Austria! Well, then… G’day mate!


Every once in awhile, I refrain from correcting people. Even when I know they are wrong… or stupid. Instead, I prefer to select sarcasm as my weapon of choice, and see how far I can go with it. Not too long ago, somebody overheard me talking about my upcoming trip (at the time) to Europe. Something like “blah blah blah Germany… yada yada yada… Austria… yickety yackety castles and beer… “ Then in all its glory came the comment I will never forget – “Did you say Austria? Oh man, are you gonna see some kangaroos? Always wanted to see one up close. Austria’s like super far, right?”

Austria Lake District - Salzkammergut - on the way to St. Gilgen, Austria - May 2011

Although sarcasm is just one of my many skills, sometimes the prey is soooooo easy, that it makes it overwhelmingly difficult to restrain oneself. As the corners of my mouth began to curl to a warm grin, all I could think was “where should I begin!?”. I was about to make the error of actually correcting the individual, and clarifying “no no no… not Australia. Austria.” Unfortunately for them, my friend sarcasm took over. Granted, we were in a bar, it was late, and a bit loud; however…

  1. you can see a kangaroo in most primary zoo type establishments, right here in the USA. Or, if your name is Oprah, then I’m sure a kangaroo would willingly come to your estate.
  2. unless you are Jamaican, named Usain, with a last name of Bolt, and you happen to have a couple of pieces of gold laying around your home that you got in China during your Summer 2008 visit… it’s not likely you’re going to get “up close” and personal with a kangaroo in the wild.
  3. Maybe I did say Australia instead of Austria. Who knows! But, Australia isn’t even IN Europe. In fact, last time I checked an encyclopedia… or Google for that matter, it was a continent.
  4. My 3.5yr old is scared to death of kangaroos (don’t ask me why, I have no idea) so why would I be going to see some kangaroos up close and personal?
Modern Art Exhibit - Mozartplatz - Salzburg, Austria - May 2011

It was so stupid that I questioned a few more things while I prepared for my sarcasm.

  1. Why am I scared of clowns?
  2. Does it really need to be so hot in TEXAS?
  3. Why is there a GIGANTIC gold ball with a mannequin looking man on top of it in the middle of Salzburg, Austria?

These are the frightening things that keep me up at night.

I have no idea what this is - Big Gold Ball? - Salzburg, Austria

Regardless, the whole experience brought back hilariously fond memories of an all-time classic movie, “Dumb & Dumber” (1994):

Lloyd: That’s a lovely accent you have. New Jersey?
Lady at bus stop: Austria.
Lloyd: Austria! Well, then. G’day mate! Let’s put another shrimp on the barbie!
Lady at bus stop: Let’s not.

After sorting through the buffet of sarcastic responses, I chose to go with “Yeah, you’ve gotta love those Australians in Austria”. Don’t remember anything else from the conversation. What I DO remember… is my time in AUSTRIA. I’ve blogged and blabbed about Germany and our time we spent with The Bavarians, and I apologize to all of my friends in Austria; because, I’ve gotta tell ya… I absolutely LOVE those AUSTRIANS in AUSTRIA!

St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, Austria - May 2011

We made our way from Munich through the Bavarian Alps via the Deutsch Alpenstrasse up to SalzburgerLand and made our stay in the beautiful city of Salzburg. I did a LOT of research (too much mind you); but, well worth it, because we found a super cool hotel just outside the Alstadt (old town) called Hotel & Villa Auersperg. If you’re thinking about heading to Salzburg, save yourself some time, and book this place. Clean, updated, nice size rooms, good service, clean, GREAT breakfast (get the package), and did I mention clean? The only thing they didn’t have was air-conditioning in the rooms. It’s Austria… not Austin, Texas. You can survive over there without AC. Just open a window. Besides, we were a nice, safe, casual 5-10min walk to the center of Mozartplatz – Mozart Square; however, what I really appreciated were the recommendations by the staff. 1st night, we were tired after driving in from Germany. I know… a lot of you are saying “but, Germany is like an hour away!”. Not when you’re going through small villages, stopping for coffee and hiking up and down the Bavarian Alps lookin’ at castles.

City of Salzburg, Austria - view from Fortress Hohensalzburg

Anyway, back to my point…  you could tell that the lady (Bettina?) was quite confident in telling us “most Americans seem to like…” ; but, when I asked her, “No, where do YOU like to hang out with your friends for a laid back evening?” she became quite nervous and somewhat excited about recommending somewhere non-touristic. Once she realized that LOCAL Austria was what we really wanted, we quickly found her happy to share a place called “Die Weiss” that was just around the corner from the hotel at Rupertgasse, 10.

From the front, Die Weisse – Salzburger Weißbierbrauerei just looks like a pub or restaurant you would see in any other European city. Once you enter off the street and pass the main bar area and go through the back door – XANADU! You’re smack dab in the middle of a tree-covered Austrian beer garden jam-packed with tables filled with local Austrians sharing their day’s events. Really nice and unexpected atmosphere. We located a seat against the back wall – facing the entire beer garden so we could soak in the local environment of this home away from home.  What a treat! I threw down a plate full of bratwurst, and then proceeded to consume a couple of deceivingly strong liters of “light” beers. Yeah, I quickly realized that Die Weisse simply means “The White One”. I want to say the waitress said 13.5% alcohol per glass. Is that legal? Whatever. I had a good time, and we were within close walking proximity of the hotel, so life… is good.

Alstadt - Salzburg, Austria - May 2011

To continue our Austrian adventure, we went to the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just kidding. And no… we didn’t go on the Sound of Music Tour. Although, I hear it is quite enjoyable and highly rated. Maybe next time.  Anyway, to continue our Austrian adventure, I kinda cheated for this next part. I prefer to call it – being creative. Typically when we travel, Anna and I like to do our own thing; but, too much of your own thing, and you don’t learn a thing, and you ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that swing. Tired and losing my mind; But seriously, sometimes you HAVE to do some of the tourist stuff. If it wasn’t worth seeing and learning about… it wouldn’t be so popular.

Mondsee, Austria - May 2011

Upper Austria, or better known by the Austrians as Oberösterreich. It’s one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria for God’s sake. We HAD to see it! But, although I usually book my day trips through Viator.com, this time, we had a rental car. I merely took a look at the route of the Austrian Lakes and Mountains Tour, and I plopped each location in our GPS and voile! We had our own customized Austria Lake District Tour. The only difference is that we went opposite of the tour buses. Two words – GENIUS! Ok, that’s one word. Just say GENIUS two times.

St. Wolfgang, Austria
St. Wolfgang, Austria - May 2011

An absolutely fantastic day in Salzkammergut. That is, if you like nature, the great outdoors, and fairy-tale villages loaded with character. We found our way to Mondsee, Krottensee, and then made the valley pass to the beautiful alpine village of St. Gilgen, where Mozart’s mother was born. Hmmm… not why we went there; but, hey… always up for adding more useless knowledge to my repertoire.  We then embarked on a 45 minute scenic boat ride across Wolfgangsee to picturesque St. Wolfgang (Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut). We ate lunch at a local restaurant and strolled aimlessly around the village for a few hours, before taking the smooth and relaxing 45 minute boat ride back to St. Gilgen. Almost on queue, it began to rain on our way back to Salzburg. No complaints. Why? Cuz sometimes you need a nap! Throw the plans away, and improvise. Chilled out at the hotel and lived to fight another day of tourism.

St. Gilgen, Austria
St. Gilgen, Austria - May 2011
Wolfgangsee Schifffahrt
Wofgangsee, Austria 2011
Austrian home that Anna wanted to buy on Wolfgangsee
Village of St. Wolfgang
view from our lunch table in St. Wolfgang, Austria
15th Century Pilgrimage Church of St. Wolfgang, Austria
Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut - May 2011

The next day, we made our way into the Alstadt – Old Town of Salzburg. We arrived early by foot and beat the tour buses. I’m not a classical music enthusiast; however, I have a great appreciation for artists who can withstand the test of time – Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Willie Nelson, U2, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Pearl Jam. Mozart’s famous! And to stand at the foot of his statue in Mozartplatz in Salzburg’s Alstadt was surreal. I kept looking up above the walled city to the silhouette of Fortress Hohensalzburg thinking aloud – “I’ve got to see Salzburg from up there!”. Despite the fact that we couldn’t find the rail car that takes you up to the fortress, it was well worth the agony. It’s tucked in a small museum type shop halfway up the hill on your right (in case you ever go).  I actually think I may have had the best donut pretzel in the world in Salzburg. No tellin’. Everything seems fresher and better when you buy it in a market square. Probably because it IS fresher and better than anywhere else food is sold. I’ve shared enough with you for now – which is my way of saying that I talk… errr… write too much (as usual). I’m not sure the pictures lend the experience any favors; but, you’re smart people… use your imagination. And if you’re like me (afraid of heights)… stay away from the edge! And no… I didn’t see any kangaroos while in Austria. Well then… G’day mate!

Fortress Hohensalzburg - Salzburg, Austria
Mozart - Mozartplatz - Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg Cemetery with Fortress Hohensalzburg
Salzburg, Austria 2011
Fortress Hohensalzburg
"The Old Gate" - Salzburg Cemetery - May 2011

NOTE: I’m gladly accepting travel stories and guest bloggers who would like to share their journeys and adventures. My sister, Portia is currently in London, then heading to Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, and Zurich via train. I’ve already served her subpoena to appear as a guest blogger when she returns. My friend J-Jez has some great stories of her time in Iraq as a civilian that she needs to share with us too. You can check out her blog PassingLEFT and purchase some awesome bike t-shirts and apparel that she designs. Supporting small business and friends baby!  Nickerson – if you’re reading this – just because you are a world class author now, you are still on the hook to write about your 5yr living experience in Singapore, and your travels everywhere from Milan to Minsk. Once you get your book published… I’ll brag and blog about it here on Austin GlobeTrekker. And my buddy Marty J is heading to Italy for the umpteenth time; but, this time… taking his kids for their first time. Can’t wait to hear the stories and get that perspective. So see… that’s all I want. Join the Conversation! Until then… 

TRAVEL | EXPLORE | DREAM | DISCOVER

Fortress Hohensalzburg, Austria
Restaurant View - Fortress Hohensalzburg, Austria 2011
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4 thoughts on “Austria! Well, then… G’day mate!”

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