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The Top 10 of the Top 5 Expat Bloggers – Week 3: KC Blau’s Favorite Austrian Things

“…Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels, Doorbells and sleigh bells and Schnitzel with noodles, …” – Sound of Music, My Favorite Things

Print This Post  “The Five Best Expat Blogs in Austria” bloggers’ favorite things feature continues. During the first week feature, we focused on expat blogger, Kristina Cosumano from the blog, The Practice Room. The  second week, we featured of the blog of expat Emily, author and blogger of, A Mommy Abroad

This week it’s me.  Expat Blogger, KC’s Top 10 Favorite Austrian Things

1)      Food
hammered, breaded with a slice of lemon on the side and served with parsley potatoes (Petersilerdäpfel), a mixed salad gemischtes Salat) and a Seidel of Ottakringer. Then a Marillenpalatschinken (apricot crepes) with a Melange for desert.

2) Drink
Grüner Veltliner
at the Heuriger Weinhof Zimmermann on a summer evening with a bunch of beloved friends.

3) Film or TV Show
“Liebesg’schichten und Heiratssachen”
(Love and Marriage) Cause I’m a sucker for affairs of the heart and can’t resist rooting for the lonely tuba player from Burgenland who has never had a girlfriend but has an amazing collection of hoola dancing dolls and is looking for love on Austrian national television.

The show is produced by the very talented Austrian documentary maker – Elisabeth Spira (who also did the great “Alltagsgeschichten”) and the production crew is extremely talented at capturing people in their native environments, and finding just the right theme song for the lone wolf as he struts his stuff, nordic walking in the local park or playing catch with his guinea pig. Don’t miss this show – it’s a definite must-see. In fact, the US should consider a spin-off with all the US Eleanor Rigbys out there looking for love.

4) Book
“Das weite Land”
Das weite Land: Tragikomödie in fünf Akten (German Edition)

Master of the Deep POV, Arthur Schnitzler :
Es gibt Herzen, in denen nichts verjährt.” (There are hearts immune from time’s lapses)

Bottle of Grüner Veltliner from Bründlmayer

Bottle of Grüner Veltliner from Bründlmayer

Sie fragen mich? Sollt es ihnen noch nicht aufgefallen sein, was für komplizierte Subjekte wir Menschen im Grunde sind. So vieles hat zugleich Raum in uns-! Liebe und Trug …Treue und Treulosigkeit… Anbetung für die eine und Verlangen nach einer anderen oder nach mehreren. Wir versuchen wohl Ordnung in uns zu schaffen, so gut es geht, aber diese Ordnung ist doch nur etwas Künstliches…Das Natürliche…ist das Chaos. Die Seele…ist ein weites Land..”
(You ask me? Have you not noticed, how complicated we humans at heart are. So much has room in us all at once! Love and deception… Loyalty and disloyalty … Worship for one and longing for another or more. We try to create order, insofar as possible, but this order is only generic… The Natural … is chaos. The soul … is a vast land...)

5) Month
(with December as a very close second)
I love the month when the city reawakens from its grey winter slumber and every cobblestone, street artist, daffodil and magpie comes to life.

Tel Aviv Beach, Donaukanal, 2nd District, Beach Bar, Vienna

Tel Aviv Beach, Donaukanal, 2nd District, Beach Bar, Vienna – May in Vienna

6) Place
On the terrace in summer at exactly 7 pm when the bells of surrounding churches begin to chime and the sun slowly descends

7) Historical Figure
Karl Kraus
sassy and klug, with his clever observations and controversial viewpoints, he certainly knew how to stir things up in the city steadfastly resistant to change .

“War: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that he too is suffering;
in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost.”
“Everything that’s created remains as it was before it was created. The artist fetches it down from the heavens as a finished thing.”

“Language is the mother of thought, not its handmaiden.”
“Education is what most receive, many pass on, and few possess.”
“In Berlin, things are serious but not hopeless. In Vienna, they are hopeless but not serious.”

Krampus misunderstanding - he thinks KC's been naughty

Krampus misunderstanding – he thinks KC’s been naughty

8) Tradition / Past time
Oh the thrill that someone or something knows that impish side of you and if you don’t behave, will snatch you up and carry you off so you best be careful. Stay away from creatures with Ruten and baskets on or around December 5.  And be good.

9) Song
Classical: Mozarts Clarinet concerto in A major, K. 622 (25 Mozart Favorites) was written in 1791, shortly before Mozart’s death  – maybe I like it so much because for many years I tried my hand at playing clarinet and still have a soft spot for my old instrument despite my own obvious lack of talent.


mozart or “Wolfi” as the Austrians like to call him

“Shakin My Brain” – Attwenger (see video below) – how can this song not make you laugh?
These guys ingeniously combine drums and an accordion with Upper Austrian dialect to come up with songs with the most inappropriate texts that capture the feeling of life in an Austrian small town. Artsy folky Volksmusik. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously and — I think — are musical geniuses.

10) Word

Oachkatzlschwoaf [‘ɔaxkatzlʃwɔaf] Eichkätzchenschweif – Small oak cat’s tail which is a small squirrel’s tail) – a so-called “Schibboleth” or language test that Austrians love to give to non-Austrians – Germans especially  – if you hang out in Austria long enough, you will eventually be challenged to Oachkatzlschwoaf. You will fail miserably and the Austrians will find this rather hilarious. Be good-humored, laugh along with them, then have a sip of Ottakringer while they recover from their laugh-induced hiccups and challenge them to a “squirrel’s tail” or “Valentine’s day” or “how much wood, would a wood-chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood.” Who needs to ice-bucket when you can Oachkatzlschwoaf? Below is a little something to help you practice a bit and up your game.


Fascinating Dissertation by David Kleinberg with more info about Austrian dialect

Shibboleth: According to Judges 12:5-6, the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim and only the survivors from Ephraim who could properly pronounce “Shibboleth” were spared death. 42,000 didn’t manage. So any word a group uses to distinguish members of that group through the ability to pronounce the word properly (Pittsburghers would fit this as well) is referred to as a “Shibboleth”

ORF – Liebesg’schichten und Heirratssachen (Act now! They are looking for singles as candidates for their 2016 show. Go for it! Show your princess-in-hiding your superior tuba skills)

BBC special about Mozart and the clarinet with music:


Ultimate Vienna Wedding Locations for Oldtimers, Beer Lovers, Caffeine Addicts and just about Everyone Else

Vienna might not have drive-thru chapels with Elvis best men but it will soon have a soccer stadium complete with a chapel where soccer fans can tie the knot. Rapid not your team and turf green not your color? No worries. Vienna has a wedding avenue to satisfy even the most demanding Bridezillas and Groomrillas.

Check out the list below and see where you should go for your happily ever after.

NOTE: The Vienna City government publishes a list of okayed wedding locations and contact info on their website – check it for the most up-to-date info. Print This Post

Austrian Art Enthusiasts

Leopold Museum Museumsplatz 1 Miriam Wirges +43 1 525 70-1508

Beer Connoisseurs

Ottakringer Beer Delivery Truck

Ottakringer Beer Delivery Truck

Ottakring Brewery: Ottakringer Brauerei Ottakringer Platz 1 Magdalena Schuster +43 1 49 100-2412 magdalena.schuster@ottakringer.a

Book Lovers

Austrian National Library: Nationalbibliothek Josefsplatz 1 Mag Monika Prischl +43 1 534 10 262

Burgermeister Fans

Vienna City Hall – Rathaus Lichtenfelsgasse 2, Feststiege II, 1.Stock Kerstin Bürbaum +43 1 4000 34707

Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly House: Schmetterlingshaus im Burggarten, Burggarten im Palmenhaus/Schmetterlinghaus Mia Parmas und Sabine Wolfsbauer +43 1 533 85 70 info@schmetterlinghaus.a

Coffee Addicts and True Love

Coffee Addicts and True Love

Caffeine Addicts

Or Strudelists: Cafe “Landtmann” Universitätsring 4 Susanne Grasberger oder Christina Sammer +43 1 24 100-116 oder -115

Flower Power

Hirschstetten Flower Gardens: Blumengärten Hirschstetten Quadenstraße 15 Karin Wachet +43 676 8118 50 753

Green Thumbs

Green House of Schönbrunn Castle: Orangerie im Schloss Schönbrunn Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47 Barbara Strobl +43 1 812 50 04-181

Horse Lovers

Imperial Riding School Vienna Ungargasse 60 Julia Ninaus +43 1 711 75-8238

Spanish Riding School (Lippizaner) Spanische Hofreitschule, Michaelerplatz 1, Sandra Kirnberger, +43 1 533 90 32 19,


Prater Lusthaus

Prater Lusthaus


Belvedere Castle (home of Gustav Klimt’s der Kuss) Schloss Belvedere Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27 Gerald Gross +43 1 79 557-221

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple

Klimt Villa, Feldmühlgasse 11, Mag. Baris Alakus, +43 1 236 3667,

Monet Motifs

Lusthaus Freudenau 254 Selma Kaltenbaek oder Dr. Helmut Rastl +43 1 728 95 65

Military Fans

Military History Museum: Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Arsenal Objekt 1 Marion Unlaub +43 1 79 561 1060 230, +43 664 8876 3860

Oldtimer Tram - Bim

Oldtimer Tram – Bim


Oldtimer-Straßenbahn Otto-Wagner-Pavillon beim Karlsplatz Elisabeth Portele +43 1 786 03 03


And they lived happily ever after… Emperor Franz Josef and Sissi’s old summer castle: Schloss Schönbrunn Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47 Miriam Gruber (“the wedding planner”) +43 664 218 88 74

Schöne Blaue Donau

Don’t rock the boat…· Maga (FH) Doris Menzinger +43 1 588 80 – 442 E-Mail: DDSG Blue Danube

Soccer Fans

Allianz Stadium: (as of 2016) – esp for Rapid Soccer Club fans

DDSG Blue Danube

Star Gazers

Kuffner Observatory: Kuffner Sternwarte Johann-Staud-Straße 10 Mag Angelika Pointner +43 1 89 174 150-122

Burg Theater, Vienna

Burg Theater, Vienna

Theater Afficionados

Vienna Burg Theater - to play of not to play

Vienna Burg Theater – to play or not to play

Burgtheater (Rest. Vestibül) Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 2 Veronika Doppler und Lin Wenni +43 1 532 49 99

Up in the Air 827 ft high

You spin me right round, baby, right round – Donau Tower – Donauturm Donauturmstraße 4 Nina Berger (“MAKE MY DAY”) +43 2236 38 29 29

Wine Lovers

Heuriger “Sissi Huber” Roterdstraße 5 Elisabeth Huber +43 1 485 81 80

Das Schreiberhaus Rathstraße 54 Stephanie Huber +43 1 440 38 44

Heuriger “Wolff” Rathstraße 50, Christian Cerveny, Mag. Peter Wolff und Renate Wolff +43 1 440 37 27, +43 664 947 5050

Weingut Fuhrgassl-Huber Neustift am Walde 68 Theresa Huber +43 1 440 14 05

Wolffi’s Place

Music fans and Mozart Lovers: Mozarthaus Wien Domgasse 5 Christina Redl +43 1 512 17 91-70 Print This Post



Chillin in Wien – Top 10 Ways To Keep Cool in Vienna’s Heat

10) Do a Film

Go to one of Vienna’s many cool cinemas just know that in Austria, when you buy your movie ticket, you are paying for a particular seat so prices vary and watch where you sit. An no worries, there are plenty of cinemas with English language films (but you should be practicing your German!)
a) Artis: English speaking films in original tone – Schultergasse 5 in the first district. Tickets can be purchased online and printed at home.You can go to Merkur at Hoher Markt (open weekdays till 9 pm and Saturdays till 6 pm) beforehand and grab something to snack on beforehand but there’s a sign in the cinema asking you not to bring food into the theater.  If you don’t plan ahead, the nachos always smell good and the popcorn can be recommended.

b) Haydn Cinema at Mariahilferstrasse 57 is another great cinema to catch English speaking films. Funky that you are underground too.

c) Burgkino: Opernring 19 (near the Opera, Karlsplatz Subway station): Films in original language. Burgkino is the loyalest “The Third Man” fan – the black and white film from Vienna with a chase through the Vienna sewers

d) Votiv Cinemas: Also films in their original language: Währingerstrasse 12 and Hessgasse 7/Schottengasse 5

9) Shop till you Drop

Go spend the day in an air-conditioned mall: Donauzentrum  (they actually have a Cinnabon here if you feel like your heart is getting too little artery clogging substances with so much organic, non-hormone produced foodstuffs). There’s also a Running Sushi too. Live a little. You know you want to.

8) Go on a Joy Ride

Schottenring U2 Subway Tunnel

Schottenring U2 Subway Tunnel

Grab one of Vienna’s free tabloids (if you’re lucky you’ll get a free Standard and look more intellectual) and then pretend you are James Franz Hans Joyce and do a modern day Vienna Odyssee tour on public transportation while reveling in the air conditioning. Just don’t get stuck on one of the charming but painfully unairconditioned old trams. Somehow on hot days, these trams also seem to attract folks who skipped a day without the proper deodorant.

Sommerfrische in Austria's Mountains

Sommerfrische in Austria’s Mountains

7) Go Away

Do as the Viennese do and leave the city for some “Sommerfrische” in the mountains like in Semmering.

6) Check out some Klimt, Cathedrals and Catacombs
Hang out with the artists and saints by visiting one of the city’s museums or cathedrals. The major museums will be air-conditioned and the tall thick stone walls of the cathedrals keep them cool as well.
Here’s a few to get you started:
a) Leopold Museum: my favorite with Klimt, Schiele, Hoffmann, and so many more great Austrian artists (and lovely modern architecture)

b) Kunsthistorisches Museum: beautiful art and stunning old building. I wrote about their great audio guides here:

Art History Museum, Vienna

The halls of Vienna’s Art History Museum

Maria am Gestade

Maria am Gestade

c) Albertina: – can’t begin to list all the famous artists here (Rembrandt, Schiele, etc) and amazing exhibitions

a)St. Stephansdom and its catacombs

b)Kaisergruft/ Imperial Crypt I wrote about the Imperial Crypt in my blog about Vienna and death:

c) Minoriten Church / Church of the Italians – the perfect excuse to see the Last Supper replica I tried to drag you too a few blogs ago:

Minoriten Church

Minoriten Church

d) Maria am Gestade: Go here at night – the view from the steps below will take your breath away.

5) Park it: Prater – Vienna’s “Green Lung” and Vergnügungspark (Amusement Park)

Head to Prater and maybe catch a stray horse there like I once did or hang out on one of the park benches under the shade of the Chestnut trees along Prater Alle, cool off with a liter of Czech Budweiser at the Schweizerhaus or take a ride on some cool attractions such as Prater Turm (Prater Tower) the 117 meter high tower visible from much of the city, sitting next to your sweetheart as you zoom around in a circle at 60 km/hr at a height of 95 meters for 3 – 4 minutes chastising yourself for gobbling down the Schweinsstelze (greasy pork leg) at Schweizerhaus and liter of Budweiser BEFORE the ride . If you can’t be talked into the Prater Turm, the Luftikus might be a good compromise. It also swings high up in the air, spinning you until you are so dizzy you forgot you were ever hot, or in Vienna, or started the ride with some change and your iPhone in your pocket. Personally I’d be more for the Wildalpenbahn (Wild Alp Channel) where you hold on for dear life and just get a bit soaked. After all, it has the word “wild” in the title so you are bound to win some bravery points back after kindly declining the Prater Turm and as an extra bonus, you are more likely to maintain your lunch (unless you hang out with a mischievous bunch (and who wouldn’t) and they start spinning your Alpen raft). If there is someone in the group you definitely don’t want to have to offer to wash their clothing for, then you might want to play it safe and just do the Aquagaudi (Aqua=water, Gaudi (pron: GowDee)= fun) which back at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, we referred to as the Logjammer.

4) Go for a Swim

Vienna has a ton of pools but if it is hot, they are bound to be crowded –  here are some of the ones you might be tempted to check out and what I associate with each:
a) Krapfenwaldbad – beautiful old wooden lockers, turn of century architecture, tall trees of Vienna woods and small pool
b) Schafbergbad – best view of the city
c) Schönbrunnerbad – nestled in gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, beautiful, old, small and busting at the seams with people on hot days
d) Praterbad: tall trees offering lots and lots of shaded green space, different pools to choose from
e) Gänsehäufl: nice natural beach along Danube with pool, and a FKK Beach (naked beach which sounds much more alluring before witnessing the leathery skinned corpulent bathers who hang out there and obviously missed the memo that too much sun is bad you – ohh the good old days of fold-out foil sun reflectors and cocoa sun oil)
f) Dianabad: indoor “amusement” pool with turbo jet slide, whirlpool and pirate ship.

3) Rent a boat and jump into the Alte Donau
While paddling or pedaling (choose your boat), do not be alarmed if you see the naked people slathered in oil and subjecting themselves to a slow bake in the sun along the shore — see 2e above. If it is very hot, take the boat with the slide option but be sure you know how to swim before jumping overboard because there are no lifeguards here. Do what the Aussies do, take a six pack along, tie it to the boat and keep it cool in the water. Just don’t drink and drive (even if you are on a pedal boat)

am Donaukanal, Vienna, Austria

am Donaukanal, Vienna, Austria

2) Do some “Chillen” at one of the Donaukanal Beach Bars

Because you’re cool, have interesting friends and lounging around “chillin” with a cold beer or Aperolspritz in hand while sinking down into a beach chair, digging your toes into the sand smack dab in the middle of the city and watching crazy people jogging, biking and sweating along the canal in the merciless heat is Schadenfreude pur, and just plain wicked. And cool.
a) Tel Aviv Beach: complete with cool sprayers on hot days
b) Adria – right next to bridge
Ben & Jerry’s: Beer and ice cream – what could be better? (except maybe brownies and beer)
c) Strandbar Hermann: on the “other side” of the canal close to the Urania and a great place for public viewing (of soccer)
d) Badeschiff: I admit, I snuck this on though it’s not a beach bar. However, it is along the canal and a place for bikinis and beer so it deserved to get past the blog beach bar bouncer bullies

Tel Aviv Beach, Donaukanal, 2nd District, Beach Bar, Vienna

Tel Aviv Beach, Donaukanal, 2nd District, Beach Bar, Vienna

1) Grab an Ice Cream or Frozen Yoghurt

Because an excuse to have some ice cream will always top my list.
Lots of great Italian ice-cream places in the first district around Schwedenplatz, Rotenturmstrasse, Hohemarkt and Tuchlauben and in the 5th district along Mariahilferstrasse.
a) Eis Greissler: Total thumbs up for “Ice cream from the countryside” all natural with no artificial coloring, aroma, preservatives or other chemicals . Vegan flavors also available. All flavors except 2 made without eggs. Organic milk from their very own cows. Just follow the queue at Rotenturmstrasse 14 into the small room no bigger than a showcase with ice cream and be bold or boring (a scoop of goat cheese ice cream on top of some pumpkin seed oil ice-cream or just a scoop of dark chocolate with vanilla). Also can be found at Mariahilferstrasse 33.

Zanoni Ice Cream Vienna

Zanoni Ice Cream Vienna

b) Zanoni Ice Cream – Around forever at Lugeck with lots of tables inside and out on the Rotenturmstrasse, Julius Meinl grocery store or Mariahilferstrasse

c) Tuchlauben Ice Cream on Tuchlauben “Family tradition since 1962”

d) Gelateria Hoher Markt: Fabio de Prophetis has been scooping out ice cream here for over 20 years. The advantage? You can watch the Ankeruhr from here and there is a public water fountain right beside it where you can sit on some marble stones, hang out and eat your ice cream cone or go full monty and opt for a table and dish of ice cream on a table outside or in.

e) Schwedenplatz Ice Cream “Family Molin-Pradel since 1886” This place is known for constantly changing flavors and they have been around quite a long time but they keep things up to date with an ice cream calendar app you can load on to your smart phone to be in the know on the latest flavors. Very cool, very geeky and very ice cream fixated.

f) Castelletto: Corner of Schwedenplatz and Rotenturmstrasse. For me they are still the new guy on the block but the location is good though outside tables are packed in along the sidewalk.

a) Kurt Frozen Yoghurt: I LOVE their flying cow logo and if that isn’t enough to lure you inside, the yoghurt and toppings should. They also do a mean waffle. Located in the first district at either Schultergasse 2 or Krugerstrasse 12. I like the cobblestone lane at the Schultergasse. It is especially convenient before grabbing a film at Artis.

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Vienna Side Trips – Salzburg

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Print This Post As gorgeous as Vienna is, you might just want to “get out of the barn” for a few days and take advantage of Vienna’s perfect location in Central Europe as a jumping off point for some amazing side trips.

Zapitillo 2, Panama

Zapitillo 2, Panama

Because let’s face it – we all need a break once in a while – even if you’re in the world’s most livable city. And that’s the reason why I’ve been neglecting you the past two weeks. It’s true. I left my beloved Vienna and had an absolutely wonderful time in Palm-treed, Pina-Colada Panama. And the highlight? A spontaneous outing to the Zapatillas Keys – white sands, turquoise waters and a long walk around the entire uninhabited island of Zapatilla 2 with a cool smooth Balboa Cerveza to compliment the ocean breeze and the Caribbean sun.

Some locals recommended the day trip to Zapatillas and even though the snorkeling left me with a sunburned lip that could rival the best of the botoxed country club moms, I loved it. Which is why, dear readers, I am going to dedicate a few weeks to Vienna side trips. Just for you. The places I would take you. Because I don’t want you to miss these. Book yourself a long vacation – two or three weeks. You deserve it. See Vienna and hopefully a bit more.

This week’s recommendation?

A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (I will refrain from using the quote about his hometown of Salzburg and its archbishop in a letter to his father  on 12 July 1783 but it is oh so tempting because the man had such spunk)

Tricky couple in Salzburg

This tricky woman in Salzburg is keeping her man up in the air

Because the hills are alive and it just wouldn’t be right to come to Mozart country without seeing Mozart’s birthplace (Getreidegasse 9).

Hop on the train (Westbahn (run privately) or ÖBB (run by the Austrian gov) and in just under 3 hours, you are in Austria’s second most beautiful city (sorry Salzburg, but I love my Vienna).

Salzburg Card

Save yourself some money and get yourself the Salzburg card. You can buy the card with or without hotel. It’s a very good deal no matter what you decide. I would definitely recommend getting at least the 48 hour card if not 72 hour card.
Link for card with hotels:
Link for card without hotels:
Which sites are included:

I’m not getting any kickback on this card. I had to buy my own while there and did. The Salzburg Card will give you entrance to a lot of the tourist attractions AND serve as your public transportation ticket throughout the city and out to Hellbrunn (read more below) AND give you a boat tour of the Salzach complete with your boat doing a little waltz number in the water to the tune of Strauss (I am serious — cheesy – but you’re a tourist – drop the cool and embrace the cheesy).


The bridge linking Franz Josefs Kai and Ferdinand Hanusch Platz is solely for pedestrians and the one you will probably traverse to go to and from Mirabell Gardens. The first bridge was erected in 1905 and the latest version opened to much fanfare in 2001. More than 20,000 people cross this bridge each day. Don’t miss the romantic locks (and handcuffs) left by lovers on the bridge.

Locks of love on Salzburg's Makartsteg Pedestrian Bridges

Locks of love on Salzburg’s Makartsteg Pedestrian Bridges

Mirabell Gardens

Mirabell Gardens

Mirabell Gardens

What’s that hanging from the trees – Sloths? Monkeys? No! The von Trapp family singers! “Do-Re-Mi.” Remember? I walked through this garden once while a British children’s choir sang Elvis’ In the Ghetto. They sang behind some trees hidden in the park and their sweet little voices made the park all the more beautiful.

Mönchsberg Lift

(for your best Salzburg photo)
(included in Salzburg Card) Take incline up and take a leisurely walk to the castle through the woods – great panorama shots of the city and castle – leaves from Anton-Neumayr-Platz

Hohensalzburg Castle / High Salzburg Fortress

View of Salzburg Castle from square beside Salzburg Dom

View of Salzburg Castle from square beside Salzburg Dom

Practically a must-see – the breathtaking white castle on top of the hill in Salzburg is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Construction began in 1077 (!) and Hohensalzburg Castle remains one of the best preserved castles in Europe.

St. Peter’s Cemetery / Petersfriedhof

Church in St. Peter's Cemetery, Salzburg

Church in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Salzburg

(Go see this when going to Stieglkeller or when taking the Festungsbahn cable car up the mountain). You know this place already. Besides being Salzburg’s oldest cemetery, it’s the cemetery where “the dramatic flight scene of Sound of Music took place.” You remember the heart-stopping scene when Julie and the kids hid behind the tombstones and we weren’t sure whether or not sweet-kid-turned-Nazi Rolf would blow his whistle. The Cemetery is located at the foot of the Festungsberg and Hohensalzburg Castle.

Salzburg Dom - View from the Stieglkeller Terrace

Salzburg Dom – View from the Stieglkeller Terrace

Salzburg Cathedral / Salzburg Dom

Salzburg’s beloved Baroque cathedral founded in 774 (!) on the remnants of a Roman town and rebuilt after a fire in 1181. In WWII a bomb crashed through the central dome. The US bombed Salzburg 15 times and though our target should have been the train station, we very unfortunately missed our mark. If you’re interested, this website provides an overview of the US bombing of Salzburg complete with stats.

Hellbrunn Palace

Hellbrunn Table before the fun begins

Hellbrunn Table before the fun begins

Be sure to do the Hellbrunn Palace tour. The palace is a bit outside the main city but bus #25 (#25 – click here for PDF of schedule ) will take you there rather painlessly. And just for you, loyal reader, I have included the bus schedule here b/c I love when websites make my life easier too.)

Hellbrunn Tour - the Water Table

Hellbrunn Tour – the Water Table

The bus is free if you have the Salzburg ticket (see above) and easy to catch in the city. The palace is worth the effort – especially on a hot day. Just don’t be water shy (no matter how sweet you might be, you won’t melt) and maybe have some kind of plastic bag to cover your camera. That’s all I’m sayin. I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Oh and one last thing – fight to sit at the head of the table when you tour the gardens. You’ll love me for it. And don’t forget to look for the Sound of Music Pavillon (“I am 16 going on 17”). If you are so inspired – do a selfie video of your rendition of Rolf or Liesl singing and hanging from the sides gazebo and I will post it here – no matter how off key you are. Bound to get me a few clicks.

(cause you gotta eat and the beer is really really good)


Entrance to Stiegl Keller Restaurant

Entrance to Stiegl Keller Restaurant

Austrian cuisine, great beer and dinner with the best view in town (see Salzburg Dom photo above for exact view from terrace)
(contact them ahead of time and reserve a table on the terrace for a time around sunset – have your hotel call for you) for a stunning view of Salzburger Dom. Last time we went, the weather didn’t cooperate and we ended up inside – also nice but not nearly as beautiful. So if you have to choose – do Müllner Bräu if the weather is lousy.
Reserve your table here:
Familie Gassner, Festungsgasse 10, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43 662 / 84 26 81

Müllner Bräustübl

Dinner with the best monk-brewed beer (+ garden) and coolest Harry Potter style dining rooms
The monks do know how to drink – a bit of a walk and a bit hidden but super worth the effort, I promise.

Fuzzy photo of monk brew at Müllner Bräu - 1/2 L and 1 L Krugs

Fuzzy photo of monk brew at Müllner Bräu – 1/2 L and 1 L Krugs

Beer garden it for the evening and plan to walk or taxi it back to the hotel (this should be your last stop because you will need to enjoy a pleasant sleep after these brews). When you enter the building, you will probably think I led you astray because you might feel like you’re in the wrong place. But would I ever lead you astray? Go through doors, down steps and through the hall, pass a bunch of food vendors in the marble corridor (get your chicken later) and then go around the corner until you reach the doors to go outside. (Let’s just hope you really are in the right place at this point).

Just follow the others once you are inside or ask: “May I trouble you to ask where the lovely beer garden may be?” Always smile and rely on Austrians’ boundless patience with clueless tourists.

Now comes the point where you have to act strategically. One person in your party needs to queue for the beers (one person can generally manage two 1-liter beers in the big mugs (see fuzzy photo taken after beer) while the more nibble and intimidating person (martial arts experience perhaps?) in the party needs to see about engaging in the beloved Austrian contact sport of “Grab-the-free-table-at-the-beer-garden.” This requires quick reflexes and the ability to act blind and deaf if someone else claims they had it first. You see one free, grab it and secure the chairs with your life. Don’t let the Dirndls and Lederhosen fool you. Austrians are ruthless when it comes to snatching up a free table – no civilized waiter-shows-you-your-place here. Get to know the locals and other tourists a bit better and wrestle if you have to. It will be worth it. I promise. (and send pics!).

  And if nothing is free and someone dares to hog up a table much too big for their group –kindly ask if you can join them by saying “Ist das noch frei?” (Is that still free/available? Pronounce “frei” as if you are saying “fry” or “cry” – as in ‘I will cry if I can’t get a seat in this beautiful awesome beer garden’ And if you do join another party, at the end of the evening, you’ll all be fluent in the same language and the best of friends. And if you have extra seats, be gracious and let the desperate join your party). Be sure to use the same phrase (“Ist das noch frei?”) when trying to swipe an empty unused chair from another table.

If the weather is cold or rainy don’t fret — the dining room inside will make you feel like you are Harry Potter at Hogwarts – As an American, I have to say, this is how we picture the charms of the Old World and it’s even better. Epcot Center got nothin’ on this place! It alone makes a trip to Salzburg worth it.

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Last but not least, a somber but lovely poem from Austrian poet, Nikolaus Lenau, about that beautiful cemetery with my attempt at a halfway decent translation:

– Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau 

O schöner Ort, den Toten auserkoren,
zur Ruhestätte für die müden Glieder!
Hier singt der Frühling Auferstehungslieder,
vom treuen Sonnenblick zurückbeschworen.
Oh beautiful place, the chosen of the dead
 to rest their tired limbs
Spring sings here a resurrection song
summoned back by the view of the faithful sun
Wenn alle Schmerzen auch ein Herz durchbohren,
dem sein Liebstes senkt zur Erde nieder,
doch glaubt es leichter hier: wir sehn uns wieder:
es sind die Toten uns nicht ganz verloren.
When all pain pierces the heart as well
whose loved one sinks down to the earth
yet the belief „‘we’ll meet again‘ is easier here
the dead are not completely lost to us
Der fremde Wanderer, kommend aus der Ferne,
dem hier kein Glück vermodert, weilt doch gerne hier,
wo die Schönheit Hüterin der Toten.
The foreign wanderer, coming from afar 
who here no luck decays, yet likes to linger here,
where beauty keeps the dead
Sie schlafen tief und sanft in ihren Armen,
worin zu neuem Leben sie erwarmen,
die Blumen winkens, ihre stillen Boten
They sleep deep and gently in her arms
where she warms them to new life
The flowers wave, her silent heralds
(Translation KC Blau)