“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
Salzburg at a Glance:
Location: Western Austria (Bordering Germany)
What It's Known For:
Birthplace of Mozart
Location of "The Sound of Music" Filming
Arriving in Salzburg
After touching down in Salzburg, I grabbed my bags and scurried over to the Red Bull Hangar (on the other side of the airport), which was full of stunt planes and motorsports memorabilia. Grabbing a quick dinner at the Carpe Diem Cafe, I officially had my first meal in Europe. Exquisite colors and flavors treated my taste buds (and quickly made me realize how bland American food is sometimes prepared).
Since having to switch flights, I didn't have much time before the group orientation meeting started. Luckily, the receptionist at Carpe Diem was able to dial up a taxi driver, who drove me to the front door of the hotel, with just a few minutes to spare. I made it and could relax now (phew).
Exploring the City
After meeting everyone, Andrew, our tour guide and fearless leader, gave us a quick tour of the town. Quickly getting my bearings straight, I knew exactly where I wanted to go first: the Hohensalzburg Fortress (a castle just across the river and atop the hill, overlooking the old town).
As I climbed the steep pathway to the fortress, I found the giant doors to be wide open - eventually leading right into the castle. I couldn't believe it. The weather was perfect and golden hour was just around the corner.
Making my way around the castle, I found a few places to eat (with the most gorgeous settings) and a hall where Mozart concerts are held regularly.
Day Trip To The Eagle's Nest
The next morning, a few of the other tour members and I walked to a bus stop across the river and caught a ride across the German border. From here, we purchased tickets for a tour of The Eagle's Nest (Hitler's get-away home). It turns out that Hitler only visited here a few times - his home was lower down on the mountainside. This house was primarily used to impress important political leaders when they visited, and was the only building remaining after the allies stormed the area. To access The Eagle's Nest, one must walk deep into a cold (however it was heated during operation) and damp tunnel before taking a polished brass elevator straight up into the house. It was pretty eerie knowing that I was walking in the same tunnels and riding in the same elevator that Hitler occupied at one point in time.
Back In Town For Some Dinner And Exploration
The 'Old Town' in Salzburg is exactly what I imagined an old European town to be like. Narrow streets filled with local charm, whiffs of great food, and plenty of shops to fill your shopping desires. Austrian schnitzel and strudel at Saran Essbar hit the spot for supper.
Some of the other tour members and our guide, Andrew (front center), awaiting a bite to eat.