Salzburg not in the Rain

By Ross in Travel on Fri 01 August 2014. Tags: Austria

Today was a beautiful, sunny day. I decided to take a day trip to the picturesque Konigsee Lake, in nearby Bavaria. 

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The trip to Konigsee passes through the town of Berchtesgaden. On the way back, I stopped to take a tour of the Berchtesgaden salt mines.

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You put on a miner's suit and board a narrow gauge train which takes you deep into the mountain. Wooden miners' slides take you deeper into the mine. The tour guide only spoke German, but luckily there was an English audio guide which gave information about all the stops. About halfway through the 60-minute tour we crossed an underground lake whose waters were so still that it perfectly mirrored the mine ceiling. The tour felt a little rushed, and I could have done without the light and laser shows at a few of the stops, but it overall it was pretty cool (figuratively and literally). Unfortunately pictures were not allowed.

In the afternoon, I visited the fortress. (I got free entry thanks to one of the workers at the hostel.) There is a funicular which goes up the hill, but I decided to walk.

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I got great views of the city and the surrounding countryside (this time with no mist!)

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On the way back down, I took these photos of the spires of the city.

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Finally, here is the castle above the city on a clear day.

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Salzburg in the Rain

By Ross in Travel on Thu 31 July 2014. Tags: Austria

There was a huge thunderstorm in Vienna last night, and it poured rain most of the night. This morning, I woke up early and took a train to Salzburg. (I saved a ton by taking Westbahn, a private alternative to the Austrian national railway.) It was raining when I got to Salzburg, but luckily the hostel (Yoho) is close to the train station. After checking in, I waited for an hour or so, hoping that the rain would stop, but when it became clear this was not going to happen, I put on my rain jacket and headed out.

Much of Salzburg tourism is centered around two people: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was born here, and Maria von Trapp, who lived here with her family until fleeing to the United States in the wake of the Nazi occupation. The Sound of Music was filmed here, and you can take tours to see the sites from the movie. The hostel shows the movie every night at 1900.

Salzburg straddles the Salzach river, whose waters were high and flowing rapidly after the rains from last night.

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Hohensalzburg Castle sits high above the city:

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This is the Residenz fountain in Residenzplatz.

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Salzburg Cathedral is a seventeenth century baroque church. Here is the church, viewed from above during the rain.

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Here is the church interior.

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Here are some closeups of the apse and dome of the cathedral.

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There are four small organs positioned around the dome of the cathedral.

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Here is the Franciscan church, also viewed from above during the rain.

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Here is the interior of the church.

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I really like this closeup of the ribbed ceiling of the church.

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This chess set is near the cathedral.

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I like this picture of one of the bridges over the river.

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The Mirabelli Gardens are across the river from the old city.

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After dinner, I decided to climb up past the fortress to get some views of the city. Naturally, it started raining even harder. Nevertheless, I got some great photos of the city.

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Here are some closeups of Salzburg Fortress in the mist.

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Finally, I hiked up to the Augustiner Brewery for a well-deserved beer.

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Zentralfriedhof

By Ross in Travel on Wed 30 July 2014. Tags: Austria

The Zentralfriedhof is the largest cemetery in Vienna and one of the largest in the world.

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It contains the graves of many famous classical composers, including:

Ludwig van Beethoven

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Franz Schubert

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Johannes Brahms

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Johann Strauss

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Hugo Wolf

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Christoph Gluck

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Arnold Schoenberg

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There is a memorial to Mozart, but he is actually buried in St. Marx cemetery in Vienna.

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Vienna

By Ross in Travel on Tue 29 July 2014. Tags: Austria

From Hamburg, I took a plane to Vienna. The original plan did not call for any more flights, but since I was working around other people's schedules, it made sense to take a shortcut, plus I got a reasonable deal on Germanwings (the budget version of Lufthansa). I stayed in Vienna with my first-cousins-once-removed Jill and Bob, whom I had not seen in at least fifteen years. They live in a nice apartment near the Schoenbrunn Palace, and it was great catching up with them. I also enjoyed home-cooked dinners and had a room to myself, so who could ask for anything more?

I spent much of my time in Vienna visiting palaces and museums (photos were either prohibited, or the items were under glass):

  • Schoenbrunn Palace - This started out as a hunting lodge in the seventeenth century, and was eventuall enlarged into a grandose palace. A guided audio tour takes you through about forty rooms, focusing on Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph I. One of the rooms was where the young Mozart made his debut at age six.
  • Kaiserliche Schatzkammer (imperial treasury) - This splendid museum contains secular and ecclesiastical treasures from the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Empire. Highlights include the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Emperor and the crown of the Austrian emperor Rudolf II. The museum contains portraits of various emperors wearing the two crowns.
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum (fine art museum) - The collection was assembled by the Hapsburgs. Highlights include the largest collection of paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder in the world; several self-portaits by Rembrandt; and The Art of Painting by Vermeer.

The Karlskirche is the largest baroque church in Vienna.

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The columns were modeled after Trajan's Column in Rome.

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A Henry Moore sculpture sits in front of the church.

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St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) lies in the center of the ring road and is the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna

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Here is a closeup of some of the roof tiles of the cathedral.

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This is the Prunksaal (state hall) of the old imperial library in the Hofberg palace. Note some of the bookshelves are empty.

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Here are some closeups of the library shelves.

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This is pair of globes, one cellestial and one terrestrial, by the cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli.

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This is the Neue Berg wing of the Hofburg palace.

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The main entrance to the Hofburg palace reminds me of the Brandenburg Gate.

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Here is the opera house:

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This is the exterior of the Schoenbrunn Palace.

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After visiting the palace, I spent some time walking around the gardens.

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Unfortunately, the greenhouse was closed for renovation.

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The gardeners use this platform to trip the tops of trees.

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Here is a statue of Gutenberg.

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The Judenplatz (Jewish Square) contains the Holocaust Memorial as well as a statue of the philosopher and art critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.

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Finally, I really like this sculpture I found on one of the buildings while wandering the streets of Vienna.

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Hamburg Harbor Tour

By Ross in Travel on Sun 27 July 2014. Tags: Germany

Sunday afternoon we took a boat tour of the harbor. (A two hour tour...)

Here is the Rickmer Rickmers again, this time seen from the water.

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This is one of the largest dry docks in the world, and is capable of holding the largest class of cruise ships such as the Queen Mary.

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This is one of the large floating dry docks in the harbor.

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Here are some tugs.

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And a Russian submarine.

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This is the lightship Elbe 3, a mobile lighthouse.

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Tugs pull and guide a large container ship.

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Here is another large container ship. I like the closeup photo of the stern showing containers stacked six high.

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Huge empty spools on another large cargo ship.

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Large cranes load and unload container ships.

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This building is shaped like a parallelogram.

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Here is another picture of the uncompleted Philharmonic building.

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Finally, the penthouse of this building is (reputedly) the most expensive apartment in Hamburg.

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