Friday, 18 March 2016

Exploring Salzburg

After a good nights sleep, we wrapped up warm to brave Salzburg's cold weather and find some breakfast.

Today we wanted to try as much food as possible and of course, top up on as much Gluhwein as we could.

We wandered through the different pretty markets, working up an appetite. I can't say that Austrian food is the prettiest but it definitely tastes better than it looks.

This probably looks very unappealing but it was one of the best things we tried all weekend....Goulash. It's a meaty stew seasoned with paprika and spices. Very hearty and delicious, despite it being served in a plastic bowl.

We also noticed that everything is served with a bread roll. Even the sausages were served in bread rolls.

This is called 'Leberk√§sesemmerl' (try pronouncing that) which consisits of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions and is made by grinding the ingredients very finely and then baking it as a loaf in a bread pan until it has a crunchy brown crust. 

It was interesting...

Tucking into my cheese filled Kasekrainer (sausage to you and me).


Unfortunately the weather turned just as we decided to go up and explore Fort Hohensalzburg, a huge 11 century fortress complex on top of the hill. 
On a clear day you can see for miles but even on a foggy day you could see the beautiful town of Salzburg nestled in the mountains. 

On the other side, we had a beautiful view of the snowy alps. 

Back on the ground, the millions of fairy lights were glowing and we wandered round the stalls in search of more warming treats.

The 'ChristKind' market outside the beautiful Cathedral is where you will find the main Christmas Markets. The traditional stalls and the twinkling lights overhead create such a warming and inviting feeling.

We were lucky on our last night to experience something quite traditional and very quirky.
In Austro-Bavarian Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned anthropomorphic figure who, during Christmas, punishes children who have misbehaved.
Although the Krampus can appear in many forms, he is usually black, hairy and has horns of a goat. He has a long tongue which lolls out and has fangs.

In Salzburg it is tradition that on the last 4 Sundays before Christmas, the Krampusses parade the streets, ringing bells and thrashes chains for dramatic effect. It really was a sight to see and a little scary actually. You can completely understand why children would be terrified of this creature. 

As they run round the Cathedral and the square, swatting visitors with their Rute (switch made of birch branches) we managed to get closer for a few cheeky pictures.

Before they swatted me and run away.

It definitely was a highlight to the trip and I felt quite lucky that I got to experience something very traditional.

Before we left I noticed that you could get a horse and cart ride around the city. I couldn't resist. 
We hopped in to a beautiful carriage and wrapped up warm beneath the blankets. Our driver asked if we wanted a quiet ride or whether we wanted to learn a little about the city as we went past, which we did. 

It was thoroughly enjoyable and if you get the chance I would highly recommend that you do take a trip round the city. 
We learnt so much about the city and not only that but it was nice to sit back, relax and watch everything go by. 

Salzburg was a wonderful trip and would be perfect for any getaway not just Christmas. 

What's on your list of places to visit? Do you have anywhere I should go next?

Friday, 11 March 2016

A winter Trip to Salzburg

Just before Christmas we set off for a new adventure and made our way to Salzburg to visit the Christmas Markets.

It’s become quite a tradition to visit the traditional markets every year and this year was no exception. Last year we went to Berlin and this year we decided to see what the Austrian markets had to offer.

Opting for Salzburg, the home of Mozart and The sound of Music we were excited to explore and see what it had in store for us.
Boarding an extremely early flight to Salzburg we landed at about 10am and were welcomed by a very cold, crisp wintery morning and bright blue skies.
Wrapped up warm we made our way to the hotel. 

One of the best things about travelling to Salzburg is not only is the flight quite short, the town is about 15 minutes from the airport. So for a weekend break, it’s perfect.
We stayed in the Crowne Plaza and after being surprised with a room upgrade, strawberries in the room and the biggest bathroom I have seen, we were ready to explore the town.

The town is extremely picturesque and when we went it was fairly quiet too. Which allowed us to happily wander through the cobbled streets admiring the views. It wasn't long before we started to crave something to keep us warm and what could be better than a glass of Gluhwein. 

Similar to Berlin you pay for a glass of Gluhwin and a small deposit for your cup which you can hand back afterwards or keep it if you wish. If you've read my Berlin posts from last year, I'm sure you'll have guessed by now that I kept quite a few.

We wandered around the pretty market stalls of which there were lots, offering all different kinds of trinkets and presents to take home to your loved ones. 

The toys above are what I call 'Smoking Men'. You fill them with incense and once lit the smoke starts to escape through their mouth or whatever instrument they made be holding. Very traditional and a great present, we spent a while picking out the best Australian looking figures. 

And of course, if food is something you are more interested in...then there is plently of that too. 

From fresh fruit to sausages and amazing sweet treats, there is something here for everyone. 
We were particularly keen to try the marshmallow filled pastries which seemed something of a tradition and unlike anything I had really tried before. 

My advice....share one. They are very filling. 

 Homemade warm bread with delicious raclette cheese topped with bacon and leaks. Exactly what you need to keep warm on a chilly evening. 

More on the Austrian food tomorrow. 

In the evening I was surprised to return to the hotel to receive a 'turn down service' I didn't really realise that this actually happened. Not only where our covers turned down but they left us mini chocolates and a Sudoku puzzle each.
Which naturally we raced each other to see who was the fastest.

Tucked up in the biggest and comfiest bed I've slept in in ages. We fell fast asleep ready for another day of adventuring.