It’s easy to let your mind go to far places on a day like today. Today is the 68th anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy Invasion of WW II. We wake up this morning in Dachau. The concentration camp, here, was burgeoning with Holocaust victims on that day back then. Horrible things were happening only a couple of Km’s from us.
But here we are on a beautiful Spring morning waking up at the Hotel Huber Garni — which has become one of our favorite overnight places. The hotel is not in a commercial area; it’s more like a neighborhood with an oversized house in it. After readying ourselves for the day’s journey, we found our way to the breakfast room which was nicely set up with a typical German breakfast buffet. The proprietor, Herr Armin von Khuon-Wildegg, offered to cook us eggs to our liking (perhaps commensurate with his name!(. We were the only ones breakfasting at that time so we had a lovely breakfast. Herr Wildegg was a model of German efficiency and could have been a sergeant in the Prussian army — but we weren’t in Prussia and it wasn’t 1900.
When we drove away we had a bit of a challenge getting out of town because we had a stop or two to make. First, we went to Techno-Markt and bought an audio cord so we could play an iPod through the VW radio. We picked up some AA batteries for SSB’s Nikon Coolpix, and we got a cool 220 volt to USB converter for charging our stuff in Europe. After that we went to the local ARAL convenience store, tanked up, got some bottles of water and a couple of snacks and were on our way for the day.
Originally, we had intended to go out to the KZ Memorial (concentration camp) to tour around. But I suggested to Sylvia that we should forgo that because it seemed like such a dark thing to do after the “light” of yesterday in Neckartailfingen and the discoveries about the Fischer family. I had been to the camp before, in February, 1996. That day was dark and dank and stormy and seemed appropriate to the theme of the camp. But today was gorgeous so we decided to press on to Salzburg.
Salzburg may have been the biggest disappointment of our entire trip ! I had been to Salzburg in 1968 and dubbed it the most beautiful place I had ever seen. But today there were easily 100 times more people. It is a traffic nightmare. And it has lost its character as the birthplace of Mozart. It was way over commercialized and there were just too many people — most of whom had no idea about history or Mozart. To top it off there was advertising that “Bob Dylan and his Band” were coming to town. Now, that’s just wrong !! Wrong wrong wrong !! Let people go to New Jersey to see Dylan. Let Mozart reign in Salzburg!
We parked a ways from the center of town and paid the parking automat to stay there until 16:52 then walked a couple of kilometers back into town through a pedestrian tunnel which passed under Hohensalzburg (the fortress on the hill). We found ourselves in Herbert von Karajan Platz where SSB took pictures inspired by the Spanish Riding School (which is actually in Vienna) then walked up past the hall where the Salzburg Festival will begin on July 20th. We walked on through some of the areas where Julie Andrews aka Maria von Trapp sang “I have Confidence” in the Sound of Music back in 1965. Finding some of those sites was fun; seeing that they were too crowded to even get a good picture of them, was not.
We were “looking” for a spot to have a bite of lunch — but never found it. It wasn’t exactly lunch time. We did pick up some Mozart Kugeln, a fridge magnet, and a funny little plaque about music conductors which SSB wants to marry with my conducting picture of 1978 (in my den). We wandered some of the alleys and some of the shops but were a little daunted by the crowds which made it so we had to walk “sideways” in many places. Argh !!
We got back to the car somewhat before the meter ran out, but we were tired, so it was OK. Sylvia’s pedometer reported that we had walked over 5 miles, so we felt we had paid all the respects we could during a 3 hour visit to Salzburg. We departed to Innsbruck. It took us most of 45 minutes to make it through the traffic jam to the Autobahn, but after that, it was a lovely drive — however, it had clouded up and was raining (moderately) along the way.
We arrived in Innsbruck before dark (still raining) and made it to the Hotel Goldener Adler, which turned out to be an extremely historical place. A significant number of luminaries from Mozart on had stayed there. However, the hotel was actually founded in 1390. There is an adjoining restaurant which we partook of immediately because we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. The hotel was hard to get to because it is about 100 meters from the corner on one of those streets that have been closed to traffic (like the Stroget in Copenhagen) and are for walkers, only. There was no “hotel parking” so we had to park about 2 blocks away at an underground parking in the Alt Stadt (which ended up costing $17 !! overnight). But, nevertheless, it was a treat to stay at this old hotel which was thoroughly modern, inside. In fact, this was the only hotel, so far, that had an air conditioner — and it was not one of those noisy units like you’d find in an American motel, but was almost whisper quiet. This turned out to be one of our favorite places– but totally different in character than the night before.