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My First Trip to Europe – Day 3: A Day in Salzburg, Austria

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My First Trip to Europe – Day 3:  A Day in Salzburg, Austria

Having spent a couple of nice days in Munich, John and I were anxious to add to our “country count” and head to Austria.  This would also give us an opportunity to drive John’s car on the famous Autobahn, and drive the car the way it was designed to be driven.  So, we got up early on Sunday morning, plugged in our destination on the BMW Navigation System, and we were off!


We were quite surprised by the weather – we had been expecting rain this day but the sky was quite sunny.  One of the first things we noticed was that contrary to popular believe here in the US, the Autobahn does indeed have speed limits in certain areas – here you can see as we’re leaving the general area of Munich, the speed limit is 120 KPH, or about 75 MPH.


It didn’t take long for us to get outside city limits and we say signs indicating there were no speed limits.  John drove for about half an hour, then we stopped at a very scenic rest area, and he turned the wheel over to me.


Ahhh…now I was behind the wheel of this 335i twin turbo with sport suspension, on the road it was designed to easily traverse.  Driving on the Autobahn has long been a dream of mine, and I was anxious to see what this car could do!  I was in no way disappointed – between the quality of the German road ways (no pot holes to be found) and the capabilities of the car, I never dropped below 100mph on the trip, and got up to about 140 at one point.  John pried his white knuckles off the dash long enough to take this photo of the speedometer on one of the better open pieces of road we experienced:


I was in heaven!  This is what driving was mean to be like!  At the point I took over, we were about 95 km from Salzburg.


However, at the pace we were keeping, the trip went by pretty quickly, even stopping a couple of times.  Soon we were nearing Salzburg:


Much to our surprise, the weather continued to be sunny and it was getting pleasantly warm.  The closer we got to Salzburg and the Alps, the more scenic the view became:


All too soon it seemed we were exiting the Autobahn and pulled into Salzburg. We were expecting a border crossing once we left Germany and came into Austria, where we looked forward to another passport stamp, but we later found out that just a few years ago, most of the border crossings in this region of Europe had been removed.  We never even knew the exact point we left German – the US signs which mark the entrance to a different state are far more prominent.  It didn’t take long to find our hotel in Salzburg:


I had heard stories of the hotels being very cramped in Europe, but the Renaissance hotels we stayed in were quite similar to the quality of US hotels I’ve stayed in.




We unpacked, and rested a bit before venturing out to explore Salzburg.  Not having Hannes and Percy here with us as a tour guide, we went to the front desk and got a nice map to take a walking tour of the city.

We started out walking along the river which runs through the city of Salzburg – on our map, the name of the river appeared to be “Salzach.”  It reminded me a bit of the Miami river which runs through downtown Dayton, OH where I’m from:





Following the route shown to us by the friendly hotel clerk, we continued walking along the river and saw many beautiful buildings and sites.



We then spotted the historic sight which the hotel clerk’s route was guiding us to:


We crossed one of the bridges and headed into what appeared to be the downtown area, and what appeared to be a beautiful old palace:


“Oh look – the palace had a garden!”



We found anouther lovely church in the center of town – St. Andrews. I saw some signs which said something about the movie “The Sound of Music” so the church may have been in the movie, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it.




After visiting the church, we continued heading in general direction of the castle we could see which overlooks Salzburg.


We stopped in this little cafe and I bought some souvenier candy for my wife Karen.


The weather couldn’t have been nicer for walking around this beautiful city. Here you can see what appears to be cherry blossoms in bloom:


We decided to take a break from the walking tour and grabbed some lunch. Turkey over rice was the special of the day – it was delicious!


Refreshed after our lunch, we continued on our way. As we got closer to the castle, we entered a shopping district.


Obviously the shops here draw a very well to do clientele:


We passed some very nice outdoor cafe style restaurants:

salzburg-19Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart, and he had two houses here. If we read the signs correctly, he was born in this one:



They say they do it big in Texas, but I guess who ever said that never played chess in Salzburg:

salzburg-32A popular activity for tourists was to see the town via horse drawn carriage – they had some beautiful horses:



We soon came upon what was the most grand and magnificent, church we would see on our trip – the “Dom zu Salzgurg”:




The interior of the church was every bit as beautiful as the exterior – exquisite hand painted ceilings and luxurious marble could be seen throughout:






Outside the church, on the way to the castle, we visited a beautiful grave site and what appeared to be an ancient monastery:



Finally, we were ready to tour the castle.


We took a train car up the side of the mountain to the top of the castle:


When we emerged from the train car and peered over the edge of the fortress walls we were speechless from the breathtaking beauty – from this vantage point, you could see all of Salzburg:








We also had a nice view of the Alps:


The castle structure itself was amazing:





We took in a great deal during our day in Salzburg – in part 4 of the trip John and I have dinner in Salzburg, and then head back to Munich the following morning.

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. Dave Milthaler says:

    Memories of when I was in Austria in 1987. All my pictures are on slides…maybe I can look into converting them into a digital format and sharing with you!


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