After winning the quiz night and getting a good night's rest, we were all up and about at 7:30 - apparently it's a long drive to Salzburg and so we had an earlier start.
In the bus we had a bit of role reversal - Spencer was driving and Neil was playing hostess. Heading down the mountain is getting less scary now - tacking around corners and holding up the traffic in both directions seems almost normal. Heading out on a different road to any we've taken so far we saw a servo selling AdBlue for about EUR0.75 - I guess that's to be expected with a lot of Euro 5 engines around but I'd never thought about it. How do we handle it in Australia? Are the only Euro 5 engines in operation owned by big transport companies that have their own fuel points? Or is the AdBlue topped up with the 50,000km service? Interesting.
On that note, there are a lot of old looking trucks around. The styling suggests something from the 60s or 70s, and the makes are names I've never heard of. It's quite a mix, most of the vehicles on the road are ultra-modern, the same sort we see at home in the colours of forward-thinking transport companies (if that's not a contradiction in terms now that FCL is gone). But there's nothing in between - I haven't seen a single Scania 3-series, Volvo F model, or any of the square bodied Mercedes that were common in the 80s and 90s. For rigid vehicles, the Mercedes Unimog seems to be the chassis of choice, which strikes a chord for me.
On the way to Salzburg we're actually crossing the border into Germany, through the section of Bavaria where Hitler settled after being released from jail. Spencer told us the whole story, without referring to any notes, while he was driving down a winding mountain road. Amazing.
As we got in to Salzburg the first thing I noticed were overhead wires. But there were no rails and on second glance I noticed there were two on each side. Salzburg has trolleybuses! That merited some photos. They're articulated, and have trolley poles that are quite long so the bus can be in either lane and still pick up a wire without difficulty. Interestingly the wires are staggered from side to side like ours - we do it to even out the wear on a pantograph, but you can't have a pantograph when you have two wires. Mysterious!
The Europe-wide agency that organizes local tour guides for tourist buses had somehow managed to get the time wrong. Apparently they're good at that, and also at forgetting to roster anyone on at all. But when she turned up she was in traditional dress and told us her middle name was Maria.
First stop was the Salzburg zoo, where the scene with the children climbing trees was shot. Midga went up one to get his photo taken, not too high as the group had moved on. The gazebo (without an arrow sticking out of it) where Rolf and Liesl had their after-telegram date was in the same area - it was built for the movie and the producers presented it to the town once the movie was finished. We weren't allowed in but we got a photo showing the gap in the benches where Rolf knelt down and Liesl did her best to give him a nasty flesh wound with a high heel.
Then we headed for the old part of Salzburg and looked around the various ancient buildings. On the way there we were directed to look out the right side of the bus, and through the trees (throoooooough the treeeeeeeeees) we caught the merest glimpse of the house which was the model of Captain Von Trapp's mansion. The rest of the tour was about the history of Salzburg and the birthplace of Mozart, which was interesting in its way but not really what we came for. But we did walk through a cemetery and see a genuine edelweiss in bloom.
In between eating lunch, Asha went into a few clothes shops and looked for a reasonably priced (ie anything under EUR200, which is about AUD something incredible) traditional dirndl. Not a hope. Apparently there's factory outlets around, but inner city clothes shops are priced between the tropopause and low earth orbit.
We rejoined our bus and went to a town called Mondsee, which has a beautiful cathedral which is where the wedding scene was filmed. None of it was in the least bit recognizable - we'll have to watch the movie with the photos handy and try to compare. Still, the artwork was quite a sight.
We had nearly an hour to kill before our bus left, so we went to a few more clothes shops and Asha actually tried on a dirndl that was priced well within the troposphere. There was nothing that really fit her without alterations, but from the front she looked lovely. I think Midga thought so too, and when he was invited to take a photo (that's the beauty of big cameras, they can't be easily hidden) he was over the moon. A cheaper-looking shop had the kind of prices we like but not the right size. And of course ordering anything in wouldn't work.
So we sat by the lake and watched the ducks swimming around. And picked up WiFi briefly.
Back through Salzburg we saw a trolleybus which had lost its poles - it still happens, and the driver still has to get out, pull them down and put them back on. I suspect once we get back there'll be a big rethink of the Smart Passengers policy on urban transport where there's no rails.
On the way home they had a DVD of the original Sound of Music movie playing on the bus's info system. Midga took off his headphones after a while (altitude, ears, bad combination) and could still say most of the lines in time to the lip-reading. Sad.
Tonight we're going to hear the owner of our hotel play the harp for us all. Apparently he does all sorts of styles. This should be quite an evening.
You asked, we listened: more Android!
5 years ago