I know, it's do-re-mi-FA-so, but I had to make it work. Heck, in Albania and Italy, they say do-re-mi-fa-so-la-si-do, so if entire nations can change it up, I figure I can--at least while I'm in Salzburg. You know this is a fantastic city, full of musical history. The home of Strauss and Mozart, and of course the von Trapp's (Sound of Music, people, Sound of Music!)
I suppose I should catch everyone up with where we are right now...we drove from Vienna to Salzburg yesterday. Our original plan included a night's stop in Linz, but we are having a difficult time with online hotel booking in Austria (we figured it out...sorta. I can definitely recommend booking.com). Hence our trip all the way to Salzburg. On the way we stopped in Melk (although one look at the entrance fees to the simple monastery made our visit there quite short) and then in Mauthausen.
Mauthausen was a concentration camp during WwII, so of course dad and I were particularly intrigued (he's seen it before, though, and I can't truly speak for the others--I know they thought it was good too). I have always been fascinated by WWII and the history here in Europe because of it. We walked through the gas chambers and the cremation facilities, as well as the throws of monuments that have been erected. Quite surprisingly, there is a monument that the RPS e Shqiperise put up (that's Albania in the olden days, folks). We walked down the treacherous rocky path to the rock quarry where the prisoners were forced to walk everyday and to come back with granite blocks on their backs. If they stumbled (we stumbled and we weren't loaded; that road is not flat at all), they were usually killed or severely punished. It was amazing, if not quite saddening to think that human beings were (are) capable of performing such deeds.
We left Mauthausen for Braunau, a small city on the border with Germany where dad spent a couple of months as a missionary. They don't have missionaries in the city anymore, but I did see and drive across the bridge dad has in his photos. This particular bridge is the gateway to Germany--one side is in Austria, the other in Germany.
After eating dinner in Braunau, we took off for Salzburg. The cool thing about this ride was that it was all pretty much back roads. Really cool European roads cut through a sprawling forest. It was awesome, and quite beautiful.
We arrived in Salzburg and found our hotel, and got ready for the morning. When we woke up and had breakfast, we decided to walk around Salzburg. We visited Mirabell Gardens (SoM, folks, SoM) and headed into Mozartsplatz. Mom and dad found their souvenir of choice (you'll have to see), and we continued into the church nearby.
In contrast with most of the Bavarian-influenced churches that we've seen, this one was all white inside. It even had five organs!! One in the back, and four around the altar. Crazy. Well, like I said, music is important here.
We then went up to the city fortress, a castle on the hill. It was probably the most interesting castle we've been to, mostly because of the in-depth descriptions that were lacking at the others. Plus the train-ride up (it's about a 50 degree angle up) was fun. Kinda like a mini rollercoasta.
The only problem is that lately I've felt a little under the weather. After getting off the funicular (that's what they translated it to!) I sneezed about 24 times in a row. Oh, it was ridiculous...trust me. We came back to the hotel to cool off and have a little lunch.
After a nap, we got up and decided to go to the Eagle's Nest. For those who have never heard of this...this was Hitler's secret hiding place. Situated quite high in mountainous region south of Munich, it is only reachable by an elevator.
Well, unfortunately, we missed the last trip up, but we were close, and that sufficed us. It was a fun ride anyway. Seriously, the Europeans have no fear to place a 20 or 30 percent graded road in the middle of civilization. I'm probably exaggerating, but they were steep.
After that we came back to Salzburg and went to Leopoldkron, which is the backside of the von Trapp house in the movie. We ate on the lake right there and came back to the hotel where we booked our remaining two hotels. Needless to say we're taking these days much easier than Albania and Italy. I think it's worked to our advantage, as we had tons of energy then, and now, we want to relax and enjoy the atmosphere's closer to the cities.
Oh yeah, the dad/hat story. We got off a late subway train (hence the last entry's title) our last night in Vienna, and I noticed I would have about 45 minutes to write and put up my entry before the lobby closed at our hotel. We were just about out of the metro station (good band) when dad exclaims, 'Oh crap!' and puts his hands to his pockets. So I'm thinking, 'There is no *way* he left his wallet or credit card at that restaurant (that we were at)...what's going on?' And he goes on: 'I left my hat.' Seriously. He had left his ATK hat at the restaurant and was FREAKING out. The look on his face...it was as if Curt or I had been shot or kidnapped...or something. He told us we had to go back. So...we got BACK on the train and went a few stops to where the restaurant was. Not a big deal, but...for an ATK hat? I would've bought him a new 5 euro EURO2008 cap. Anyway, so we got back to the hotel a lot later than planned, so I wrote that small entry from the steps outside. Haha. A bum with a computer.
Pics from Melk/Mauthausen/Salzburg up tomorrow!!
Update: I got my iPod working. I've been trying to prepare my thumb drive to become a bootable ubuntu disk, but I've had no luck. We found a nearby internet cafe and I decided to try it on Windows. It started to work, but continued to take a long time (the comps sucked anyway), so I googled a bit more about my problem. From day one I realized what was going on, I just needed a simple way to fix it. Guess what? Winamp fixes it. Crazy, ain't it??? Anyway, I've got no artwork, but everything works. To test it, I stayed up real late watching a movie. Haha. Anyway, thanks to everyone (esp. AJ!!) for all of their help and suggestions!