We were lucky enough to meet two Austrians Silvia and Werner on our travels in South America who were traveling for 5 months and we managed a few chance meetings as we all crossed paths. On our last meeting we were told to come visit when we made it to Austria.
So we hopped on a train in Vienna and within an hour and a half were in Linz where we were greeted on the platform by Silvia and Werner. I must admit that after over three months traveling, it was lovely seeing some familiar faces. We then headed out and spent the afternoon seeing the sights with our own personal tour guides. Coffee and Austrian cake at a cafe with a view overlooking Linz, walking over the Danube and visiting the very impressive Church.
We then headed to the Christmas market and sampled the hot punch which was delicious!
Our next stop was Wartberg, the town where Silvia and Werner live about 20kms outside of Linz. Here we spent the evening catching up on our travels and eating and drinking beautiful food and wine. And homemade Austrian shnapps which actually were pretty good. Apparently they aid in digestion so we obviously had to have more than one.
It becomes obvious how much Australian slang I use when talking to people whose native tongue is not English. I was regailing Silvia and Werner about our time in the jungle and was excitedly telling the story of how others saw a “bloody” jaguar! They both looked at me and asked why was the Jaguar dead? It took me a minute to see the problem. It was pretty funny.
The next day we headed out to Salzberg which was about an hour and a half drive. We were so lucky Silvia and Werner brought us here as we would have missed one of the most picturesque cities we have seen. Quaint would be the word. A winding river, beautiful church, old cobble stone streets lined with beautiful baroque buildings, courtyards filled with Christmas markets and the piece de resistance was the fort Festung Hohensalzburg perched on top of the hill. It really was something else. Quite a few people agreed with us as the place was busy with people walking the streets. It gave the place a real bustle.
We walked the path up to the castle and were rewarded with a views over the rooftops of the city.
The fort was built over 900 years ago by the cardinals who wanted to protect their wealth and I must admit it must have been some treasure because the fortifications were impressive.
We wandered back into Salzburg where Mozart was born and ended up in a traditional Austrian pub eating pork and chicken snitzel, a traditional Austrian dish.
Back to Wartberg for a quick look around their little Christmas market. The town’s population is 4000 and it really is very pretty. Silvia and Werner joked that we were the first Australians to come visit. But everyone we met were lovely and I think they enjoyed using their rusty English, even if it was only hello and goodbye. We then settled in back home for some more lovely home cooked meals and even got treated to Silvia’s mum’s Christmas cookies which were delicious!
We finished the night with a drink or two or three at the local bar which surprisingly was a 50’s style American diner. We met Irmi and Wolfgang, friends of Silvia and Werner and spent several hours talking about differences in culture and government between Austria and Australia. It was fascinating discovering the differences especially between two countries that you would think would have similar health care and tax policies. It is amazing how much more you learn of a country by talking to locals.
The next day we unfortunately had to leave and continue on our travels. We managed a morning walk to the highest point in Wartberg to get a little view over the town. Then we headed home and picked up our packed lunch which included cookies from Silvia’s mum. We felt very loved and wished we could have stayed longer. But the show must go on! Thanks once again Silvia and Werner for a lovely weekend with beautiful people and wonderful hospitality! S
“In Linz beginnt’s”. It begins in Linz. A small town famous for its invention and everywhere we noticed the marrying of old and new. It was great having Werner explaining the history of the town and what the main industries were.
Our first view of the town of Salzburg! Pretty beautiful!
The Main Street through the centre of Salzburg.
The detail in the main church was amazingly intricate. These are actually statues surrounding the paintings.
I don’t know how you would ever think of being able to attack this castle!
A view over the city centre from the castle walls.
Really one of the most impressive castles we have seen.
The chapel on the hilltop in the village of Wartberg.
The village of Wartberg.