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?

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