A Travellerspoint blog

Austria

The home of Schwarzenegger, schnitzel and schnapps...

After a short drive from Bratislava, we arrived in the Austrian capital. All our tearing around eastern Europe over the past two weeks had left us completely buggered so we just found a camp ground and stayed in for the rest of the afternoon. It was a good opportunity to relax, catch up on the blog, and make contact with the respective parental units...

The next day we caught a bus to the suburban train and headed into the city centre via the massive Schloss Schonbrunn (Schonbrunn Palace).

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Our first destination in the centre of Vienna was the Sacher Cafe, home of the famous Sacher Torte... The cake was good (we've had better) but the cafe was pure opulence! Not hard to see where our 15 euros went with the gold trim, velvet upholstery, and sharply dressed waiters ; but we felt a bit out of place dressed as we were in jeans and trekking shoes.

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If you look closely, you can see Phil Specter's brother hiding behind the cake stand...

The inner city was very impressive and is one of the best combinations of modern architecture and classical design we've seen thus far...

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... Having said that, this fountain was awful!

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The street performers take a smoko break

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The Imperial palaces

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As far as we can tell this statue recounts the story of a naked man who punched out a horse...

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The Austrian Parliament building - an architectural nod to the founders of democracy

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As we wandered around the streets we accidentally happened upon the last day of the Vienna Film Festival in the plaza outside the town hall... The outdoor cinema was set up and the plaza was full of street food vendors so we settled in for a classic Bavarian lunch of schnitzel, sausages, potatoes and beer...

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The impressive Rathaus (Town Hall)

The next day was a complete write off due to torrential rain on the way to Salzburg, so we found a campsite and tried our best to stay dry. Finding the sun shining the next morning, we decided to head back into Germany to check out the Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) near Berchtesgaden before the forecasted clouds closed in.

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We almost baulked at the ticket price of 17.50 euros per person, but we are glad we didn't because the views from the top were quite spectacular:

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Canon should be paying us for shameless product placement like this...

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The house itself is now a restaurant (bad taste?) and there is very little Nazi related information around (which is probably in good taste)... This may be because the place was spared from demolition at the end of WWII due to the local mayor (or MP, or something...) pleading that it is actually an amazing feat of engineering (the road, the building, and the interior was all completed within 13 months!) and should be preserved.

Probably the most incredible thing about the chalet is the 120m elevator shaft cut into the granite – the original brass elevator is still in service.

Thankfully the clouds did not roll in until we were ready to head back down the mountain.

That afternoon we caught a bus into the centre of Salzburg and had a walk around, Eve trying to drag Rob past as many Sound of Music sights as possible...

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The amazing Salzburg Castle (view from our campsite)

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Sound of Music fan(s?) will recognise the Schloss Mirabell and its impressive manicured gardens

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Initially our plan was to spend two days in Vienna, two days in Salzburg, and drive to Innsbruck for two days after a detour to the Hohe Tauern National Park in the south of Austria... Unfortunately, when we got to the Hohe Tauern they had set up a toll gate and were demanding 30 euros just to drive the road! Needless to say we turned around and drove directly to Innsbruck...

When we got to Innsbruck we found the situation was no better... There were no reasonably priced campsites, and no free camping spots anywhere near the town so we just kept going. Eventually we wound up at Lermoos near the border with Germany and the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze.

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The view from our campsite in Lermoos

We would have liked to climb the Zugspitze but found that it was a 16 hour hike (or a very expensive cable-car back down) so we gave it a miss because we were due in Munich to meet Eve's Dad on the ninth...

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En route to Munich...

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Posted by RobandEve 13:51 Archived in Austria

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