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3 Weeks in East-Central Europe: Part 5: Salzburg

Other parts of my trip report can be found at these links:
Part 1: Budapest: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/3-weeks-in-east-central-europe-part-1-budapest
Part 2: Vienna: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/3-weeks-in-east-central-europe-part-2-vienna
Part 3: Prague: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/3-weeks-in-east-central-europe-part-3-prague
Part 4: Castle Hluboka, Divci Kamen, and Cesky Krumlov: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/czech/3-weeks-in-east-central-europe-part-4-castle-hluboka-divci-kamen-and-cesky-krumlov

Our trip to Salzburg was longer than expected. We did not have the shuttle to ourselves, but were travelling with another couple who were catching a train in Linz. Traffic in Linz was horrendous. I don’t know if it’s always like that, or if there was an accident or something causing a problem, but it took a long time to get into the city and to the train station. After leaving Linz, we got onto the Autobahn (or the Austrian version of it), and I hated that. I am a terrible passenger at the best of times, and I don’t like speed, so my heart was in my throat the whole time, especially when we were passing big trucks at very high speeds. I actually had to close my eyes then. I was wishing we had taken the train, even though it would not have been direct.

Finally, and thankfully, we arrived at our hotel in Salzburg at about 2 in the afternoon. I had booked the Best Western Hotel Imlauer using Aeroplan points. I thought our booking included breakfast, but the staff at the front desk said that it did not. When I went to pull out my papers to double check, my heart sank. I discovered that I had left our itinerary, papers, and train tickets to Munich in their hiding place in the pension in Cesky Krumlov. I had duplicates of everything, other than the train tickets, on my iPad and in the Cloud, but there was nothing that said we had booked breakfast. Oh, well. The room was nice enough, and it was air conditioned, which was good, as it was a very hot day in Salzburg.

We tried calling the pension to see if they could find our papers. We thought, perhaps, it might be possible to have our train tickets faxed or something. They said they hadn’t found anything in our room, but they checked again and still found nothing. I could not remember (and still can’t remember) where I had hidden them, with all the sensory overload I’d experienced the day before, but clearly I hid them very well. We weren’t far from the train station, so we decided to walk over to see what could be done. We couldn’t reprint them, so we lined up at the customer service desk. The young woman there kept trying to reprint them but couldn’t. Finally, she got a supervisor, who told us that, even though we had our confirmation number, because the tickets had already been printed, there was nothing that could be done. We had to buy new tickets.

So, it was almost 4 pm by the time we started walking into old Salzburg. We walked through the Mirabel gardens, which were lovely, but very hot and crowded that afternoon. In one area, though, was a singing group, dressed in dirndls and lederhosen, practicing for the music festival. That was nice.

In the old part of town, we enjoyed poking around the winding little streets and looking at sculptures, fountains, and all the shop signs. We had heard this was an interesting feature of Salzburg—that many of the shop signs still had items on them demonstrating the nature of the shop from the days when most people could not read. For instance, an umbrella shop would have a small metal umbrella sculpture hanging from the sign.

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We tried to take an elevator that would take us up the hill to the castle area, but it was already closed for the evening. We decided to spend more time poking around the shops, but most of them were closed, too. We then decided to go for dinner. We were a little bit tired of East-Central European fare at that point, and were craving Chinese food. We found a place that advertised an all-day buffet (until 8 pm, if I recall correctly), so we went in. We were shown to a table. The restaurant was on the second floor of a building and had no air conditioning, and it was very hot and stuffy. The server gave us menus, and when we asked about the buffet, we were told there was no buffet. Ordering Chinese food for 2 people from the menu doesn’t allow for much variety, so we thanked the server and left. We ended up eating on an outdoor patio that served Italian food. The food was expensive, but good. After dinner, there didn’t seem to be much else to do but go back to our hotel for the evening, so we did. All in all, this was the most unsatisfying day of our trip—not awful, but not great, either. We probably should have given ourselves more time to properly explore Salzburg.

Our train to Munich the next day was not leaving until just after noon, so we walked back through the Mirabel gardens again before returning to check out of our hotel and walk to the train station.