Austria and Germany: Salzburg, Berchtesgaden and Mondsee

The next day after our excursion to the ice cave and the castle, we were still quite tired. Our guides added another optional excursion for the morning. This excursion was to see the eagle’s nest. My brother and I were still very tired from the day before and decided to sleep in. Plus, we did not think we could handle any more horrible Nazi stuff after Dachau. My parents on the other hand went on this excursion. They said that the views were wonderful and that the eagles nest is now a coffee shop.

The itinerary for today was our Sound of Music part of our trip, which would also take place in Austria. I used to really love the sound of music but I personally did not really care about seeing the filming locations. Luckily, we saw most of the filming sites by bus, only stopping to get out and take some pictures.

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When we had seen most of the film locations we headed to Hellbrunn Palace. This Palace is a palace of trick fountains. I thought the grounds were very beautiful and interesting to look at but I was not a fan of the trick fountains. You never knew when you were going to get splashed with water. Our group (Adventures by Disney, ABD) had a privately guided tour of this palace. The tour started off with us learning some history. Our guide invited the kids of the group to sit around a stone table. I was told by our guide from Munich not to sit on those chairs. All the adults were looking around to see if water was going to hit them, by judging how wet certain places looked. When suddenly, a loud shriek came from the kids as water was protruding from their seats and table. After this the kids were soaked but the fun did not stop there. Each different area could get you. In the end, I came out with the bottom of my pants a bit wet but that was it. Next time if I were to go again I would stick tightly to the guide because she did not have a single drop of water on her.

Our local guide said goodbye at the Palace Gardens. From there we were going to head to our lunch spot at the palace, when we came across a gazebo that looked familiar. It was the gazebo from the sound of music, 16 going on 17. The gazebo is usually locked because someone broke their leg jumping from one bench to another trying to reenact the song. However, going with ABD does have its advantages. Our ABD guides had the key to the gazebo and we were allowed in to take some pictures. There was a family having a privately guided tour and their tour guides mouth fell open when she saw that our group could enter. Once our group was done taking photos we headed to lunch in the palace.

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After lunch, we got to walk through the Mirabell Gardens and take a silly picture wearing sound of music themed bandanas. From there we walked into the city of Salzburg. Our ABD guides took us to a little café and provided the strawberry lemonade drink from the sound of music. We had the afternoon (more like 2 hours) to explore Salzburg ourselves. My family and I sat at that little café for about an hour and fifteen minutes. We talked with our ABD guides Giselle and Andy for a while and then amongst ourselves. We decided that we should probably take a walk around. Personally, I did not find Salzburg to be that interesting. Mostly just shopping and I do not like to shop that much. Also, I had no more room in my suitcase so shopping was out for me anyway. Once, we were done walking around we went to the meeting place for our group and headed to dinner. We ate at St. Peter Stiffskeller, which first opened its doors in 803 A.D. During our dinner, we had a private performance by a pair of violinists playing Mozart Classics.

After dinner, we headed back to Berchtesgaden. I had somewhat recovered from the hike and went to have drinks with my brother and the newlywed couple. We went to the Edelweiss’ roof top restaurant and sat outside with the amazing view of the alps. I did not want to say goodbye to this place but tomorrow we would be heading to Vienna, with some stops on the way.

The next day was the day that we actually got to spend some time in Berchtesgaden. Our activities included learning about the history of salt in the Berchtesgaden salt mine and then from there pretzel making. The salt mine was a five-minute drive from our hotel. When we got there, we were given suits so our clothes wouldn’t get ruined. To get to the salt mine, we had to take a little train. It made me feel like I was on the minors’ coaster at Disney World. The train ride ended and it was time to start our tour. To get even deeper into the salt mine you had to go down a slide. It was so much fun and there were two of them! From there we watched a video about how the salt mine works. During this video, I found out that there are only two tubes that let oxygen into this large space, I had a freak out moment but kept it together because I wanted to ride on the next slide. After the second slide, we took a boat across a little a salt lake in the mine. Now I felt like I was in the 6th Harry Potter book and I needed to find a Horcrux. Once we were off the boat there was a little tub of water that you could taste. I knew it was going to be salty but man it was extreme and I only put the tip of my finger in. That was the end of the tour and we took the train out of the cave where I could breathe normally again.

From the salt mine we headed to our next destination, to make pretzels. We were each given dough and shown how to make pretzels. This tradition dates back to the 5th Century in Germany. We got a tour of the factory as the pretzel were being cooked. Once the pretzels were done we each grabbed some and headed back to the bus to head to Vienna. However, we had one more stop along the way.

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For lunch, we stopped in Mondsee, Austria. Our first destination was the Church where the Von Trapp’s got married in the sound of music. I only saw the outside of the church because there was a funeral going on and I felt it best to let the family be. However, some of our group members went in any way. While they were looking in the church my family and I walked around the tiny town. The buildings were each a different bright color. When everyone from the group was back together we went to lunch on Lake Mondsee. The lake was vast and beautiful. And it is for sale for 16 million euros if you are interested. The food was really good and the view even better! We wished we had time to take a boat tour around the lake but we had to get to our next stop, Vienna.

Katie

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