The View from My Window

One of my favorite things to do while out on a long vacation that will take me to new and exciting place is to take a picture of the view I can see from my window of the hotel or hostel or Air B+B that I am staying at. It is surprising to see the differences of the places, and I think each place really show what certain places are really like. These are the views from the six place that I stay at.

Bad Windsheim, Germany

This was a really nice Air B+B we stayed at in Bad Windsheim, Germany. It sat above a nice pizzeria, and overlooked other people’s backyards. This feeling of being at home and comfortable in the very private surroundings that describes this quaint Germanic town.

Fussen, Germany

We only spent one night in this town that is most famous for the two big castles that sit on the mountains just outside of town. It was a small little hostel that was very crowded with only two bathrooms that I had to squeeze into if I wanted to use the shower. The building right across the street described the feeling of this place perfectly.

Salzburg, Austria

We stayed on the campus of one of the colleges in this town in a hotel chain. It was very comfortable and the staff was great. They had a nice community bar downstairs that many people visited throughout the day, and wherever you looked you saw other guests. The fact that I could look into other people’s rooms demonstrated this fact nicely. I tended to look over the building though at the mountains that surrounded the town.

Munich, Germany

I was back in the city with this hostel. We had a private room in the place, and it even had a sink in our room which made things a little more comfortable. There were a couple of shared bathrooms, and I could see during a busier time of the year it being a problem, but due to the fact that we were there at the beginning of the holiday after hangover, it wasn’t ever really a problem. I really enjoyed this place even the view could have been a little better, even though what should I have expected while staying in a city but a view of the city.

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

This was a great hostel and the views were amazing. It had a really nice kitchen and a great patio for each of the rooms. We did not use the patio because it was just a little too chilly, but that was the reason we came out here in the first place. The room was big and the people we shared the place with very friendly even though there were very few of them. It was exactly what it was like exploring this place that has easily become one of my favorite places in the world.

Murren, Switzerland

We like to splurge on one place on trips like this, and this was the place that we chose to do it at. The place was right across from the train station, but when you are in a town as small and quant as Murren, this is not something that should cause alarm. We were the only people staying at the place that night as well which made for a fun experience, and one again, the views were just spectacular. It also a a patio, and even though it was cold outside, we took advantage of it, and had a drink while enjoying the moon rise over the mountains.

Fortress Hohensalzburg – Salzburg, Austria

The view of Fortress Hohensalzburg from the city below.

It is impossible to travel to Salzburg without seeing the large castle perched on top of the hill in the middle of town. No matter where you go in the older part of town, its presence is looming down upon you, and it just begs you to go and see what it is all about. It is probably the single tourist spot in town, and at the same time it is a little scary because it requires a hike up the hill to visit it.

The funicular on the way down

In reality, the hill is not that bad to hike up, and it only takes ten minutes, but it will still wind a person who is not in the best of shape. But for those who wish to take the easy way up, there is a funicular that can be taken to reach the summit, and it is part of the ticket price to make it back down so you do not need to do damage on your knees as you make your way down.

The view of Salzburg from atop the fortress

It is worth getting up there either way because not only does it offer the best views of the city, but it is also a pretty interesting place to see. It was designed by a series of bishops in the year 1077 as way of protecting the people of Salzburg against an eminent attack. That attack never came, and over the years they continued to add to the fortress with the latest edition coming in 1991 when they updated the funicular to make access more easy.

The blacksmith’s work station

Despite the ground of the fortress which transports you back to medieval times and it still used for celebrations during the holiday season, it is a great place to learn what life was like during this time. It boasts of a small chapel where the bishops went to worship, a blacksmith room, an organ that woke the people of Salzburg up every morning, a torture chamber that just held devices of torture but were never used against an individual, a dungeon, and a wall that you can walk through to get various views of the expanse of Salzburg and the surrounding hillside. There were also quarters that were built so they could hold the prince in safety and eventually they added spaces for cannons that could be used to defend the city.

Statues that can be found in the museum portion of the fortress

There are also a couple of museums housed within its walls. One of them is interactive and is a lot of fun for kids who come visit the fortress. My favorite part of this section was a series of cannons that were pointed at the fortress and you would aim them to see if you get hit the fortress and which part you hit. Despite its digital game like quality, it was very informative and told me a lot about the place I was visiting. The other museum was a little weird. It held a lot of different artifacts collected over the years, and some of them made sense. When they started talking about World War I and World War II, I started to wonder why these things were collected in this place considering they had nothing to do with this fortress. The informative signs were a little strange as well. They were either written by a ten year old as report on the things he was seeing, or a real bad poet that was trying to write like the same ten year old. Though they were informative, the information they gave was kind of obvious and made for a bigger laugh than actually giving insight.

Despite this little flaw, overall this is a must see place while visiting Salzburg, and demonstrates how important this city has been to the growth of Austria, and Europe as a whole. It not only shows how a stronghold can defend a population, but also gives insight to the time period in which it was created.

Augustiner Braustubl – Salzburg, Austria

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the different sights that can be seen from my travels, or talking about the people and cultures I get to experience, but I do not spend enough time talking about an important aspect of traveling, the dining experiences. This can sometimes be a very stressful part of travel because you get hungry and you need to eat, but the various restaurants can be very intimidating. Each country has their own customs about how to order, and pay for your food, and if you do it wrong, you are afraid that people will look at you strange. But once you get it, the way a culture handles the dining experience can be more efficient and more pleasant than what you are used to. I would say that South Korea has the down the best, but there is a place in Salzburg that might compete for that title, Augustiner Braustubl Beer Hall.

If you do go to this place, do not expect to have much choice in beer. They only have one available, a pretty good lager, and it comes in two different sizes, a liter or a half liter. You should also not expect a server to come to your table to take your order. What you do instead is you walk up to the shelves that hold rows and rows of the mugs. You grab the size that you want, and then go wash it at the marble fountain in the middle of the entrance. You then pay for your beer. They give you a slip saying that you have paid for it, you take your mug and ticket up to the keg master who fills them for you. Then you join the party.

It is quite the party too. They have at least five different halls that I could find, but that does not mean that they have more hidden some place. In each hall, they have long tables and you just find a couple of seats, and sit down with your new best friends because let’s be honest, how can you not make friends with the person sitting across from you when you are both drinking a liter of beer. The place is noisy and when I was there, it was filled with mainly locals, but I can see that during the summer months, this will change to a group of tourists.

They serve food as well, but once again it is not like you are used to. One of the hallways in-between the beer halls, they have set up various vendors selling anything from roasted pork, to fish and chips, to breads and pretzels. You can find something for everybody there except if you are vegetarian. I am sorry, but I have not found many places in all of Germany and Austria that cater to this cuisine choice. If you like meat though, the choices are excellent. You just go up to the counter that you wish to have food from and order directly from that vender. You then bring it back to your seat and enjoy it.

It easy to enjoy a complete evening at this beer hall, and I am glad that it closes at 11:00 or I would still be there. It became one of those dining experiences that made me feel completely comfortable with its system, and I did not get stressed out by the customs I had to adhere to. I am glad that I read up a little bit about it before I went to dinner here, and it is what made the experience great. I can’t wait until the next place where I get to enjoy a new experience such as this.

A Stroll through Altstadt – Salzburg, Austria

The view of Salzburg from the Mozartsteg

Salzburg, Austria was one of the more important cities in Europe not only because it sat at a crossroads of trade, but also because it became the place where the precious salt was shipped through before it was distributed to the rest of the European cities. It was this important commodity that gave the city its name, Salzburg, and it eventually grew to be know as the Rome of the north.

The view of Fortress Hohensalzburg from the edge of altstadt

It is an impressive city that still has a hold over people as tourists come here to see its sights, shop among it many shops, and enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds the city. It is one of Europe’s biggest tourist attractions and it all starts at the heart of the city, the altstadt.

A skating rink set up during the Christmas markets in Mozartplatz

The old part of town is basically a huge series of squares that are surrounded by various Catholic churches. I have never seen so many churches collected in one single place. It seemed that every corner I turned there was another church that I could explore. I was curious how such a small population of people could support that many churches.

Salzburg Cathedral

The greatest of these churches is the Salzburg Dom or the Salzburg Cathedral. It is different from many of the other cathedrals found in Europe because it was built in only fourteen short years, and is designed in Baroque style. When they were creating it, they made sure not to supply it with stained glass windows because they wanted natural light to illuminate the altar instead. Its main focus was on the music that would be performed during the service and Sunday mass still draws in many people to experience it. There are four pip organs that surround the crossing of the asp allowing the music to come at the people in surround sound.

The Baroque architecture inside the Salzburg Cathedral

Of course, this was the place where one of the world’s most famous musicians, Mozart, got his start. Salzburg was his birthplace, and he got his start playing music in this cathedral before he went off to write his own symphonies, and operas.

Getreidegasse Street

His childhood home is actually on one of Salzburg’s more famous streets, Getreidgasse. This street used to be the main economic center of Salzburg with various shops lining the street, and not much has changed over the years. People still come here to do their shopping but they now can find modern shops among the coffee shops and long established restaurants. The old signs still hang above the new ones allowing you to see what it was like back before the chains moved in.

Fortress Hohensalzburg

The biggest attraction looms over the city though, the Fortress Hohensalzburg. This was built to show military might, but was never actually used in this fashion. Just by having it above the city prevented anybody from trying to take it over with force. It was eventually opened to the public and has become the number one sight for anybody that is visiting the city.

Another Catholic church in the graveyard of Salzburg

There are many other treasures that can be found while strolling through the many walking streets of Salzburg’s older portion of the city. It is a great way of introducing yourself to the city before you dive further into what the place has to offer.