Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Austrian Walk About Part VII

My Austrian walk about has come to an end but not without some fond memories not mentioned in previous parts. The first being that I survived the walk about only because I slowed down considerably the last couple of days, didn't participate in any bicycle riding and took a nap in the afternoon.

I'm not sure how I didn't end up in the hospital at some point because of some accident with bicyclists, cars or buses. I had the feeling that pedestrians were at the bottom of the food chain in Salzburg. There were strict rules about where people could walk and God forbid they didn't abide. Wherever you went the sidewalks were divided into two lanes: one for cyclists and of course the other for pedestrians. You couldn't miss which lane you were required to be in as they were painted with icons every twenty-five feet. Now if you should be walking and accidentally stray into a cyclist's lane, one of two things might happen. The cyclist might ring their little tricycle bell and yell (of course I wouldn't understand what they were saying but could imagine) or the cyclist could leave their tire marks as tattoos on your body. I survived the cyclists' attacks.

Then there were near misses with the automobiles and buses at lighted intersections. I quickly learned that intersections also had very strict rules. As here in the States there are marked crosswalks in which cars are required to stop, however it doesn't seem to apply to cyclists. They'll still run you over. At any rate pedestrians must wait for the appropriate light prior to crossing. In case you have visual problems the green icon light has a bell similar to the start of a horse race. The first time I heard it, I truly felt like we were off on a race.

While waiting to cross it should be noted that you don't want to stand too close to the corners as buses try to cut the corners as close as they can. That means you could lose some toes or even a foot. Worse yet you may end up with bus tire track tattoos. The picture below was taken at a very safe distance from the advancing bus. I should mention that they were double buses.

Once you managed to make it to the city we seemed to always use the pedestrian only street. It was loaded with tiny shops perfect as tourists' traps.

On one of the last days of our walk about we were somewhere near this area when we came across an eatery serving sea food. What do you think about these window dressings? Make you want to go in?

Or how about this takeout?

I noticed my Blog on the 4th of July didn't mention that Heiko and Lalith helped us to celebrate just a little. No there weren't any fireworks but the hotel was preparing a barbecue. As we left for our trek to the hospital we noticed Lalith using a hair dryer to flame the coals in a large grill. With that I began joking with them saying we were very honored that they would throw a barbecue for us. At this point we were quickly informed that it wasn't for us but for a group of women journalists and TV news personalities. However Heiko quickly retrieved a small American flag and put it up.

As you've seen from previous pictures the garden area is a very nice place to dine. During the winter however not so nice. There is a very nice dining area inside along with two larger rooms to accommodate party groups. I found the smaller dining area for guests to be very nice.

Directly across from this area was the lounge section where I truly enjoyed spending my time.

Well, my niece, nephew and I packed up and proceeded to check out. The register desk is located on the second floor. It was right down the hallway from my room.

I think the most intriguing thing about the hotel were the number of rooms and their various locations. Even though we were there for such a long period, I still didn't see all the rooms.

We caught a taxi and headed off for the return trip to Munich. It was a beautiful ride. I still can't get over all the open farm land and forests with various villages strewn throughout. The train actually stops at the airport like many of the cities here in the U.S. From the train station in Munich we traveled by taxi once more to the Holiday Inn Express hotel located within ten minutes of the airport. That ride was the ONLY time I got ripped off while in Europe.

I was informed while in Austria transactions were completed based on honesty. Furthermore tips were not excessive and should be about 10% but no more. I couldn't help it, I left American tips. Anyhow the German taxi driver didn't give me the correct change and I was in such a hurry that I even gave him a tip - not even 10%. I was happy about that after I realized I had been cheated.

Initially my niece had strongly suggested that we eat at the airport as she indicated that the hotel was out in the middle of nowhere. I nixed the idea in hopes of exploration by the hotel for a local eatery. She was kind and respectful to her elder and agreed. My nephew was neutral. You need this background information because as we checked into our rooms I quickly glanced around for at least a dining room. My niece was correct it appeared as though we were out in the middle of nowhere and the dining area was not really inviting.

While my niece was in the middle of taking care of the transaction I inquired about the hotel's dining room. With that the receptionist suggested that we take a walk down closer to town as there were two eating spots that she felt we would enjoy. I gave a sigh of relief because I was really feeling bad about not taking my niece's suggestion of eating at the airport.

So after dropping our gear off in the room we set out for food. We weren't really interested in an Italian restaurant the receptionist suggested. Rather we were in search of the Bavarian restaurant she suggested. As we walked along we passed two Bavarian restaurants that didn't impress us at all. Then we came to the Italian restaurant.

We voted no and kept on walking. After all we were still on a walk about.

Suddenly we knew we had found the restaurant.

It was so welcoming. We took a seat at a table and awaited the waitress to take our drink order and provide us with a menu. Ok, so at times your mind is running normal and other times you think "What was I thinking?". This was one of those times. The menu was of course all in German. Fortunately the waitress spoke very good English and translated.

We ordered up beers.

There is nothing like real German beer.

We ordered our dinners and waited sipping our beers and chit chatting about our adventures; the prospects of my brother returning home in a shorter period of time than 3-4 weeks; and how to keep my anxiety level down while traveling. I am really a bad traveler.

The restaurant was filling up so our dinners took some time. Meanwhile at the table next to us a foursome of Americans sat down. The waitress had handed them the menus. It was obvious that we too were from the States so they inquired whether there were any English menus. I assured them that the waitress spoke very good English and would help them select. The group sounded as though they had a very nice vacation coming up. They were to meet up with a larger group and take a cruise on the Danube River with several port of calls.

Mine came first and as always I awaited the arrival of the others before indulging.

Not bad. It's Wiener Schnitzel with parsley potatoes. The entry came with a very nice salad.

My niece order a pork with mushrooms served in a sauce while my nephew ordered pork with bacon and cheese atop also served in a sauce. The bacon actually looked like a very thinly sliced piece of ham.

The dinner sat in front of me for quite some time. We believe my nephew's dinner arrived approximately 8 minutes later. Now I've already been sitting quite some time awaiting the waitress for our orders and now this additional time. Yep, you got it. Another beer please!

My mouth was watering and I actually think I may have been drooling. I noticed my nephew suffering the same symptoms as we waited patiently for my niece's dinner to come. We guessed that was about another 8 minutes. Upon it's arrival we dug in.

My niece made a quick kill of her warm dinner while my nephew and I thoroughly enjoyed ours. We sat for a bit more taking pictures.

We paid our bill said good-bye to our restaurant and headed back to the hotel.

So if you are ever staying near the Munich airport and want a good place to catch a meal - here's the place.

On our way we passed this gigantic weather vane. My picture doesn't do it justice.

We had a good night at the hotel

It was very clean. Our room was small but nice. When we entered I attempted to put on some lights only to find that the electricity didn't work. After several attempts my nephew remembered something he had seen elsewhere. Here you have to insert your room key in a slot to run the electricity. Guess that helps keep the cost down - how about that America?

The only problem with that cost saving idea is that even the air conditioning runs with the card. So the next morning when I was making my early morning run for coffee, I had to take the card leaving my niece and nephew to suffer the warming effect without air conditioning. With the guilt of their probable suffering, I quickly drank two cups and took the third one back to the room.

I like problem solving. The problem? Both of my hands were full so while I held the coffee in one hand and used the second to unlock the door, I found that the door automatically closed. Somehow I couldn't unlock and get into a position to get in the room. Ah, nothing like sneakers. I simply slid one sneaker off my foot. Did I say simply? Of course it wasn't simple. It took so much force that I spilled at least two sips of coffee. I finally managed to get inside, re-insert the card and not wake the kids up.

The hotel arranged for a shuttle to take us back to the airport where we once again were subjected to the indignity of going through security. Little did I know at the time that things were going to become a bit more involved.

Prior to security we had to exit with our passports. The problem we encountered here was that when we entered Europe my nephew's passport was never stamped. Now that he wanted to exit there was a problem. We were able to quickly resolve it and he passed through but it still wasn't stamped. Keep this in mind for when we enter the States.

We approached the US Airways area where our boarding passes were once again examined and told to proceed to another area. In this area representatives of the airline reviewed our passports and questioned our business while in the countries. We managed to get my nephew through again and stickers were placed on the backs of our passports. I'm not done yet.

As we continued to our next designated area we noticed that food kiosks were becoming fewer and fewer but, hey, there's always more down the terminals. Not!

We reached what we thought was the final security check. This security was the typical one found at most airports. I have to say it was one of the easier security checks. We didn't have to take our shoes off or suffer from a pat down. Upon passing through we saw yet another check in area but it appeared as though once you were in there, you couldn't get out. Also there was a real nice food stand right at the entrance.

My nephew and I bought one final beer and my niece being good got a soda. They also had these great pretzels. So we were loaded up and ready to go into the final area to board our plane. Not to be.

Turns out you can't take beer past that point. Ok, so we sat down and enjoyed our snacks. While indulging and being on the verge of finishing a large crowd of people began exiting the area in which we were to go. My nephew looked up at the board and here they had switched gates. The new one being a hop, skip and jump to our right. The crowd grew and grew, not really going anywhere. We looked over and what should we see but yet another security check.

I was exhausted before we began. Once again our boarding passes and passports were examined. We were placed in a large seating area and basically not allowed to leave. Although when nature called they let me out. Rumor had it that they were in a high security level. We think the plane was just late.

We sat and the boarding time passed. Then the scheduled time to leave passed. Everyone was quickly becoming annoyed by the delays and lack of information. After about an hour and a half we were informed that we were to be bussed out to the plane. Yeah, just what a lousy traveler like me wants to hear.

At long last we were herded into the buses and transported to the plane. When I say the plane was not handicapped accessible, take me seriously. We literally climbed steps to enter the big, big plane. In comparison to the plane we flew over to Europe this one was awful. We had no leg room or elbow room; the video didn't work ( I slept most of the time anyway); and the flight was a bit over 8 hours (of course that had nothing to do with the plane).

When I finally lost complete feeling in my legs and butt, I knew we had to be close to home. We were. We landed, passed through customs with that slight problem of my nephew's unstamped passport and headed home. I had gone through customs first explaining why we had left and returned and how my nephew's passport was never stamped. The custom's officer was very nice sharing concern and well wishes for a speedy recovery for their father to both my niece and nephew.

Hubby was standing right outside customs and happy to see us back.

Although the reason for the trip was extremely stressful, I have very good memories of the medical professionals that saved my brother's life; the hotel in which we stayed; and of course my walk about - No Kangaroos!

An Austrian Walk About Part I
An Austrian Walk About Part II
An Austrian Walk About Part III
An Austrian Walk About Part IV
An Austrian Walk About Part V
An Austrian Walk About Part VI

Have a Firecrackin Great Day!

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