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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Sights in Austria.

Austria isn't a popular holiday destination for many. In fact, in the small town where we ate, the Austrians who could barely speak English were all so excited to see the first Chinese tourists in their restaurant. I'm disappointed they didn't whip out their cameras and take photos with us then framing it. 

1) Old Town of Salzburg
This historic old town is like Mozart's birthplace so they milk that dead man's worth. Museums, umbrellas with musical note prints, chocolates (filled with pistachio cream, tastes so-so) and perfume that promises you the "magic of a nice feeling"!
It does have a little bit of the European charm with horse carriages & painted ceilings in the cathedrals but otherwise quite boring.
 Buskers were aplenty. Some jaw dropping,
Some creepy whom kissed my cheek when i posed for a photo. My mum immediately swiped out her disinfectant.
2) Fort Hohensalzburg
This is a medieval castle that reigns over the old city. I was disappointed to see it "not medieval" enough. Either the movie set seen in King Arthur is exaggerated,  otherwise this medieval castle has lost its authentic over the decades of preservation.
This is what it looks like. Not too medieval, not?
It is quite a massive place though, alot of climbing of stairs. Pretty much a museum displaying medieval furniture, torture chambers etc. They all sound exciting,actually not.
Castles are dotted around Austria.
Every tourist snaps a picture of this water fountain in the background, it's weird how tourists find the plain-est structures amazing.
Despite it being summer in Austria, it is pretty cold.

3) Sound of Music
 Salzburg is also the place where the classic was filmed. We decided not to sign up for the $100 tour because picturesque scenes from the movie can be found everywhere!
We even randomly came across the EXACT gazebo where the song "I am 16,going on 17" was sung and filmed at. It was found in the Trick Fountain's garden.
 4) The Salt Mines
This was a little more interesting because the tour tried to give visitors a sensory experience with lights, sounds & a little bit of thrill even with the slides.
 For $36, we get dressed in overalls that makes us look like prisoners. It is 10 degrees underground.
 Then we board this choo choo train into the tunnels, just like real miners.

We actually walked long enough to actually reach Germany but underground! The whole time i just kept playing scenes of The Hills Have Eyes, a movie about deformed miners trapped. The 2 hour tour even included a short boat ride underground. It was a guided tour with narration and visual help in telling us how it was like for the miners in ancient times.
 The highlight of the tour was swooshing down the giant slide from point A to B.

5) Trick Fountains at Hellburn Palace
I was tricked by the trick fountains at Hellburn Palace because i saw no palace but just a garden with trick fountains no less. I felt shortchanged by not seeing a palace as the name suggests.

In the olden days, there isn't entertainment like Wii, Xbox or Iphone. So this rich men built trick fountains to entertain himself at the expense of his guests!
A warp sense of humor, he had fountains built into dining tables, doorways and unsuspecting statues that would spring a wet surprise on the seater, passer-by or by-stander at the pull of a lever.
We did get abit wet here and there from this tour but luckily it was sunny and hot! A welcomed sprinkle.
 6) The Alps
Austria is surrounded with the alps. Ice mountain, glacier, there any difference? I just know that i went to 3 places, but they all kinda provide the same background for my pictures.
The cable car ticket to the top of Salzburg costs almost $50 per person. It's a really long ride up, like 3-4 cable cars up. The operators of the mountain were kind enough to not further charge for the 'activities' up there though. So the usage of the sleighs to slide on the snow was free.
If you're lazy, you can use the escalator but this slope is more populated.

If you're hardworking, you can find a secluded slope and climb it yourself.

My parents had a shot had their second childhood, not wanting to leave the ice! 
There was an accident on the road as Tour De France was going on, we felt relieved that in a mountainous area, helicopters were an option for emergencies. Tourists who snap at anything.
We had to pay $30 per car to enter this long winding road of scenic paranoiac views of the alps. Had to cam-whore it's worth.
I voluntarily ask my brother to photo-bomb my pictures. He is very obedient.
 It's a good 90 minute climb down to the foot of the glacier.
I feel kinda sad that this was the positioning of the glacier just last year! Look how far back it has moved/melted already. Please help save the Earth from global warming!
My brother collected glacier water and then lao sai after drinking.
He insisted it wasn't because of the water.

7) Wildlife Park
There're a couple of wildlife parks in Salzburg but i can't remember which one we went. Except that it was another misleading brochure. Unless you have city children who haven't seen deers, oxen and sorts other than from pictures...i'd say you can give this a miss. I prefer the wildlife park we stumbled upon in New Zealand, where the deers are really free and you drive your car in jurassic style. Pardon my younger days blogging for i didn't know to include the exact location of this wonderful park (free admission somemore! Just make a donation.) That's the thing with my family holidays, it's hard for me to make recommendations with addresses because my adventurous family just likes exploring and digging into any nook and cranny of the area we live in and they're usually not listed on Google!

Spot my silly brother posing amongst the 'extras' in the picture.

 Most of the animals were in enclosures except a small section of the park where deers were free. However they don't come close to you unlike the ones in New Zealand.
The deer is so far away until we behave like deers ourselves, hoping to attract its attention to come closer.
Wearing boots to a wildlife park is not a good idea.
8) The Ice Caves
One of my favourite tourist activity this trip was the ice caves. It was freezing in that cave but it's humbling to marvel at nature's creations.
Be warned, there is ALOT of walking and some 1000 steps within the caves to climb. All the better, so you can pig out on those german sausages and pork knuckles after.
It's interesting how the ice cave is situated so high up yet so dark and cold inside as if you are underground. It boggles me how nature works.
Nature's creation. The Ice Queen. The ice change every second, every minute so you won't know what shape or what animal it will become after some time. No wonder those tour guides with a passion for nature would work at sub zero degree places conducting tours after tours that is physically tiring each time.
 So that's my summer holiday. Memories created digitally.


Anonymous said...

A tad too late to have read this, I enjoyed my trip to Salzburg in July as well :)

I went to the ice caves as well, but the most fun part for me was paragliding from the mountains overlooking the old town. Simply fantastic!


Unknown said...

always a second time!

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