July 20 to 25
We are now coming close to the end of our trip. Our next destination is Salzburg. We spend three days in Salzburg, then just one day in Linz and then come back to Vienna to take he flight home.
We left Innsbruck and drove to Salzburg. This is our last major destination. We would spend three days in Salzburg and then one day In Linz before coming back to Vienna to take the flight home.
Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria. It is visited by millions of visitors every year. The river Salzach flows through the city. The old city has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
The city became a major tourist attraction for many reasons. First reason is that the famous composer Mozart was born and grew up in Salzburg. Second reason is it’s history and the many old buildings including the Hohensalzburg fortress. Third important reason is the very popular film Sound of Music. Some scenes and the surroundings of Salzburg were used in the production of Sound of Music. The tour operators take tour groups to show the places where the film was produced. It was on the steps of Mirrabell platz that the song "Do Re Me" was sung by the children and Julie Andrews. Another song “The Hills are alive with Music” was filmed with the background of the pretty mountains. Tour operators know these places and we heard that some of the tourists go there and sing that song as if they are acting in the film.
Our hotel Holiday Inn was not in the city centre. It was not very far, but not walking distance from the hotel either. We bought a day ticket and went to the city centre by bus. We debated whether to drive to the old city. Through Internet, we found a car park close to the old city. Then we found that we could lose our car parking slot in the hotel car park. There was limited parking in the hotel car park and if we took the car out, it could have been difficult to find a slot when we came back.
When we were in the old city, it started raining and we had to stay in one place under cover for some time. Other than that, we covered most of the places in the old town. We visited Salzburg several years ago and some of the places were very familiar. Mala did some shopping and bought a few items from some traditional Austrian shops. We also tried some traditional food items from their food stalls.
There are several bridges across the river Salsach connecting the old city to the main city. There is one pedestrian bridge which is used by most tourists to cross the river. On the two side rail panels of the bridge, you can see thousands of padlocks attached to them. We do not know who started it, But it has become a common practice among young couples who visit the city. They put a padlock on a wire and lock it to show their love is locked and permanent.
We finished our stay in Salzburg and moved to Linz for one night. Linz is the third largest city in Austria. The river Danube runs through it. Our hotel Park Inn by Radison was a good hotel close to the main street of the city. We did not have much time to explore the city, but we walked a fair way along the main street. We spent a fair amount of time in the shops doing last minute shopping. The shops close at 6:00PM and we came back to the hotel and decided to have dinner ast the hotel. It was a bad decision, because both dishes we ordered were badly cooked. The only good part was the soup which was served as the entree.
We haver basically finished our trip and now it was packing to get ready to fly back. This hotel was a good place to do that. We took vall the bags to our room and packed them properly. The next morning after breakfast we drove to Vienna NH hotel at the airport. On our way we surprisingly found a good restaurant which served Italian-American food. Their freshly prepared potato wedges, Calamari rings and the salad was a big change from the bad food we had in the hotel. They also served good coffee. We came to our hotel which was just opposite the airport terminal and only walking distance from the rental car returning place. Everything went very smoothly. We put our bags in the hotel first and then returned the rental car. The car was with us for forty days and we have done over five thousand kilometres. I was always in the passenger seat while Mala did all the driving.
A few things which I like to add before finishing the blog.
We found a big difference in the way the Eastern Europe countries spend their Sunday. It is a true holiday for them. All the shops are closed and there are no people on the road except in tourist areas.
We found it difficult to find a good open restaurant in some cities.
Grocery shopping centres are small in size. Aldi is probably the leading grocery shopping centre. In Germany it is called Aldi, but in Austria it is called Hofer.
Drivers in most East European countries are normally well behaved, but they tend to be impatient. If you stop at a traffic light and get even one second late to start, they will blow the horn.
Most city areas have narrow and one way roads. Parking spaces are also smaller in comparison.
In Germany the Autobahn which is the freeway is toll free and has no upper speed limit. At some places Mala was driving at 150 KM per hour and still finding faster cars overtaking and whizzing past our car.
People we met in every European country went out of their way to help us. They are very friendly and polite. In one small town, we parked the car on the road side and entered a restaurant to have lunch. We knew the place we parked had some restriction, but we could not understand the writing on the post. Mala talked to a lady who came to park her car. The lady told her that we need to place a time tag on the dash board , to show the arrival time. Then you could keep the car free for one hour. We did not have a time tag. This lady had two and she gave one to Mala. She said not to worry about returning it. We did not see her after that. We left the area after lunch.
We are finishing the blog at this point. When I have time, I will add more details and photos which I missed.