Day 6…Goodbye Austria, Hello Munich

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The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.—St. Augustine of Hippo


We woke up this morning to our last day in Austria.  We had a tasty breakfast in the garden of Hotel Nala and checked out.  We loved this hotel.

We ventured into Old Town again with the children in tow and the ladies went to shop and the men performed their duties admirably with the children and kept them alive. Innsbruck is such a lovely city to wander in, good shopping, good eating, good architecture to admire, and of course the Alps are everywhere in the background.

We spent our morning in Old Town and gathered for lunch on the main pedestrian walk, Maria-Theresien-Strasse, and ate at Sensei for very good sushi. Afterward we enjoyed some gelato at Tomasseli Gelateria which is nearby.

We had a wonderful stay in Innsbruck and we loaded up and headed off for the two-hour drive to Munich.

In Munich, we stayed at Hotel Olympic.  I need to say something about this hotel.  It was very nice and the staff was very friendly and helpful.  The hotel is located conveniently near the Viktualienmarkt and an easy walk to Marienplatz.  There are numerous multicultural restaurants in the area. I researched the hotel online and it had good reviews and I will give it a good review here.  Rick Steves book described it as “artsy”. However, I must tell you if you have an aversion to nudity in art, you may want to ask for a room that displays art that is more suited to your tastes.  My son, who has a small daughter was given a room with a graphic orgy scene.  The manager was called and he gracefully removed it and all was well.

We had already seen Frauenkirche on the day we landed in Munich five days ago. That day we had lunch on the plaza outside the church.  We had an assortment of cheeses and sausages and sauerkraut at Nurnberger Bratwurst-Glockl am Dom. The food was very good.  We used this time to have a reunion meal with our family that we hadn’t seen for many months since they had moved to Turkey.

Back to the day at hand.  After checking in at Hotel Olympic, my son-in-law took our rental van back to the airport.  While he was gone, we took the kids on a stroll to a park by the Isar River that runs through Munich.  We met up with him later and had our evening meal at an Afghani restaurant across from our hotel, called Bamyan Narges.

We had a wonderful dinner here. All the dishes were excellent.  My wife and I ordered Keema Bamyan for appetizer and an entrée of Quabelli Palau with grilled lamb.

Afterward, we went for a walk and found some good ice cream.  It had been a good day of Innsbruck and Munich.

Next, our first full day in Munich.

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One of the ornate facades in Old Town Innsbruck.

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A narrow street in Old Town Innsbruck.

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Row buildings in Innsbruck.

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A window in Old Town Innsbruck.

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One of the many outdoor sitting areas in Innsbruck.

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Sensei is upstairs, not the restaurant on the ground floor.

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Really, really good sushi at Sensei Sushi Bar and outdoor dining is available.

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Tomaselli gelateria has delicious gelato in Innsbruck.

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Hotel Olympic in Munich is a very good hotel with questionable art, but  very good service and the location is perfect for Old Munich.

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Wonderful dining on the plaza of Frauenkirche in Munich.

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I previously took photos of golf courses, now it is dining experiences.  This is another view of the outdoor dining on the plaza of Frauenkirche in Munich. We ate Nurnberger Bratwurst-Glockl am Dom, which is on the right.

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Sausage, cheese, and radish platter at Nurnberger.

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St. Maximillian Church in Munich.

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The bank of the Isar River is a popular gathering destination in Munich. St. Maximillian Church is in the background.

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Bamyan serves delicious Afghani food in Munich.

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Keema Bamyan at Bamyan.

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Quabelli Palau with grilled lamb was excellent at Bamyan.

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Street scene near the Hotel Olympic.

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Sunset clouds on our first night in Munich.

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Ice cream of course at the end of a good day.









Innsbruck, Austria…Day 4

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The mountains are calling and I must go.—John Muir


I don’t know if John Muir was ever in Innsbruck.  If this is how he felt, he may never have left.

I don’t know who the official pretty city-rating people are, but if I was in that group, Innsbruck, Austria would definitely be at the top of my list. It sits in a valley completely surrounded by the Alps, which were snow-covered while we were there.  It takes effort to keep from being photo bombed by an Alp when taking a picture.

We arrived in late morning after a night in Schloss Matzen Castle.  We checked into the Hotel Nala which has to be the coolest hotel ever.  Even the website is cool.  I can’t express the level of coolness of this hotel…and very artsy.

While waiting for all the rest of the crew, my wife and I had a glass of Riesling in the beautiful courtyard.  We then headed out for lunch at Machete Burrito Kartell. I must say this was the best burrito I have ever eaten.

We found a nice playground and park across the Inn River that runs through Innsbruck.  We let the children play and some of us older adults rest. Of course on the way to the park we stopped so my daughter and I could get a pretzel and a croissant to eat on the way to the park.

We walked around the Old Town in Innsbruck.  It is a very easy stroll through this part of the city.  We loved the wide pedestrian Herzog-Freidrich-Strasse with its outdoor cafes and shops and historic buildings.  Innsbruck’s Old Town has a nice mix of old and new.  The old buildings intertwine with modern shopping.

We saw the Golden Roof, probably the most recognized spot in the Old Town. Built around 1500 and used by Emperor Maximillian I and his wife to gaze down on the festivals and stay above the tourists.

We also saw St. Anne’s column on Maria-Theresien Street.  It was built in 1703. When you are lost from your group, this is a good place to meet, very easy to find.

Old Town in Innsbruck is very lovely and relaxing. Innsbruck has such a different feel from other cities in Europe that I have seen. It is much more laid back.  We were there in early April, so I’m sure it gets much more crowded in the summer.  We had a pleasant day, in the 60’s and sunny.

We decided to get take out pizza for our dinner since we were tired and didn’t want to take the children out again.  There is a really nice pizza place across from the Hotel Nala called Gusto Pizzeria.  It is owned by a lovely Turkish couple.  The pizza was really good.  But a word of warning, if you want a Margherita pizza, it means cheese only in Turkey. There was a communication problem but it was my fault because I did not read the description that was in English. It was a really good cheese pizza.  The other pizza was very good also.

It was a good day in Innsbruck.

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We started with a nice glass of Riesling in the courtyard of the Hotel Nala.

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Christ’s statue on the Innbrucke Bridge.

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Triumphal Arch leading into the Old Town.

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Best burrito ever was eaten here.

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Row buildings overlooking the Inn River.

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One of the parks in Innsbruck.

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Trees were in bloom in early April.

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The Alps are always peeking into the Old Town.

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Many wonderful outdoor cafes are in Innsbruck on the main pedestrian thoroughfare.

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The City Tower was built in 1450.  You can climb the 133 steps to the top for a stunning view.

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One of the many interesting buildings in Innsbruck.

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Beautiful row of buildings in Innsbruck.

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St. Anne’s Column in the old marketplace.

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So much fun in Innsbruck just walking around.

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Modern stores in old Innsbruck.

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Interesting display on a balcony.

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Good pizza here with friendly service and owners.

Next up, another day in Innsbruck and a train ride to Garmish, Germany.




Schloss Matzen Castle


Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.—C.S. Lewis


My son-in-law booked us rooms in a castle for one night, at the request of my daughter.

When he informed me of this, I thought maybe I told her too many stories when she was a little girl about a princess with her name.  She definitely watched too many Disney movies about princesses.

I didn’t think too much about this night in the castle as the trip materialized.  While we were spending time in Salzburg, I didn’t think much about it either.   We decided to eat in Salzburg before we left for the castle. As we were eating a late dinner, by our standards not European standards, I didn’t think about it. Only when they called my son-in-law to ask if we would be present for the evening meal and tour, did I start thinking about it. I was going to miss a meal and that caused pause for reflection.

This castle is about midway between Salzburg and Innsbruck in the municipality of Reith im Alpbachtal in Tyrol.

The staff was very accommodating even though they wanted us there for the evening meal and the tour.   Now I have been on vacation property tours, but it was because I signed up for a cheap vacation and had to endure a high pressure condo sale.

After spending time at the Schloss Matzen Castle, I wish we would have gotten there sooner.

The castle was first mentioned in 1167 and has undergone different renovations.  President Theodore Roosevelt was friends with one of the owners and spent much time there.

As soon as you walk through the huge doors into the open-air courtyard, you start to feel special.  We stayed on the third floor in a room by itself down a long hallway past the chapel and the knights dining room.  The rooms are large and spaced far apart, I think there are only twelve rooms for overnight guests of the castle.

Since we got there late, it took time to get the grandchildren settled in and we did not get to explore much.  We saved that for the next morning.

The morning brought a wonderful surprise as we really got to see the castle in daylight.  The granddaughters were ecstatic, running everywhere and since it is mostly stone, not too much was breakable.  There wasn’t hardly anyone staying there so the long hallways and big rooms were easy for them to explore (or as we say in Eastern Kenucky, run wild).

The breakfast that was served, was the best of the trip…so many choices of breads, cheeses, jams, fruits, bacon, sausages, soft-boiled eggs, smoked salmon, yogurt, and the very best coffee.  All of the choices were delicious and believe me, I sampled almost everything they had to offer.  The highlight of the morning was being with my granddaughter when no one else was there and she was so excited to see all of the food displayed, a look of pure excitement…a girl after my own heart.

After breakfast, we toured the castle and the grounds.  All of us were wishing we had more time here.  So my advice to any of you thinking about staying here…do it and spend an extra day.

I have a few photos to show…then on to Innsbruck.

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Our room is the door at the end of this long hall.


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The long hall before you get to the long hall to our room. The girls loved roaming these halls.

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Breakfast in this room.

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I could have stayed another night just to get the breakfast again.

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I told you the coffee was really good.

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The courtyard.

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A view of the tower.  The spa is located in the tower and also a self serve bar is in the top of the tower.

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The knights dining hall.

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The beautiful chapel.

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Colorful flower boxes.

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A cozy sitting room.

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There are many vignettes of art and flowers all through the castle.IMG_1492 2

I wonder if Teddy Roosevelt is responsible for the large stuffed buffalo head.


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Stone couch on the grounds.

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One last look.



Austria, Day 3…Salzburg, Goodbye Golling

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These are a few of my favorite things.—Oscar Hammerstein II

Today was our last day in Salzburg.  It definitely has a few of my favorite things I look for when I tour a city…historic buildings, narrow streets, scenery, wonderful vistas, and good food.  If you are looking for these few things, go to Salzburg, Austria.

We began our day with coffee on the deck, viewing the Alps, had an impromptu breakfast, and then said good-bye to our rental house owner in Golling an der Salzach. It was a wonderful place for us to stay.

We arrived back in Salzburg and I wanted a mid-morning snack.  I found the perfect hold-me-over till lunch at a small bakery near Mirabell Gardens, called Resch & Frisch.  It has a big picture of Mozart, so it is easy to find.  I did some research on this place and found that it is part of a larger corporation.  Nevertheless the croissant and pretzel I purchased here was very, very good. We shared it on the walk over to Old Town.

We found a wonderful, intimate Vietnamese cafe in Old Town. It is called Wokman Natural Kitchen.  Some older guides may list it as Pho 18.  The pho was so good here.  We dined al fresco and they were able to accommodate all of us and our three strollers.

We meandered through Old Town for a bit after lunch and then headed up the big hill to the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

This fortress sits high atop Salzburg.  Like a guardian angel, it watches over the city below.  It was built in 1077 as a protection for the principality and archbishops from attacks.  It has never been taken over… except now, by tourists.  There are amazing views of the city and of the Alps from this fortress.

On the way back down, we stopped for a break at a small cafe that seemed to be built into the wall.  I could not find the name of this little place, but the location was fantastic. We ate at a table tucked into a little cranny on the walk to the castle.  The sausage and cheese plate with olives were very good.

We made our way back across the Salzach River and found a nice place to eat our evening meal.  We dined at Zum fidelin Affen.  We ate inside since it was becoming very windy outside.  The restaurant had dark paneling and was cozy.  I had more wild garlic soup and Austrian goulash  with a dumpling.  The entree was good, but a little heavy.

All in all it was a good last day in Salzburg.  Now on to Innsbruck, but first a night at a castle!


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First stop…a cheese croissant and a pretzel with mustard.

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I can’t describe how good this pho is at Wokman Natural Kitchen.

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Bicycles were everywhere…very European.

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Outdoor cafe taken from our outdoor cafe.

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Hohensalzburg Fortress sits above Salzburg.  Did we really walk up there with three children under 2-yrs old?

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Yes, we did.  A most major accomplishment.  This is part of the walk up to Hohensalzburg Fortress.


The following are views from the walk up to the fortress…

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The view from Hohensalzburg Fortress.

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A great place for a rest and a plate of sausage and cheese on the way up or down from the fortress.

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We loved the owl cushions.

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The entrance to the small cafe on the way to the fortress.

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Church towers in the late afternoon sun in Salzburg.

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Crossing the Salzach River for the last time on the Makartsteg Footbridge.

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We had a cozy dinner at Zum fidelen Affen.

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The last bowl of wild garlic soup, a very good memory of Salzburg.

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Austrian goulash with a large dumpling for my entrée.

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One final good-bye to beautiful Salzburg.









Austria, Day 2…Salzburg’s Old Town

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I can’t seem to stop singing, wherever I am.—Fraulein Maria

This was the way I felt in Salzburg.

Day two in Austria started with coffee on our deck looking at the awe-inspiring Alps outside Golling an der Salzach where we rented a house for our family.

Some of us slept in late because of the time change and jet lag. So I took this opportunity to take a walk with my almost-two year old granddaughter, that lives far away from me, and get to know her better.  We found a bridge over a little stream so she could throw some leaves in the water.  We had three children under two years of age, so we knew this would be a challenge to go into Salzburg.

When traveling with children this young, your mindset HAS TO BE..patience, flexibility and adaptability.

Since we were getting a late start, we made a decision not to go to Hallstatt.  We decided to spend a day and half in Salzburg to give it enough time, knowing we would not be able to see all we wanted…well you know children travelers and all.

We started with a late breakfast or early lunch at Tomaselli Cafe.  This is one of the oldest  and continuous cafes in Salzburg. It is in the heart of the Old Town on the Alter Markt.  We had a meal of sausages with mustard and fresh horseradish and various breads and jams.  We sat under the wall with old paintings of former Salzburgers.  We had a nice start to our day here.

We began our day touring in the Old Town. We started in Mozartplatz, we knew we were there when we saw the statue of Mozart.  After dodging through the bicycle tours, or I should say after the bicycle tours dodged us since we were just as formidable with three strollers, we wandered through the Old Town.

As a side note, my wife and I would have never considered taking our children to Europe when they were two.  We always went to the beach, since you can’t tear up a beach. But our adult children don’t think like we do.

We came to this conclusion…if the Nazis or the Allied forces couldn’t destroy Austria, what could a couple of two-year old girls and a 4-month old boy do?  They were too busy picking up rocks and cigarette butts and anything else they could get their hands on and put into their mouth.  This is the way to build an immune system.

Salzburg is a beautiful, old European city.  The Salzach River bisects the city.  There are numerous bridges crossing the river and we crossed these bridges a lot.  My favorite is the Makartsteg Footbridge that is plastered with lovers locks.

We hung out outside the Salzburg Cathedral and Domplatz and ate some good ice cream on the steps of the 247-yr old Maria Immaculata statue. The granddaughters were quite impressed with the small rocks in the Domplatz. The cathedral was completed in its present form in 1628. It still has the baptismal font that was in use to baptize Mozart.

We saw St. Peter’s Abbey and the cemetery and catacombs.  From the catacombs, there is some incredible views of the cathedral towers. We crossed the bridge and walked through the beautiful Mirabell Gardens

When it was time to eat our evening meal, we drove out to WieherWirt.  This was a most enjoyable meal.  We sat at a table outside where we could view the lake.  Across the lake sat the Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron. This was used as the Von Trapp Mansion in The Sound of Music.

We started our meal with sheep cheese with herb nuts and cranberry sauce.  This was so good.  I also had Austrian meatballs with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.  My wife had weinerschnitzel, potatoes, and cranberry sauce.  All the plates were very good. Our day ended with this delicious meal and we headed back to our rental house and Golling an der Salzach.

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Cafe Tomaselli on the Alter Markt in Old Town Salzburg.

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The sausage was good but the fresh horseradish and mustard was very good at Cafe Tomaselli.

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Mozart statue in Mozartplatz, a good place to begin your tour of Old Town Salzburg.


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Residents Fountain in Residenzplatz.

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Old Town Hall.

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Pfarrkirche St. Andra.

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Locks on the Makartsteg Footbridge.

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Big chessboard in Kapitelplatz.

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The Golden Sphere in Kapitelplatz.

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Salzburg Cathedral with Maria Immaculata.

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St. Peter’s Catacombs.

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View of church steeples from the catacombs.

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St. Peter’s statue and fountain in the St. Peter’s Abbey courtyard.

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St. Peter’s fountain was a good place to hang out and rest for a while.

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Inside St. Peter’s Abbey.

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Fountain at Mirabell Gardens.

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Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron used in The Sound of Music.

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Very tasty appetizer of sheep cheese, herb nuts, and cranberry sauce at WieherWirt.

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Austrian meatballs on mashed potatoes with grilled vegetables with a good Riesling at WieherWirt  was a good end to a good day in Salzburg.


Austria…Day 1, Golling an der Salzach


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I grew up so poor in Austria that we never took a family vacation.—Wolfgang Puck


With all due respect to Mr. Puck’s upbringing, I don’t doubt that he grew up poor.  However if there ever was a place to live where one could not go on vacation, this place is the place to be in that situation. There are postcard views everywhere.

We had a long day of travel.  Indy to Philly to Munich to Golling an der Salzach.  We were up for 23 hours before exhaustively going to bed.  We had been traveling with family, including two grandchildren under two years old.  We met more family in Munich who had come from Istanbul by way of Berlin with another grandchild under two.

We picked up our rental nine passenger van at the airport in Munich after a fourteen hour trip through the night and drove to the central train station in Munich to meet the other family members.  After a great meal outside on the Frauenkirche plaza, we toured the inside of Frauenkirche then left Munich for the two-hour drive to our rental house in Golling an der Salzach, Austria. The drive to Golling was very scenic.

We arrived at our rental house in Golling in mid afternoon.  We met our host from Air BNB, a delightful lady.  She was most pleasant and had the house ready for us.

These are photos of our house in Golling.

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Here is a picture of our view off the front deck for morning coffee…

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Golling an der Salzach is a lovely town surrounded by Alps, about a forty minute drive south of Salzburg.  We stayed here two nights.

Golling an der Salzach is a small town of about 4300 and the first mention of a history of people living there is in the 1200’s AD.

Our first meal in Austria was the evening meal at Hauslwirt. This is a lovely hotel and restaurant in Golling.  We had wild garlic soup with a semolina dumpling for starters.  This was maybe the best tasting dish we had all week.  It is a seasonal dish in Austria.  We also had a pasta dish with green and white asparagus and a very good Riesling.  We shared a piece of sacher torte, a wonderful chocolate cake with whipped cream.

We strolled through town and went back to our house, exhausted.  Some of us had been up for 23 hours and looking for a good nights slumber.  I have found the best way to battle the time change going to Europe is to stay up the first night until my regular bed time and that helps me get back on track.

In retrospect, a good plan with traveling with children would have been to stay in this house longer and used it as a base to travel to Salzburg and Innsbruck.  It is also close to Hallstatt. The kids had to get use to too many beds and sleeping arrangements, but they were troopers and did OK.

Nevertheless, on to Salzburg…



The following are pictures taken from our van on the drive from Munich to Golling an der Salzach, Austria.

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The following are pictures of Golling an der Salzach.

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Wild garlic soup at Hauslwirt, the best dish of the week in Austria.

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Pasta with green and white asparagus at Hauslwirt.

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A fitting end to a good day, sachre torte at Hauslwirt.