Salzburg and Prague

Day 19: Salzburg
Time to head to Austria! From Berchtesgaden to Salzburg is only about a 20 minute bus ride, so I had most of the day to explore the town. I caught lunch at a restaurant/brewery called Die Weisse, where I sampled a local beer called a märzen. It was light and refreshing with a lot of carbonation, but I won’t count it among my best from the trip.

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9. Die Weisse Märzen
Grade: B

Walking around the Salzburg Old Town was beautiful.

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The cliff dividing the city (Mönchsberg) gives the city a dramatic backdrop.

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An unfortunate trend in Salzburg is Mozart-themed merchandise, which I saw all over the old town. There are some nice buildings, some of which looked awfully familiar… from the Sound of Music.

In the afternoon I went for a “mountain” run up the Kapuzinerberg, the highest hill in the city. It probably involved 150m or so of elevation gain, so it was quick but steep! It’s a bad sign when your run starts like this: stairs or ramp?

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Then I passed some particularly gruesome sculptures depicting the stations of the cross before breaking out into the woods. More stairs?

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At the top is an old monastery. Great location for a bombardment/fortress!

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And for views of the city:

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A bit lower down you can see the old town really well:

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After getting my knees pounded by the stairs and rocks on the descent, I crossed town to run up and along the Mönchsberg. The castle costs money so I didn’t go in, but I found a great lookout nearby with views to the Alps

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Running toward the art museum along the top of the escarpment, I came upon a big piece of the old city wall.

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The route back to the hostel took me past the Augustiner brewery. If only I had an extra day to take the tour! By this time, it was getting dark and I amused myself by watching the Sound of Music at my hostel and noticing all the local places featured.

Salzburg is super pretty but I’m not sure there’s a lot here to keep me busy for several days. Onward to Prague!

Day 20: Prague
Today was interesting. I left Salzburg by train to Linz, then a bus to Prague. But in Çeska Budejovice, we got rear ended by a car and waited about an hour for that to get cleared up. No injuries, so we proceeded on to Prague.

The weather was bad, but I did a walking tour of the old town square and surroundings. The main square has the old city hall with an awesome astronomical clock – on the hour it does a little glockenspiel routine and a skeleton rings a bell. Bones seem to be a motif here in the Czech Republic (the famous “bone church” is in a nearby town).

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I was pleasantly surprised by how pretty Prague is. All the buildings are super old, and there is a somewhat consistent aesthetic between them.

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I got dinner at a local brewery and was blown away by the quality of the lagers.

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10. Il tri ruzi Dark Lager
Grade: A+

This beer had the chocolate/coffee flavors of a stout, but in a lagered beer. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just not as “chewy” or heavy as a stout. Great beer! I ordered another kind!

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11. Il try ruzi Vienna Red
Grade: A-
In the states, red ales are super bitter tasting to me. This red lager, on the other hand, was not very hoppy and had a nice caramel taste.

I finished the day with a walk to St. Wenceslaus Square. He was a king of Czech lands long ago and became the eternal protector and patron saint of the Czech people as his legend developed.

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Day 21
The main attraction today was Prague Castle, and it did not disappoint. Prague Castle has a rowdy history. The castle was the site of not one, but two Great Defenestrations, when Catholic councilors were thrown out of the castle by the Hussites.

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There are a few buildings to visit, the most notable being the Old Royal Palace and St. Vitus’s Cathedral. The old palace is very fortified and has some great stone work:

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St. Vitus is an above-average cathedral. My highlight was the spectacular stained glass window; I believe it depicts the Ascension on top and definitely Pentecost on the bottom, but look at that color!

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St. Wenceslaus is also buried here in a stately tomb.

While in the area I checked out a nearby monastery. They also brew beer here, but I was underwhelmed by the flavor.

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12. Pivovar Natuska Dark Lager
Grade: B-

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On my way back home I bought some game-changing street food, a trdelnik, which is dough wrapped around a wooden stick, roasted over wood coals, and coated with cinnamon sugar. I have to figure out how to make them at home. Less fatty and sweet than a funnel cake or elephant ear but tastier.

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And then it was off to Vienna in the morning! I would like to spend a couple more days in Czech at some point; I missed some key side trips and I feel like Prague has more to offer.

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One thought on “Salzburg and Prague”

  1. Great write-up! Salzburg is so beautiful esp w/mountains surrounding. I hope I get to visit there someday. Your picture of the old castle is especially good – nicely framed and a little wistfully misty. Glad you’re having fun!

    Like

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