Sunday, September 24, 2006

the hills are alive part I : salzburg, austria.


day 16 - 19 : salzburg and werfen, austria


on the train, crossing the italy-austria border from venice to salzburg. at the border, there was a change of treni crew - italian to austrian. so we went from "ciao!" to "grüss gott!" the train ride was particularly interesting and picturesque, as we travelled through the italian alps and later the austrian alps.


we settled in and explored lovely salzburg with nice, comfy weather. that's us at mozartplatz.


the obligatory touristy shot. 250 years of mozart!


the oldest bookstore in austria! we didn't go in though, can't remember why.


we explored the imperial mirabellgarten, or mirabell gardens, where some scenes of the sound of music were filmed. salzburg's preoccupation with the sound of music was quite evident, with the movie being screened regularly at hostels/ hotels, various "sound of music" package tours and so on. the gardens were nothing short of lovely and charming, though. :)




patting an adorably friendly female labrador! her owner was a member of the wind instruments band that played for us later that evening.








pretty shots of the gardens, two shots stolen from alvin here.


relaxing in the gardens.


hullo alvin! the meeting we had planned in singapore before he left finally took place! in gorgeous mirabellgarten, no less.


we watched a wind instruments band performance at dusk. the performers really seemed like they were having fun! afterwards, the evening was spent drinking hot chocolate at burger king and discussing our plans for the next day with alvin.


day 2 in salzburg started with a visit to hellbrunn palace. here are some teenage (aged 14 - 15) austrian students we met on the bus there. they were on a field trip, and decided to practise their english on us.


hellbrunn palace featured the favourite "trick fountains" i.e. fountains that start from places you would least expect, leaving you completely drenched. we were shy asians and strayed away from the main group to watch a group of austrian students being more sporting than ourselves. the chairs squirted water so your butts got really wet!


hellbrunn was quite beautiful, with it's quaint trick fountains.






we all ended up getting wet anyway. fun!


we also went to the salzburg zoo, which was in the same area as hellbrunn palace.








cute kiddy rides at the zoo!


we managed to seek out the sound of music pavillion, where liesl sang "sixteen going on seventeen."






alvin, coughs.


our next stop would be hohensalzburg, salzburg's fortress on a hilltop. the walk up was very tiring!






but we were subsequently rewarded with an excellent view of salzburg - romantic, musical city.




afterwards, we walked to st. peter's abbey... the graveyard here felt very tranquil and peaceful. would have walked around the tombstones but it was starting to feel drizzly. according to alvin, some scenes from the sound of music were filmed here too, but i'm not sure which.


afterwards, we wanted to visit the imperial apartments, but they were closed! so we visited the imperial apartments' art collection instead. this was a interesting painting by the austrian artist josef danhauser, and it is described as following.




strange art in salzburg. after this, we also visited the viva mozart! exhibition, which had very, very good exhibits. everything was made interactive, and thus fun and interesting. the exhibits included a mock ballroom where you could learn to dance, many of mozart's manuscripts and letters, a simulation of his life at home and so on. there was even a dark room with cushioned seats, where you could sit and listen to mozart's one and only quintet for wind and string instruments, a startlingly beautiful piece.

we had dinner, then said goodnight and goodbye to alvin, who would be making his way to venice thereafter.


very catty-looking tabby cat living near our bed & breakfast.




day 3, we went to the peak of untesberg, apparently one of the mountains in salzburg where you could get amazing views of the alps. today, it was raining, and the fog was so thick that we got no view whatsoever.






so we took photos of what we were supposed to see. haha.




that evening, we were going to watch a performance of mozart's piano sonatas. the rest of salzburg, however, was watching germany play argentina. germany won on penalties, i think.


we dressed up for the performance, which i quite enjoyed despite not knowing mozart's work well.


and here's the pink pig he bought me from swarovski. :)


day 4, we went to the small town of werfen, to visit the ice caves of eisriesenwelt.


from werfen, we had to take a bus to this drop-off point, and walk uphill the rest of the way. the climb was rather long, but there was a good view and fresh mountain air.


the entrance to the caves, finally! photo stolen from alvin, who had been there a few days ago.


it was freezing cold inside the caves. our guide lit the way by magnesium flare, while we carried old lamps. so old-school!








the ice formations were spectacular! we walked around in semi-darkness, guided by the oil lamps and the path cut through the ice. we saw ice structures that looked like elephants, giant "skating rinks" and "slides", all within the interior of the caves.


after about an hour inside the caves, we were outside enjoying the nice weather again.






me, the hobo at the train station.


with my boy. :)


austrian trains were much more modern than the italian ones. they were much cleaner, and always had air-con, which wasn't the case for all italian trains.


the road that led to our bed & breakfast here in salzburg.


tk with a rather strange (and disgusting) mac donalds ad.


as we waited for our bus to the train station, we saw this old man cycling next to his dog at the very same pace.

we left salzburg for wien, or vienna, the political and cultural capital of austria.