Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday 25 May - Untersbergbahn, Salzach Boat Ride, Stigl Brewery and the Festung Fortress

It was a very busy day today and we made full use of out Salzburg Cards. 
We first took a bus out to the village of Grodig to ride the Untersbergbahn, the cable car to the top of the Untersberg.  It was a city bus but the visual bus stop information was not working so we had to rely upon the audio announcements which were difficult to hear.  We were outside the area shown on the bus map.  It was pretty evident where we had to get off by the cable coming down to the lower station however, the bus stopped outside and turned off the engine as it was the end of the run!

The Untersbergbahn was very good and we had great views across the valley towards Salzburg where the fortress was quite visible.  However, it was misty at the top and we decided to come right back down again.

We just caught a bus back into town and walked across the bridge to the boat landing.  The 1200 boat was just leaving and we just managed to get on board.  The man taking tickets said "Watch your step and watch for bicycles".  He wasn't joking, we had to cross a bicycle path which was very well used.  We have come to the realization when crossing the road that you have to be on the look out not only for cars but also for silent bicycles.
Salzach River
Watch your step - and the bicycles.
The boat ride was pretty good.  Because of the shallow water and speed of the flow the boat uses two jet engines.  They took us a little way out of Salzburg and returned after about 40 minutes.  Just before landing they started playing a waltz and left the boat spinning wildly while the crew walked away from the controls and looked away.  After several circles they righted the boat and then set it spinning in the other direction.  It was an amusing way to end the ride.
The tour boat doing wheelies
Stigl brewery
We walked next to the bus stop for the ride the the Stigl brewery.  The trolley bus took us there quickly and we walked the couple of hundred yards to the pleasantly situated brewery.  Our passes gave us free entry to the exhibit which was set in an old brew house.  It was well done although there were several sets of stairs to negotiate.  We finished up in the beer garden where we were given samples of three different beers (about 600cl ) with some flat bread to try.   We toasted our friend, Pat, who is a great beer aficionado.  We thought we would be able to eat there but the kitchen apparently closed at 1400 although the staff didn't bother to tell us.
Even Mozart drank beer
Beer tasting
So it was back to the bus to return to town and drop off the two bottles of beer given us as gifts by the brewery.  Then it was back out again to take the funicular railway, reputed to be the oldest in the world, up to the Festung Fortress.  Here we visited several exhibits, notably the Marionette Museum, before taking a break at a terrace with a great view across the country towards the Untersberg.  We had Apple Strudel and Cheese Strudel.
Marionette Museum
Inside the Festung
View into the plaza by the cathedral
Next we came back down the funicular and walked through St. Peter's graveyard to admire the beautiful head pieces.  Many of them are of wrought iron with gold paint or leaf.
St. Peter's Church

The cathedral was on our way back to the hotel so we decided to look in.  It is in good condition, but a bit dark.  It is enormous.  It has five organs, one large one placed at the back and four placed across the nave.  Mozart is supposed to have played here, presumably the large one at the back.  Without making any comments on the way the church used its power in the past, we left and returned to the hotel.

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