September 20, 2017

Easily Save Money While Traveling

Many cities in Europe offer tourists a city card which includes discounts or free admission to many of the local museums, castles, tours and some even include transportation.

Munich has one.  London has one.  Paris has one. Prague has one.  Innsbruck and Salzburg both offer one too!Eiffel Tower Paris France

Have you ever wondered if they are worth purchasing?

During my trip this summer I purchased cards in both Innsbruck and Salzburg and I can definitely tell you that the answer to the question is a definite . . . maybe!

Let’s look at the details of what they offered.Innsbruck Card Innsbruck Austria

The Innsbruck Card says it offers “free entrance to all museums and places of interest in and around the city.  Plus free use of cable cars, local public transport services, the “Sightseer” city tour bus and the “Kristallwelten Shuttle” bus, discounts on shopping, sports and fun.”

Due to my schedule I only had about 24 hours to enjoy Innsbruck on my own so I purchased a card for 24 hours which was 29 Euros.  It is important to note, these cards are good for 24 hours from the time you start your touring and not just 1 day.Innsbruck Austria

During my 24 hours I was able to visit the Hofburg, Hofkirche, Schloss Ambras, Swarovski Kristallwelten and the Nordkettenbahnen plus the buses getting to/from both Schloss Ambras and Swarovski Kristallwelten.  If I had purchased each of these separately I would have spent 64.50 Euros.

So in Innsbruck my 29 euro expenditure was worth every penny!

 

Salzburg Card Salzburg Austria

The Salzburg Card includes “. . . free admission to Salzburg’s museums, free use of the Fortress funicular, the Untersberg cableway, Salzach ship service and public transport. Salzburg Card holders can also take advantage of a number of discounts on concerts, theater performances or excursions to destinations in the Salzburg vicinity.”

I decided to purchase a 48 hour Salzburg Card for 34 Euros.  While in Salzburg not only did I visit many of the sights included for free; Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains, the Catacombs, Hohensalzburg Fortress and Cable Railway, Residenz Gallery and State Rooms and the Stiegl Brauwelt; but I also used the bus system fairly extensively getting to my hotel, Hanger 7, Stiegl Brauwelt, Hellbrunn and Augustiner Beer Gardens.  If I had not had the Salzburg Card I would have spent 58.70 Euros.Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountain Salzburg Austria

Again my expenditure was worth every penny!

Besides the savings both cards afforded me I enjoyed not waiting in line for tickets, not needing to carry so much cash, and the transit systems were very easy since I was able to get on the bus I wanted.

So why did I say they were maybe worth purchasing?

While in my case both cards were worth purchasing but every traveler or city may be different.  My advice is to look into the cards beforehand knowing what you would like to visit. Also make sure you temper your wants down a bit because reality can be a totally different thing! This is the only way you can see if it makes financial sense to purchase the cards.

I have heard that people don’t recommend purchasing these cards because the savings is only a few Euros.  I disagree.   Even if I had not saved any money on these cards, the ease of use at each site or transportation was well worth it, in my humble opinion!

 

Have you purchased any city cards?
Did you think they were worth it?

Cities that leave you Bleh!

This summer I visited Bamberg Germany and loved it.

Mittenwald, loved it.  Innsbruck, loved it.  Salzburg, loved it!  Budapest. . .

. . . I don’t know what to say about Budapest. 

I arrived by train expecting to find a beautiful city on the Danube that I would love.

Instead, I am ambivalent. 

Due to its place in history, I found Budapest very interesting and would love to spend more time learning about all the events and people that have shaped this city.  The WWII history alone is fascinating. I didn’t realize or had forgotten that it was Budapest where the Russians defeated the Nazi’s.  Or the history surrounding the revolt during the 1950’s.  Fascinating history!

But I was still left wondering, where is the beauty?  What is the attraction? 

I have seen the pictures of Budapest that are so beautiful they take my breath away, but it was hard to find this.Budapest and Danube River

I finally found the beauty.  It is down on the water.  From the Danube Budapest is beautiful.  From either bank looking across, Budapest is beautiful.

As I explored the Pest side of the city, I would come across an occasional architectural gem – St. Stephens Basilica, Dohany Street Synagogue, the Parliament building and Szechenyi Baths are a few.   Heroes’ Square is pretty amazing due to its size.Pariliament Building Budapest Hungary

But the real beauty is along the river. 

I was even told by tour guides that the grand boulevard, Andrássy út, looked just like the Champs Elysees because it was modeled after it.

I didn’t see it!  I don’t get it. 

I couldn’t get the feel of the city and, therefore, had trouble getting my bearings which resulted in an unsettled feeling.  I never got lost but just didn’t feel comfortable until Friday, my last day.Across the Danube with Basilica Budapest Hungary

I spent Friday exploring Castle HillNow this is beautiful! I loved it up on Castle Hill.  It had the feel of “Europe”.  The old world feel and small crooked, cobblestoned streets all combined to have a much more familiar feel to it.  Which is amazing considering it isn’t that old at all due to the carpet bombing during WWII!

I was not uncomfortable wandering the streets on the Buda side of the Danube and maybe it was this new found confidence that followed me as I returned to the Pest side of town. I was much more comfortable as I searched for the monuments I wanted to see.

Too bad it was my last day! 

I just don’t know how to describe Budapest because I don’t know how I feel about it.  Bleh, is the best I can do.

 

Have you felt this way about a city?

My 4 Best . . . Meals That Is!

Whether food is something you travel for or just something you enjoy while traveling, it is a necessary part of any day.  Personally I don’t usually travel for food but enjoy local cuisine while traveling although I’d travel to Germany just for some schnitzel 🙂

I know it may have looked like I only ate Goulash soup during my summer trip to Europe but I actually ate other things!  Today I’m sharing my favorites and I’m hungry already!

In no order, here are 4 meals that really stood out above the rest!

First is a lunch I devoured at Klosterbräu brewery in Bamberg.  After a morning of walking the streets of Bamberg’s Old Town I literally fell into my seat at Klosterbräu eagerly ready for some food and drink!Schnitzel at Klosterbrau Bamberg Germany

I can’t tell you how wonderful the Schnitzel Wiener Art mit Kartofellsalat und Salat was! The pork wiener schnitzel was cooked to perfection and the potato salad was scrumptious!  German green salads have been one of my favorites for many years.  I love the tender butter lettuce on top that is hiding little secrets like carrots, radishes and some kind of cured cabbage.  Delicious!

Next up is the wonderful dinner I enjoyed at Pfudel in Vienna.  From the English menu I ordered Veal Goulash with Gnocchi.  Imagine my surprised delight when the plate arrived layered with beautiful goulash on top of Spätzle and not gnocchi!!! You probably don’t want to get me started telling you about how much I adore Spätzle so I’ll just tell you they are tiny little flour dumplings that are wunderbar!  The picture I took was blurry (I think I was shaking in delight at the Spätzle!) so I can’t share with you this delightful meal 🙁 but will entice you with a picture I found of Spätzle.

Spatzle Tiny Little Dumplings

Spatzle by Kobako

Imagine these small little dumplings topped with thick red gravy full of tasty tender pork, veal or beef and the wonderful aroma of paprika! I accompanied the goulash with an absolutely wonderful glass of Grüner Veltliner wine.

One evening I wandered up to the Stiegl Keller in Salzburg.  The Keller is located at the base of the Mönchburg and is a bit of a walk up but the views, beer and food make it so worth it! For this meal I had an amazing pork chop with brown gravy, roast potatoes and green beans with bacon. I know it sounds like a basic meal and it was but, oh my god, it was so delicious!

Stiegl Keller sign Salzburg AustriaView from Stiegl Keller Salzburg Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, no pictures of this one either.  When I remembered to take a picture I looked down and my plate was already empty and I mean empty.  I devoured this meal!

I’m actually a little embarrassed to share this next “meal” with you.  To start, I’ll admit, yes I am a cheap date! Wandering Salzburg and not wanting to take the time to sit down and eat lunch I came upon Salzburger Imbiss Grill which is basically a fast food hot dog/sausage joint.  I ordered an “Original” Bosna which is grilled sausage with spicy mustard and grilled onions.  First bite and I knew I was in heaven. The grilled sausage was perfection.  The sausage was encased in white bread that was grilled on a type of Panini press which made it a little crunchy and equally heavenly.  Add in the accoutrements and you have a winning combination! This one didn’t last long either 🙂 and is the best “hot dog” I have ever had.Bosna from Salzburger Imbiss Grill Salzburg Austria

I highly recommend all of these wonderful meals but suggest you eat more regularly than I did so you can enjoy your meal and remember to actually take a picture!

 

What are some of your favorite meals you’ve had while traveling?

Salzburg Beer Experience

So you didn’t think I’d leave Salzburg without some Beer Experiences did you?

Nope I didn’t!  In fact, I visited 2 breweries during my stay.

My first beer adventure was at the Stiegl Brauwelt (Stiegl Brewing World).Entrance to Stiegl Brauwelt Salzburg Austria

The Stiegl Brewery has been brewing beer in Salzburg since 1492 (and you thought that date was only important because of Christopher Columbus!) and is the largest private brewery in Austria today.

At the Brauwelt you can enjoy the beer museum, one of the 3 restaurants and visit the gift shop!

During your trip to the museum you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about beer and maybe more.  The largest beer “experience” in Austria will help you understand how beer is made.

I learned that beer is about 90% water and, therefore, extremely important for brewing the best beer.  Stiegl’s water comes from a spring on the Untersberg Mountain, so you know it is pure.Malt used in Beer making at Stiegl Brauwelt Salzburg Austria

Barley malt is what gives beer its body and color.  At Stiegl they use barley grown in Austria picked green from germinating barley before being roasted to obtain the desired color, taste and aroma.

The oil, acid and bitters from the Hops add a tangy taste to the finished product.Hops used in Beer making at Stiegl Brauwelt Salzburg Austria

It is the yeast that converts sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide (making it bubbly!).

See I told you, you would learn more about beer than you ever thought!

Finishing the museum tour you will see antique beer equipment, the largest beer tower in Europe, a display of beer steins and more.Beer Tower Stiegl Brauwelt Salzburg Austria

The best part is your entrance fee of 9 € includes a free gift and 3 beer tastings!!  Let me tell you, the beer tastings are only slightly smaller than an actual glass of beer, so there is plenty of beer tasting to be had.

I needed to find my way back to the bus stop, so I only had 2 tastings while enjoying a great bowl of Goulash soup and a wonderful potato/cabbage salad!Goulash Soup Stiegl Brewery Salzburg Austria

All in all, it was a great few hours spent at the Stiegl Brauwelt!  Oh, and the beer was Sehr Gut 🙂

 

Have you been to a Beer Museum?  Tell me about your beer experiences?

Salzburg and My First Opera

While I was in Salzburg I attended my very first opera!

Opera is not something I have been too interested in but I thought while in Salzburg . . .So off I went to the opera . . .  at the Salzburger Marionettentheater!Auditorium Marionette Theater Salzburg Austria

The elegant theater is near Mirabell gardens a very short walk from the Altstadt.  Although the current theater has only been in use since 1971 the Salzburg Marionettes have been entertaining audiences worldwide since 1913.  This is truly a Salzburg & Austrian institution!

Even though this production uses marionettes don’t make the mistake thinking it is only for children. I did attend the 1 hour afternoon showing and there were children in attendance but the majority of the audience were adults.  If you prefer to enjoy your opera at night, there is a performance at 8 pm which is 2 hours long.Figaro Marionette Theater Salzburg Austria

Arrive a little early so you can enjoy the historic marionette puppets lining the walls as you enter.  You will be amazed by the beautiful and detailed costumes these marionettes are wearing!

Upon entering the theater you will notice the beautiful crystal chandeliers and that the theater seems a little smaller than normal.  This theater was designed so the puppets look larger than they really are.

Now it’s time for the opera to begin!

Menagerie Marionette Salzburg Austria

Today’s performance is the Magic Flute by none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  This opera is actually the last opera Mozart wrote as he died a few months after its first performance.  The Magic Flute is also said to be the most frequently performed opera in the world.Magic Flute Marionette Theater Salzburg Austria

It really doesn’t take long before you stop seeing the strings moving the marionettes and get totally involved with the production. The prerecorded music is nice although nothing beats a live orchestra.  The performance was very entertaining and I was able to follow the story thanks to the English interpretation provided on the side walls.  I only wish they could have been in front of me or that we were given the story to read prior to the show beginning.

I really enjoyed my first opera!

One of the highlights (for me) was at the end.  The puppeteers need to take their bows and this is accomplished via a large mirror, held at an angle, so we could all see who was holding the strings! The mirror made them look really large but it was pretty amazing to see who (only 4) actually controlled the puppets.Nutcracker Marionette Theater Salzburg Austria

The theater performs other operas and also a production of The Sound of Music.  I would like to see this as it would be easier to follow along but then it’s not an opera and that was what I was looking for!

All photographs are from the Salzburg Marionette Theater

 

Have you attended a Marionette Theater performance?

Would you attend an opera while in a city known for its opera?

Salzburg Randomness

Wandering the streets of Salzburg offers surprises at every turn. Whether it it music along the street, a local market, a beautiful street or a game of chess, it is all magical and adds to the allure that is Salzburg.

These acts of randomness are here for your enjoyment!

The chess board is always active.Friendly Game of Chess in Salzburg Austria

Local markets can be found along the pedestrian streets of Salzburg every day!Local Markets in Salzburg Austria

Beautiful street scenes are yours and one reason to wander and, hopefully, getting lost.Beautiful flower market in Salzburg Austria

Beautiful guilded signs adorn the way! Did you know these signs were used to depict the store during Medieval times when most people couldn’t read?Medieval streets with gilded signs Salzburg Austria

For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Every Thursday they post new photos from their travels and invite others to join in!

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Salzburg: Hanging at Hanger-7

Do you enjoy historic airplanes, helicopters and Formula-1 racers? If so, then Hanger-7 at the Salzburg airport may be the place for you!

During my recent trip, I decided to visit Hanger-7 for my husband who couldn’t be with me.  He is a private pilot and airplane fanatic, so I knew he would definitely love this place but would have to settle for a few pictures this time 🙁

Needless to say, I’m not the biggest airplane fan but have gone to many air museums and air shows during my marriage and have learned to really appreciate these beautiful beasts and am in awe of the physics it takes to make them do what they do.  The planes at Hanger-7 did not disappoint.

Hanger-7 is the brainchild of Dietrich Mateschitz founder of “Red Bull”.  He has amassed quite a collection of cars and planes, many of which still race.  Needing a larger hanger to display these treasures, he had the current hanger built.

Red Bull Hanger-7 Salzburg Austria

Red Bull Hanger-7 by Herbert Ruhdorfer

To say it is architecturally interesting is an understatement.  I don’t usually like modern architecture but found this marvel to be very unique and quite beautiful.

Throughout the building you will find a collection of the vintage planes, helicopters and cars but also a unique and rotating display of art.  On this trip, the collection on display didn’t really hold my attention but you may have better luck on your visit plus I don’t think most people visit Hanger-7 for the art!

Here are a few pictures of what people do visit Hanger-7 for!

Hanger-7 Stearman Salzburg Austria

Stearman

Hanger-7 Alpha Jet Salzburg Austria

Alpha Jet

Hanger-7 North American B25 Mitchell Salzburg Austria

North American B25 Mitchell

Hanger-7 F4U Corsair Salzburg Austria

F4U Corsair

 

Hanger-7 Formula 1 Racer Salzburg Austria

Token Formula 1 Racer

After your visit you might want to enjoy the restaurant, one of the 2 bars or the lounge on site.  The restaurant, Icarus, is Michelin rated.

Hanger-7 is open from 9 am – 10 pm every day.  During my stay, I was using public buses to get around outside the main walkable parts of Salzburg.  I had seen on the website to take the #2 bus and get off at the Karolingerstrasse stop and “you’ll see the Hanger right in front of you”.  So I pulled out my handy map of the bus system and started my journey.

When I got off at Karolingerstrasse, the hanger was not right in front of me and there were no signs saying “Hanger-7 this way”! Luckily someone else got off the bus with me and knew the way.  So if you take the bus, cross the street and continue down Karolingerstrasse until you do see the hanger on your right.  It was probably another 5 minutes or so down the street.

My other suggestion would be timing your visit.  Since I had many other things I wanted to do this day, some of which included beer, I decided to visit early.  I arrived about 9:45 am and was at first a little disappointed with the number of planes and cars on display.  As I wandered around they started bringing more planes and helicopters into the hanger.  So my suggestion would be to visit later in the day so all of the displays are complete.

All in all I had an enjoyable time at Hanger-7 and can recommend it to all you airplane and car fans.  I know the next time I’m in Salzburg (with my husband) I will be going again!

Oh yea, I forgot to mention that entrance is Free!!!

 

Is Hanger-7 someplace you would like to visit?

Salzburg’s Altstadt-Music and History

Salzburg Austria is probably best known for music.  It is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and you can find music everywhere from street performers, parks, churches, opera houses, at one of the many festivals held throughout the year or on the Sound of Music tour!

This is a short video of some street performers I ran into within the first few hours of arriving in Salzburg.  Looking at YouTube, it seems this quartet has been around awhile!

What I found recently was a city that is also a visual display of its history.

Salzburg is a city of approximately 150,000 people that is divided by the Salzach River and bordered on the other side by a small mountain rising sharply from the city, the Monchberg.

Old Town Salzburg across Salzach river Austria

Old Town Salzburg by Jiuguang Wang

The Altstadt is the core of the city. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the Altstadt has an enchanting feel to it with all the alluring old houses, charming platz’s complete with fountains celebrating Salzburg’s heroes, churches, cafes and tempting shops.Fountain Salzburg Austria

This part of Salzburg is a walker’s delight.  Car free, it is easy and fun getting lost just by wandering the streets.  You will always find yourself in familiar territory very shortly and you never know what discovery you will make at each turn.  Hidden alleyways or great local markets are just some of the gems you may run into!Wandering the streets of Salburg Austria

Mixed in among the narrow streets and grand platz’s are sites not to be missed including St. Peter’s Abbey and Cemetery, Salzburg Cathedral, the Residenze and Mozart’s birthplace.Salzburg Cathedral Interior Austria

The Salzburg Cathedral is considered to be one of the finest Baroque buildings north of the Alps.  There has been a cathedral on this spot since the 8th century.  As you walk into the cathedral you will notice 3 dates above the doors notating the date of major renovations to the cathedral.  Also as you enter, you will notice 4 statues depicting 2 apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, and the 2 patron saints of the cathedral, St. Rupert and St. Virgil.  Mozart was baptized in this cathedral.  He was also the organist and many of his compositions were played for the first time in Salzburg cathedral.St. Peter statue at Salzburg Cathedral Austria

The Residenze and its famous horse fountain were built between 1600 and 1619 and was the home of the prince-archbishops.  A tour through the State rooms and Imperial Halls offer views into life at this time – at least if you were a prince bishop that is!  Mozart was invited to play for the bishops guests many times in the Residenze.

The Altstadt of Salzburg is a wonderful mélange showcasing the history of this town that was so important to the region in years past.  Besides touring the sights make sure to leave time relishing the ambiance at one of the many cafes or brew pubs!Cake and Coffee Salzburg Austria

 

What is your favorite thing to do in Salzburg’s altstadt?

Travel Photo Thursday: Salzburg Teasers

Next week I’ll start detailing my recent trip to Salzburg.

To kick this off I thought I’d share a few images of beautiful photogenic Salzburg!Salzburg City View Austria

Isn’t this a beautiful city?!?

I wandered up to Nonnberg Abbey, yes the monastery where Maria von Trapp spent time at, and saw these doors. They reminded me of the scene in The Sound of Music when the children went to get Maria so I snapped this picture!

Nonnberg Abbey Salzburg Austria

We need to speak with Fraulein Maria!

Salzburg Austria View

A wonderful view of a magical city.


For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Every Thursday they post new photos from their travels and invite others to join in!

Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

 

 

 

Gulaschsuppe, Gulyasleves or Goulash Soup

While traveling I am not a “foodie” per se. That doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to meals when traveling, I just don’t travel to locations to visit a certain chef’s restaurant nor do I even visit the “it” restaurant in town.

I do, however, love local traditional cuisine and that is what I search out.

On my first ever trip to Germany, I absolutely fell in love with Gulaschsuppe (Goulash soup) and it is something I look forward to any time I am in Germany or Austria.

On my latest trip I had Gulaschsuppe in Innsbruck . . . three times,Goulash Soup Innsbruck Austria

This one I had it with a wonderful nice green salad.More Goulash Soup Innsbruck Austria

Salzburg once. Goulash Soup Stiegl Brewery Salzburg Austria

I added an absolutely amazing potato/cabbage salad.  Oh my god, this salad was so good!  But then so was the soup and beer 🙂

And when in Budapest I just had to try the local version for a comparison.  The broth of this soup was wonderful and was extremely good for dunking the bread that came with it 🙂Goulash Soup Budapest Hungary

Goulash soup is a beef based soup with tomatoes, caraway and paprika!  In Germany and Austria the broth is a little thicker and usually contains small chunks of beef and potato in equal portions.

Gulyasleves in Budapest has a thinner broth with a little beef and TONS of potatoes and carrots!  Yah, vegetables.

I still love Gulaschsuppe, Gulyasleves or Goulash Soup even after 5 servings in 2 weeks.  They were all so good and I can’t say one was better than the other.

All I can say is the German version just holds a very special spot in my heart!

 

What type of food do you look for when traveling?  Any specialties that stick out?