Next, getting from Innsbruck to Ljubljana directly would have also been tedious, again lengthy, again with two changes of train. The stopover at Salzburg allowed me not only to ease my travel schedule somewhat and enjoy another city I love and have visited more than once, but to take a half day tour to...well again! That also would be getting ahead of my story!
After my four days in Ljubljana I trained directly to Munich and while it was the longest rail journey of my trip it was worth it to me, as I would fly back to the US (alas) from Munich. I suppose I could have, and sometimes think I should have spent one day more in Slovenia, but the thought of a long travel day less than 24 hours ahead of a very long flight home did not appeal, so I decided on two nights in Munich, giving me a chance to stroll around another favorite European city, and one I'd first visited all the way back in 1968, before many of my readers (if there will BE many readers) were born!
|Milan's amazing Duomo|
|My hotel room|
|My drinks and fancy bread plate|
|My Risotto a la Milanese - also on the left my excellent waiter brought me olives|
to go with my wine.
|My veal cutlet a la Milanese|
|I said I didn't want dessert, but he brought me|
biscotti, gratis! Great meal!
But there was another reason I wanted to spend just a little time in Milan. When planning my itinerary I was not certain that I'd ever get back to that city. Now having completed the journey I am almost convinced that I won't return. After all, "la vita e trope breve", and I think it may be time to look for greener pastures. If I were never to see Milan again I thought of the one must-see attraction in Milan that I had never been able to get to: Da Vinci's "The Last Supper." So I tried booking an entry - timed entries MUST be pre-booked and well in advance - but I failed miserably. Not only is late May very pretty in that area of Italy, but the only day I had to spare was a Sunday.
But then I discovered a way to see the masterpiece - a bus tour! It wasn't cheap, and it included sights I'd already seen, but there are a few companies that do such tours of the city that include a guaranteed entrance to that great, fading work of art. The tour worked with my schedule (my train arrived at 12:30 and the tour began two hours later). So I booked it - for close to $100 - as noted, it was not cheap).
|The castle, or Castello Sforzescu (the castle of the Sforza family)|
from an earlier trip, in 2006
The tour was guided of course, by a sharp, well-spoken middle-aged woman. She narrated a tale or two about the castle as we passed by it (in case you take the tour and think you're going to actually into the castle, you won't). Then she took us on a tour of the Duomo or cathedral, and while I make a pilgrimage to that beautiful church every time I'm in Milan I found the guide's remarks interesting and learned a few things, so I enjoyed that.
|The Duomo interior|
|A martyr, forgetting which one - there were so many|
this one was flayed - I might have noticed an oddity
in the skin, but...well, now I know!
|The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, from an earlier trip|
|One of the walkways of the Galleria V-E II|
|the center ceiling of the Galleria|
|La Scala, also from an earlier visit|
|The bust of Arturo Toscanini |
at the La Scala Museum
|One of the famous posters at the La Scala Museum|
|Santa Maria Delle Grazie, where Leonardo's masterpiece is housed|
|We were allowed to take photos without flash - so...|
Our brief time with the masterwork was aided considerably by our guide, who described the different groupings that make up the fresco, the method Leonardo used in his painting, and so on. If I had enjoyed nothing else on this approximate 3 hour tour of Milan (and I had enjoyed parts of it, despite my previous experience with some of the sights, despite the rain), seeing this was worth the near $100 I had paid for the tour.
|Dottore Gianni at Sta Maria delle Grazie|
|View of Salzburg's castle and Cathedral spires, from my table |
at the Salzach Grill
|my lunch at the Salzach Grill|
|After lunch I had a bit of time to kill before my tour, so - well! Guess what's|
playing at the local theatre?
|My tour left just across the street from the Mirabell Gardens, so I lounged around |
there before heading out
|Mirabell Palace and the mountains beyond|
|My new girlfriend, the ballerina of Mirabell gardens|
But I will describe very little about this fine city, as I decided that I would spend all of my afternoon there on a tour of the area around Salzburg, the Salzkammergut, alive with mountains, dotted with gorgeous lakes, every bit as worth spending your time as is Salzburg. After several visits this would be my first trip out into the hinterlands, and I wanted to make the most of it.
|NOT the tour I chose - but for people who like that sort of thing...|
that is the sort of thing they like.
Seven or eight of us stuffed into a minivan with our driver-guide and very soon we were out of the city and into lovely countryside. Our first - not stop really, but slowdown - was a peek at the home office of Red Bull!
|Red Bull? No bull!|
|First glimpse of St Gilgen and Wolfgangsee or Lake Wolfgang|
|How to make a pretty picture even prettier? Add Dottore Gianni! heh heh|
|My ride up the lake arrives|
|The near constant view - lovely mountains|
|Austria's mountain lakes offer clean. clear water|
|Our bright little boat pulls in to a pier|
|Off we go!|
|I could find it in my heart (if not in my pocketbook) to live here|
|Approaching Sankt Wolfgang|
|Here's the proof|
Our guide had dropped us at the St Gilgen pier, got us on the boat, and was waiting for us at the St Wolfgang Pier. What a lovely village! There are several reason to like it, first for its unassuming looking pilgrimage church. Step inside and your first impressions will be dashed, as there are two beautiful altars in it, the first a stunning mix of carving and painting by 15th century artist Michael Pacher. It is considered his masterpiece and one of the finest altars in all of Europe.
|Two altars, Michael Pacher's center rear, Schwanthaler's in the front at left|
|Schwanthalers altar up close|
|Michael Pacher altar up close|
|View from my table at Im Weissen Rossl|
Quite different from the church but with an interesting tale attached is the 19th century inn, Im Weissen Rossl (at the White Rose, or just The White Rose). It's a beautiful place, and I could probably never afford it. I DID have an aperitif in its lakeside bar/restaurant as it was late afternoon, and as I had built up a thirst.
|The house aperitif, the Rossl-Spritzer - a bit frilly-fizzy for a man who|
likes his vodka straight out of the freezer, one ice cube added to keep it cold,
but it wasn't bad
|Facade of Im Weissen Rossl - a bit red for a place that means|
WHITE Rose, but there you have it
|Painted building and shop in St Wolfgang|
|A view from the minibus as we headed towards Mondsee|
|"The Hills are Alive..." you can just see the spire of |
St Wolfgang Pilgrimage Church in the middle distance
|Mondsee Abbey - the shopping looks good there too!|
|Marina at Mondsee|
|The house our guide would like for her and her husband-to-be - good taste!|
As she drove us back to Salzburg she told us to sit back, take in the views and listen to music. Not Rodgers and Hammerstein, but Mozart. Again, good taste!
And a lovely day out.
I found time to take a quick stroll through the old town before heading back in the direction of my hotel. A few pics of the city, to tease any of you who have not yet been, a gentle shove for you to visit:
|A pretty walking/jogging/biking path into Salzburg|
|The house where Mozart was born - the Germans are|
so economical - why use four or five words when
you can use one: Geburtshaus!
|The statue of Mozart in the old town|
|The Salzburg Cathedral|
|A square in Old Town - what is the man doing atop that sphere?|
How did he get there? God (and maybe Mozart) only knows!
|Next to the sphere an over-sized chessboard - looks like a serious match!|
|Where I et my dinner|
|What I et - yummy!|
|Marienplatz in Munich - the Old Town Hall (ratshaus) in the background|
(Lederhosen at front right)
Finally Munich! I'd like to begin by telling you that I know this city like the back of my hand - except that on my recent visit I got lost between my hotel (very near the Hauptbahnhof (or main rail station) and Marienplatz, the main square in the city. If I had taken the way I KNEW would get me from one to the other there would not have been a problem, but I decided to take a short cut, which left me completely confused, heading away from the destination I convinced myself I was heading towards.
|Where I had dinner - the cellar (keller) of the RAThaus - ergo Rathskeller - |
the oversized fellow on the left seems to have just eaten a big meal there!
|The dining room of the Rathskeller - and the Ugly American dominating (in more ways than one) a nearby table|
|Not the worst wurst I've ever eaten!|
|The huge ornamental beer keg next to my table|
When they finally exited the dining room, everyone eating in it burst into spontaneous applause. No, not really but everyone was applauding inside, I'm certain. At least I was. Thank god she's gone.
What? Excuse me? OH! Right, I'm supposed to tell you about Munich, not a nightmare-from-hell Ugly-American tourist.
|Strolling down Marienplatz|
|What a bore - er, make that boar - on Marienplatz|
And now I will. I DO know the city well. My first visit was in 1968, when I was stationed at a tiny town a few hours' train ride north. A friend of mine and I spent a long weekend there, hit the museums, strolled around the city streets, parks, squares, even went out to Dachau for a sobering look at one of the all too many concentration camps. Then I spent a full week in Munich in 1999, on my first sabbatic leave from Ithaca College, when I was collecting information and photos to enhance my theatre history class. A few years later I took my mother and my Aunt Roseann (wife of mom's youngest brother Bob) there on a trip that also included Salzburg (ah) and Vienna (ah, again). In a trip only a year or so ago I dashed in and out on a train from Nuremberg simply to get my nephew a shirt from the great Bayern-Munich football team, though I admit to including a large beer and wonderful wurst and sauerkraut at the Hofbrauhaus, just a few doors down from the shop where I bought the gift.
|Bayern-Munich gifts sold here!|
|The Rathaus made even more colorful by the Hare Krishna singers|
And I love it, simply love it. It is busy and bustling, beautiful in spots; in others, near the rail station for example not so nice, but that's true of almost any big city; it has wonderful museums, a palace or two worth strolling through, and from it day trips can be had to the beautiful mountains and castles of Southern Bavaria. If I could live anywhere in the world Munich would be high on my list.
|Karlsplatz, major entrance to Marienplatz - if you look carefully|
at the fountain you may see a rainbow
|The Residenz, royal palace in Munich|
|Gardens next to the Residenz|
|Sunday morning at the Cafe Luitpold|
|Posh section of the cafe - reservations only - not for me - but I|
could still hear the music!
|tiny selection of cakes at the Luitpold|
|A few other treats too|
|My own modest treat|
|An a cappella choir at the Theatinerkirche|
|Intricately decorated building just off Marienplatz|
|The facade of St Michael's Church, on my way back to the hotel|
|The Rathaus as clean as I've ever seen it|
|I ate Italian for my last meal - and over their exit door this is what they posted|
nudeln for sehen? Well, it WAS a pasta place!