"" Writer's Wanderings: 18 Days Through Europe in an Audi

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

18 Days Through Europe in an Audi

[Summer, 2004]

Dick's mind was on dessert as we walked from the Best Western Zum Hirschen in Salzburg to the Glockenspiel Restaurant located in the Mozart Plaza near the Glockenspiel of course. When they had last visited Salzburg, Dick ordered a special soufflé there and it was "calling to him". We were a little late to hear the carillon. It plays at 7 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. but just before dessert arrived, we were serenaded by a violin and piano just below the balcony where we sat overlooking the Mozart Plaza. We lingered over coffee and the light fluffy concoction that Dick was so fond of.

After dinner we strolled through the narrow streets of the Altstadt (old city). There are hundreds of shops and museums and cafes, the majority honoring Mozart in some way. On our last trip, we had explored his birthplace, a small apartment, and walked past the home where he grew up. A little more exciting however, was the dinner and concert we attended in the St. Peter Stiftkeller. The Mozart dinner concert featured musicians and singers dressed in costume and a dinner served in elaborate surroundings above the Stiftkeller, Europe's oldest restaurant.

We rose the following morning to gray skies and the threat of rain not a good omen for our trip to Berchtesgarden and the Eagles Nest. Bob's Tours picked us up at 9 a.m. at our hotel. We had booked a tour because we weren't sure how difficult it might be to find the place and/or what the road to the top was like. (It turned out we could have driven ourselves and did the next day.)

When we arrived, our very blonde, tall tour guide from Holland navigated us through all the crowds and onto the buses that leave from a central area half way up the mountain from Berchtesgarden. The bus route to the elevator is thrilling as you look thousands of feet below you.

At the top we were ushered to the elevator that goes up to the Eagles Nest, built as a retreat for Hitler by one of his henchmen, Bormann, for his 50th birthday. Unfortunately, Hitler was afraid of heights and didn't use it often. Luckily, the clouds cleared a bit and we could see the spectacular view. We were so high up that there were piles of snow in some places.

The whole side of the mountain at one time was a complex for the Nazis. Most of it was destroyed because the Germans did not want it to resemble a memorial to the Hitler regime. Only Eagles Nest survives and, down where the buses load, they have excavated an area of the bunkers to show what it was like. There is also an exhibit with a wealth of history about the persecution of the Jews and the war with information that particularly concerns the town of Berchtesgarden.

On our way back to Salzburg, we stopped in Berchtesgarden for a short stroll. It was beginning to rain so we didn't linger. But we were attracted to a cathedral where someone was playing the large pipe organ. The sounds resonated within the walls. Pure and unamplified, the music was thrilling to hear. Our guide obligingly left us at the entrance to the old city of Strasburg and we found a little restaurant for lunch.

With the rain discouraging any outdoor activity, we opted to make it a laundry day and found a coin-op place not far from our hotel. Even doing laundry in a foreign country can be entertaining. The variety of people to watch kept our attention as the clothes tumbled dry.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...