Date of Trip: October 2012
I interrupted my solo travel in Germany to join an on-line contact for a two day trip to the Salzburg, Austria, area during the early part of October. She had rented a car for the trip from Munich and had reserved a nice room at a Best Western hotel near the Salzburg train station. I found out too late about her lodging and had to reserve a room nearer the old town portion of Salzburg. I was greatly impressed by the hospitality and help of the staff where she stayed. We arrived near noon, she checked in, and then we traveled to the nearby Hellbrunn Castle where the tour guide delighted in demonstrating the water system there that squirts water on unsuspecting guests. The gazebo used in the film Sound of Music is also at the palace.
Following that, we traveled to Golling Falls which is a treat for any photographer and a workout for those young of heart but not of leg. We returned to her hotel and I caught the S-bahn into Salzburg where I eventually found my hotel located in a shopping center. The following day, we left early to go to the Dachstein Ice Cave and Five Fingers viewing platform on the Salzkammergut mountain. The drive there was like you see in the high performance automobile commercials here in the States with lots of curves, hills, and dips, along with fantastic scenery. The trip up the mountain via gondolas (yep, two stages so two gondolas) was picturesque and nerve-wracking for those with a deep respect for or downright fear of heights. The ice cave tour was very interesting and the guide spoke English and German so we got a great geological education and opportunity to take lots of photos. Some ice there is over 700 years old. We had an option to see an additional cave but we decided to forego it in order to go to the Five Fingers viewing stand.
Following a great and physically exhaustive time on the mountain, we traveled to picturesque Hallstatt to enjoy the centuries old town until almost dusk. Tired, enthusiastic, but out of time, we traveled back to Salzburg. We had a look at old town Salzburg the following drizzly morning but had to leave for Germany in order to meet travel dates. Will return when I have more time. Fantastic travel partner! Great trip!