Hailed by some as the most perfect Renaissance building in the Germanic countries, Salzburg's cathedral has a marble facade, twin symmetrical towers and the font in which Mozart was baptized.
Facts & Stats
- Best Known As
- Salzburg Cathedral
- Full Name
- Salzburg Cathedral
- Also Known As
- Salzburg DomSalzburger Dom
- 47.797892° N, 13.046672° E (map)
Salzburg and Regensburg
We are now north of the Alps, where the weather is cold and dreary, but it is still very nice to be back in German-speaking lands. Not to mention the lands of the Christmas markets!
We had a long train ride from Verona to Salzburg, about six hours total, but it didn't seem bad at all because we were on such nice trains and had good books to read. And we got to rest! In Verona, I was surprised and thrilled to find that our first train (to Innsbruck) was a German train, as its final destination was Munich.
The scenery was very pretty, though not as dramatic as we might have hoped - there wasn't a whole lot of snow and the tallest peaks weren't visible. But we did see snow for a little bit, as seen above.
We had a half an hour between trains at Innsbruck, which is good because we had to go down to the ticket office to get our Germany/Austria rail pass validated. (The first leg was on our Italy pass.) Innsbruck's train station was really nice, and included a bacon and sausage shop, which is important.
As we emerged from Salzburg's train station, which was under major renovations so involved a lot of walking on wooden planks, I was impressed to see that even the local area looked nice! (The neighborhood around the train station is almost always the ugliest.) We ended up sharing a taxi with a local woman, which was a new experience for me but worked out great - she got off first, and paid half of the fare thus far. She was very friendly and asked about our travels in precise but hesitant English.
Our hotel was right next to the cathedral in the heart of the city, so it was a pretty magical arrival after dark - the streets were all lit up with Christmas lights and the Christmas market was going on in the main square.
The Hotel am Dom ("Hotel at the Cathedral") was a beautiful and comfortable small hotel, in a building dating from around 1200 but with a stylish modern interior. They did a great job of leaving some of the nicest old features exposed, like the timber-beamed ceilings and stone stairs.
The owner of the hotel, Josef, was hilarious. He was outgoing in the extreme, asking tons of questions and teasing us constantly, despite his fairly limited English. A representative example: when he saw Sarah retrieve her lightly-toasted bread from the toaster the first morning, he exclaimed that it wasn't done! She explained she liked it just a little toasted, and he threw his hands up and said, "You so *crazy*!" And then to me, "Your friend, she so crazy!" It was all pretty fun, except when we were checking out and had to catch a train!
We had one full day in Salzburg, which was plenty of time to check most things off my photo list. We started with a ride on an exceptionally steep funicular to the castle above the town, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, mainly for the views of the city. Unfortunately the grey weather meant our photos aren't too thrilling, but they are better than no photos!
The castle itself was moderately interesting too, with lots of old buildings to explore, multiple levels for views, and a variety of artifacts on display from Roman times to the present. There's a Christmas market up there, too, although it wasn't open yet in the morning.
Then we descended and visited a bunch of churches, most of which were Baroque and all of which were pretty boring (to us anyway - neither of us are Baroque fans). The main highlight of Salzburg, both for photos and for fun, was the Christmas market. We spent some quality time there the night we arrived and the next night, and it was wonderful.
It has a beautiful setting, surrounded on all sides by the cathedral and palaces, and of course there was a tree and lots of pretty Christmas lights. The second night, I brought my tripod along and there was a choir singing beautifully from the cathedral steps while I worked. And then we had some hot drinks and delicious dessert. Good times!
The food on offer was interestingly unfamiliar! Having only been to German Christmas markets, I was expecting the usual potato pancakes and sausages, but those were absent and in their place were a bunch of things I'd never heard of! So it was fun to try some new things.
On the left is the Haunsberger, which is a seasoned pork burger with curry mustard. On the right is the Bauernkrapfen (an unsweetened "Bavarian donut") with sauerkraut. You could choose sweet toppings for the Bauernkrapfen as well, and I think that would have been better.
Sarah really dug the Haunsberger, but for me the main culinary highlight of the Christmas market was - big surprise - something sweeter! It's called Kaiserschmarrn ("Emperor's Mishmash") and it was so good. Apparently it's an Austrian specialty. It was like exceptionally delicious and moist pancakes, broken up and pan-fried into a loose sort of bread pudding with spices and what tasted like a splash of eierlikor (eggnog liqueur). Whoa. You could get it plain or with applesauce, plum sauce, or vanilla sauce. Between the two of us and over the course of two days, we tried all three!
There were some familiar things, too:
This was my dinner the second night, and it was delicious. The potato had sharp Swiss cheese sauce poured on it. (The romantic soft focus is due to my camera lens steaming up when I brought it in out of the cold!)
After extricating ourselves from Josef at the front desk, we picked up a taxi in the cathedral square and headed back to the station to catch a train for Germany. Hooray! This time we had only a three-hour ride, with a change in the smallish Austrian town of Wels. Again we had nice, comfortable, clean trains - they are much more consistently nice than in Italy!
Regensburg is in Bavaria, in southeast Germany. I visited in March 2008 with David, and we really enjoyed it. So, since I know it's a nice city, and there were a couple of more things I wanted to photograph, and it was on the way... here we are! We're here for two nights, leaving tomorrow.
We've had a nice time here. Sadly the Christmas market doesn't start until tomorrow, but otherwise it's a great place to be. The very best part is that I didn't have too much I needed to do here, so I've finally had enough time to get caught up on lots of computer work and even relax with a book for awhile! I really needed that, and Sarah didn't mind it all, either! Our hotel room is on the old side, but large and comfortable, with fluffy warm duvets to cozy up in.
Breakfast this morning was great - a small selection of items, but included really good tea and coffee and made-to-order scrambled eggs with bacon! And very friendly service by a tall Dutch woman who may be the owner.
The second-best part has been the sausages. Down by the river, next to an old medieval bridge, is the Historic Sausage Kitchen (Historische Wurstkuchl), where they are still serving up the same delicious little sausages with sauerkraut and mustard that they have for 900 years! The workers who built the medieval bridge ate here. Whoa. There is a very limited menu: choose 6, 8, 10, or 12 sausages, which come with sauerkraut, and there's bread and mustard on the table. The sausages are fantastic - so juicy and flavorful - and the atmosphere inside the tiny old restaurant is great. *And* the mustard is sweetened with honey and is some of the most delicious stuff I've ever had.
And finally, here's some highlights from my light work schedule while here:
And now I'm all caught up! Weee! Tomorrow we move on to Erfurt, for two nights.