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Thursday, July 1
This morning we woke up at 5:30 in order to make it to our next train. Unfortunately, we hadn't seen the room owners since we first got there. We didn't know what to do, so we left a $50 bill on the table. I didn't want to short change them, and wanted to make sure they still came out on top after exchanging the currency. The room really should have been about $40, so we didn't overpay by too much. By the way, the room was really big and we had our own sink and shower. Having the toilet down the hall wasn't much of an inconvienience, either. Anyway, we made the train just in time (7:15). We got to take a short nap before arriving in Salzburg. The countryside was absolutely gorgeous. I just ~loved~ the houses in Austria!
Upon arrival in a unfamiliar train station--always the least-fun part--we tried several places before finding a place to spend the night. The bus to get there was ~so~ crowded and seemed to take forever. Finding the right street from the bus stop was another adventure, but we did eventually find the right place. After leaving our stuff there, we went out to get food.
We ended up eating at a traditional Austrian restaurant recommended by our guidebook. It was very popular with the locals and other Austrian tourists, so it was pretty crowded. The part we ate in was outside, and it was very pleasant. I didn't really like my slab of some kind of meat, but the "bread dumpling" was pretty good. We left there to find the restaurant we had dinner reservations for. It took us ~forever~ to find it! When we did, they didn't confirm our reservations or anything. They just told us what time to show up for dinner. That kind of made me mad.
It was 2:00 and we still hadn't seen any of the sights yet, so we went up to the Fortress by funicular. The view from the top was amazing. Walking through the fortress was actually kind of dull, and the audio tour contained ~way~ too much history for me to take in. But it was still all very neat. Then we went a few miles out of town to the Hellbrunn Palace. That was really enjoyable. The gardens were full of these trick water fountains that this crazy Archduke or Archbishop used to surprise his friends and people he didn't like. Some was odd, some was hilarious. But one of the best parts was watching the little kids, who just loved the whole thing. There were other things besides the fountains, though. About halfway through there was a very large miniature set of wooden figures that all did movements by water pressure. It was really amazing. Sadly, the palace itself was rather dull inside.
We went back to our hotel room to change clothes, and actually had some time to lay down for a bit. Our feet were ~so~ sore. :-( But we got dressed and walked to the Stiftskeller St. Peter restaurant and arrived almost an hour early. The place was really nice inside, though no one room was very large. The baroque hall our dinner was in was just amazing. The neat part about being early was meeting other people sitting at our table. The next ones to come in was a couple from Houston on their honeymoon, Brad and Elizabeth. They were both teachers, so they had a two-month trip planned. The most amazing thing was that they were camping their way across Europe. That takes some real nature-lovers. There was also a couple from New York and one from Colorado. The girl sitting next to me had been studying in England for the past year and was now doing a short tour with her mother before returning to California. It was neat hearing about the places all of them had been, and they all thought it was so neat that we got to spend an entire summer here. This was a first-class dinner concert. There was a string quartet that played between each course of the meal, and two wonderful opera singers. They were really amazing. The players looked like students, though they played like professionals, and the singers really should have been starring in some production. The food was good, and the dessert was even better. :-) We were very sad when it was over at 10:00.
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