Sunday, June 27, 2010

Europe 2010 - Day 8

Saturday, June 26

Well, we are most definitely "tourists" now.

After a light breakfast at Institute Saint Sebastian in Salzburg, we checked out of our room. The kind woman working the desk allowed us to leave our bags in a locked closet in her work area, however, so we took advantage of that.

Our plan was to walk a few blocks down to where a couple of the local tour groups' booking stations were located to inquire about jumping on a morning "Sound of Music Tour."

I know what most of you guys are thinking...

But anyway, we were able to get two seats on that morning's four-hour bus tour. And it was actually cooler than I thought it would be. Riding around Salzburg in a tour bus filled with people singing "The Hills are Alive," "Edelweiss," "Doe-Ray-Me," and "I Must Have Done Something Good" had me feeling a little skeptical. But our tour guide, a witty Brit named Trudy who wore a traditional Austrian dress, made it quite enjoyable.

We visited numerous places around town that were used during filming, such as the two castles that served as the von Trapp family home (they used one facade for the front of the house and another building all together for scenes shot in the back), the famous gazebo and the church were the captain and Maria were married.

That church, located in Mondsee, actually had a wedding ceremony going on at the very time we went inside. We stayed in the back taking pictures (if it was my wedding; I would have been kind of upset). But really, the church was so large--and there was music playing at the time--that I don't think anyone noticed.

We did get a lot of great pictures during the tour. And it was something that Brooke really wanted to do (I get the impression that women get a LOT of enjoyment out of this particular tour) so it was well worth it. And like I said, I had more fun than I expected.

After the tour, we walked back to retrieve our bags and we then headed for the car park. I owe John Painter big-time for agreeing to temporarily swap my Magellan for his Garmin GPS device, as his works in Europe. It made our drive to Saint Wolfgang, Austria so easy. All told, it took us less than an hour to arrive at our hotel: Hotel Cortisen am see.

At the age of 30, I am willing to say that this is the coolest place I will ever stay at in my life. Leading up to this vacation, this is the hotel I was most excited about. We had a particular suite reserved (you could view panoramas of the rooms on the hotel Web site), and it is a "no kids" establishment right on the lake.

You have some laundry you want done? Bring it down, we'll do it for free. You want to use our sauna and steam room on the third floor? Let us know, we'll just turn it on for you. You want to ride a bike or mountain bike around the village for the day? Just let us know, no charge for the bikes. You want to take our rowboat out on the lake? No charge.

They also offer a Harley, but there is a fee to rent that.

If you ever consider coming to Austria, you really ought to give this place a look.

After checking in, we explored the property a little bit, checking out the cigar room, the library (with free books, DVDs and CDs to use), the bar, the lakeside sun deck... everything clearly laid out and designed by a top-notch decorator.

Then we decided to stroll through the village and explore while at the same time looking at restaurant menus. One lakefront hotel, Hotel-Peter, had a terrace restaurant out back, and the menu looked great, so we gave it a try.

Now, I love Switzerland like I can't even begin to explain. But it's very expensive. At Hotel-Peter, our total order included two Cokes (you don't get free refills of ANYTHING in Europe), a beer, a bowl of soup, an entree of fresh fish caught in the lake and each prepared a different way(intended for two people to share) and two homemade desserts. All of that, and our bill was 51,70 Euros!!! I was pleasantly shocked--though I should have been a bit prepared for that when our lunch in Mondsee that afternoon during our tour came to 11,00 Euros (two drinks and a pizza).

So that's another great aspect about Austria. And the scenery is just as nice as it is in Switzerland.

After dinner, Brooke made use of the jacuzzi tub in our suite while I opened the door to our balcony and updated my Europe journal/blog. Then we watched the damn USA-Ghana World Cup match.

Germany plays England Sunday. That is a really big deal here since we're just a couple miles from Germany. In fact, I'm quite certain that some of the mountains that surround us are on Germany's side of the border.

Quick shout-out to Allix Bullock for everything she's doing for us while we're gone. We know the house and Crockett are both in good hands.

1 comment:

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