of the free wifi and I posted a few things on my blog, checked emails and Facebook, and was able to relax after a long yet very nice day in Salzburg.
I wish we would’ve had more time here, but I feel like we definitely made the most of our day. Beautiful bike rides, beautiful views, good food, and a great city really do improve one’s mood after a rough couple of days.
pictures: (1) me on the river (2) our first panoramic view from the fortress (3) it was a bit rainy, but still beautiful! (4) old armor on display inside (5) beautiful Austrian clouds (6) a rainbow, how perfect (7) view of the fortress from the square (8) nearing the end of our bike ride