Lots of walking, one bus ride, one flight, three train rides, and nine and a half hours of traveling (!) later, we arrived in Salzburg, Austria. Whew. After a long day of travel, we stepped into a comfortable Airbnb (below); it was so dark we couldn't even see the snow-capped mountains until we woke up in the morning. When people think of Austria, Mozart and the Sound of Music probably come to mind immediately. While Mozart was well on display in every gift shop in the city, the Sound of Music was surprisingly under-advertised, which was kind of nice. Our Airbnb host mentioned that the original Von Trapp house was a fifteen minute walk away, so we stopped by it before leaving town (photo below). In a quiet and unassuming neighborhood, it has been turned into a hotel. I got as close as I could to take a picture without being shooed away by management.
We enjoyed two quick days here. I only wish we could have stayed a little bit longer and enjoyed the mountain view on our back deck!
A few of my favorite things about Austria:
1. Where we stayed. This was one of the best Airbnbs that we've stayed in, and the host gave the best recommendation for a local place for breakfast. Which brings me to my second point:
2. Good, hearty food. Ben's Cafe in the morning reminded me why breakfast is such a good meal. (See photo below.) Stieglkeller's in the historic district served up some wonderful dumplings and sauerkraut, kaiserschmarrn (fried pancake with stewed plums = YUM), and fresh radlers (hello light beer with lemon soda!). Zwettler's Stiftskeller near the river (on the old side of town) was cozy and full of Austrian charm; sharing tables with strangers in a packed restaurant is charming, even though smoking is still legal indoors (unlike in Spain, thank goodness) and you are second-hand smoking during the entirety of your meal. Cafe Mozart is touristy, yes, but has good strudel, great service, and a delicious caffe latte to enjoy while writing your postcards and resting your weary feet.
3. Even going to the public bathroom is a pleasure. You know why? Because Austria is CLEAN. I've never seen anything like it (except Germany).
4. People smile. Even though Salzburg is an incredibly touristy city, I was amazed at how friendly everyone was. And how much Austrians smile. Because it is so touristy, waitstaff and people in the city were very accommodating of our very limited German (well, mine is non-existent) and happily spoke English with us.
5. We were mistaken for Germans/Austrians multiple times. You know, until we opened our mouths. It was refreshing to be somewhere where we aren't immediately pegged as gringos. :)