Monday, August 16, 2010

Whatcha talkin' 'bout Weatherman?

Like many days before rain and cool temperatures were in the forecast for today.  I was quite concerned when I got up because the wind was whipping the trees and the rain was coming down.  After breakfast the clouds parted and we saw blue skies and sunshine.  Weatherman, you lie because by the end of the day it was clear blue skies and almost 80 degrees. 

We took advantage of the weather while it was presented to us and jumped in the car for Salzburg.  We needed to stock up on car provisions and pulled into the market.  That's when we remembered that today was Sunday and just about everything is closed.  The gas station is the place for snacks and provisions. 

The drive from Berchtesgaden to Salzburg was only about 20 minutes.  Salzburg is a compact city that is very walkable.  The signs hanging outside the shops are made of ornate iron.

We wanted to tour Schloss Mirabelle but it's closed on the weekends so we explored the Mirabelle gardens instead.  We saw Mozart's birthplace and some pretty swanky closed shops. 
Salzburg from the Mirabelle Gardens
Maria's fountain from the Sound of Music
Wouldn't the kids look sooo cute?!
The next spot on the list for today was Schloss Hellbrunn at the outskirts of Salzburg. 

This palace was originally meant to be a day palace for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg so no bedrooms were constructed.  The gardens of Hellbrunn are filled with trick fountains.  We got smart as to where they were along the paths and stayed out of the way.  Hellbrunn was an ingenious invention back in the day as no electricity was available to run the trick fountains.  They are supplied with "source water," water from its source, and water wheels help make the things move.  The funniest fountain was the marble table...

The chairs (except for the boy in green at the head of the table) and the perimeter of the chairs are rigged with a sprayer.  The Prince-Archbishop would give the signal and a servant would set off the sprayers.  The story goes that it was impolite for anyone to stand up while the Prince-Archbishop was still seated, so they had to sit and endure water being sprayed up their tushes.  The kids did a great job demonstrating it for the crowd.

Even the game is a fountain!

Our final excursion of the day was to Hallstatt. This lake is surrounded by the mountains and is one of the places that will reflect the mountains in the still water. There was a little bit of wind and boat traffic on the lake today so we could not see the perfect reflection but it was pretty darn good. The town was a bit busy and we really didn't want to pay for parking so a short drive to the other end of the lake paid off with free parking and and an empty beach.

Hallstatt was about two hours from Berchtesgaden, and we've trusted our Sat Nav up to this point.  Tonight was a bit questionable.  She told us to turn right then an immediate left, which was not out of the ordinary.  However, the immediate left looked to be a one lane road up a very steep hill.  The difference thus far is that we've taken mostly major highways and the AutoBahn  We figured, what the heck, go for it.  This little road gave us the greatest perspective of the German countryside without hotels and guesthouses - kids playing in the yards and guys in Lederhosen raking the grass.   

After dinner we got to Skype with the kids.  I think M was more excited than us.  She sat with us for about 15 minutes.  G was in and out, but we think he was happy to see us.  One more day in the Salzburg region before we start our journey home via London.

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