Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas in Germany...Day 4: Salzburg...

I absolutely adore Salzburg.  It is one of the cutest, most adorable cities I have ever been too.  There is just something so fun about it.  Maybe it is because I love the Sound of Music?  Maybe it is because of its charming old town?  Whatever it is I was so excited about getting to visit it again, especially at Christmas time.

We woke up on Saturday had breakfast and I went for my morning run.  After getting ready to walk to the train station, Ken told me he needed to stop off at the store to buy something but he would not tell me what it was.  Finally after he found it, he told me that he was buying a lock so that we could lock it onto the bridge in Salzburg.

Tears filled my eyes.  I could not believe that he had thought to do something so sweet.  Armed with our lock, we got to the train station and boarded our very packed train to Salzburg.  About halfway though the train ride it began to snow.  Would we be lucky enough for another day of snow???

Big snow flakes falling

Once in Salzburg we started the walk to old town.  We were with a large group of people for a while until we decided to break off to walk by Mirabell Gardens.

It looks a lot different in the snow.  You might recognize the fountain from the SOM.  

On the walk to old town we were delighted that it started to snow again!  We were all bundled up and enjoying the walk along the river to the bridge.  

Beautiful-Snowy Salzburg.  That has a good ring to it doesn't it?

Another shot where you can still see that it was snowing.

We picked out a spot for our lock on the bridge and locked her up.  I have heard that people throw the key into the river but to me that is littering, so I put the key into my pocket.  

Our lock ready to be hung on the bridge

So excited that it is snowing while we do this.  

This was such a fun thing to do.

This ended up being my favorite picture from our entire trip.  It was such a sweet moment and even better that it was Ken's idea.

We then walked to old town to check out the market.  It was packed and by packed I mean PACKED.  The market was adorable but it was so crowded that it was difficult to even shop.  We walked around and I told Ken about a different market we could go to, but we would need to take a taxi cab.  We decided to go ahead and leave the old town market for hopefully less busy things.

The Salzburg Chriskindlmarkt

It was adorable, but just too crowded for our liking

Ice skaters and Mozart in Salzburg.  We did watch the kid in the center eat it right before taking this picture.

We crossed over to the other section of town and thought we were walking in the direction to get closer to the other market that is at Helbrunn Palace.  The key word here is THOUGHT.  

Look at those blue skies trying to peek out.

It turns out we walked about a mile in the incorrect direction.  Oops.  While we love Salzburg, we always seem to disagree while we are there and get a little turned around.  We decided to go ahead and go to the Augustiner Brau for a little lunch and biers to change the mood.  

This place never disappoints.  Ken enjoyed a one liter and I enjoyed my half liter of radler.  It this place cannot turn a frown upside down, you have a problem.

We really do love Augustiner Brau

We dined on schnitzel and some sweet peppers filled with cream cheese.  While we were sitting there a few different people asked me something in German and I promptly responded in German that I did not speak German.  I think they were impressed.  I mean, I was impressed with myself.  

Before we left I stuffed my gloves with some hot hands and one of the group of German men thought it was funny and tried to communicate with me.  I have no clue what they said, but they seemed to get a kick out of me filling my gloves with something.

We hailed a taxi cab and had difficulty communicating where we wanted to go.  Finally, after some pointing on my phone the cab driver understood that I was saying Schloss Hellbrunn and promptly drove us there.

This palace is home to what I was hoping would be a much quieter Christmas market.  It was dark, but the palace grounds were absolutely beautiful.  

We paid three Euros each to enter, but also received two free gluhweins.  We call that a win/win.

Hellbrunn Palace Christkindlmarkt

The market was full of trees and twinkle lights.  It was quite beautiful.

Trees galore!  It was so festive inside the palace grounds.

Some of the many treasures at one of the stalls

We wandered around the grounds and found an area that was completely committed to Krampus.  We had read a little about Krampus since we knew we would see the Krampus run in Munich, so we walked down Krampus Lane at the market.

A little Krampus history for you and Krampus himself

Krampus and me.  Thankfully he did not come to life and take me away.

This market also had a petting zoo and an area with fires where you could roast sausages and marshmallows.  Clearly we had to purchase some marshmallows to roast.

Me roasting marshmallows with all the kids.  I have no shame and was not going to miss out on the opportunity to roast marshmallows at a Christmas market in Salzburg.

So much fun.  Don't worry, I roasted a few and gave them to Ken.

As we were heading back to the market stalls, I noticed a lit path off to the side with some sort of walk.  I told Ken it was a romantic walk and we should grab gluhwein and check it out.  As soon as we turned the corner I saw an unmistakable site and squealed.  It was the gazebo from the Sound of Music!!!  

I literally squealed with delight when I saw this and promptly started singing "You are 16 going on 17."  Meanwhile, Ken had no idea what I was talking about.

Such unexpected delight!  I guess I remember reading that the gazebo was moved somewhere a few miles outside of town, but I did not realize we were at that palace to be able to see it.  Day made!  Actually, my day was made with the marshmallows, so this was definitely a huge bonus.

We walked back into the main market to shop around as I had my eye on a nutcracker.  I really wanted to get one or two to bring home and I was lucky enough to find one at this market.  I also brought a chocolate rum stick and as soon as I bit into it I could taste the rum.  Seriously, it was so strong, but so delicious too!

One of these guys came home with me.

Having a wonderful time at the Hellbrunn Palace Christmas Market

After too many gluhweins, we decided it was time to get a taxi and go back to old town.  I wanted to see the market at night before walking back to the train station.

Salzburg Christmas Market

It was a lot less crowded at night and decked out in lights

The streets of Salzburg were lined with lights.  I am telling you, this city is super charming.

The Fortress light up at night.  

We found our lock and said farewell

Mirabell Gardens and the stairs where Maria finishes off Do Rei Me with her super high note

Snacks for the train ride home.  No trip to Salzburg is complete without Mozart Balls.

We had an easy train ride home and settled in for the night at our hotel.  We had a very full, amazing day in Salzburg.  Up next is a full day in Munich complete with the Krampus Run!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas in Germany: Day 3...Innsbruck...

Innsbruck, Austria is a place that I have hoped to visit for quite some time now, but unfortunately the timing had never been appropriate on our other trips.  When thinking up day trips for this trip, I knew Innsbruck had to happen.  Let's just say that Innsbruck did not disappoint and it is very high on our list to return for hiking.

We woke up on Friday to rain outside our hotel in Munich.  I was a little bummed because I was hoping to run, but did not want to be a drowned rat.  We were up early and decided to go downstairs for breakfast.  Our hotel had an amazing breakfast along with amazing coffee options.  Hello multiple latte macchiatos for me daily!

After breakfast the rain had let up a bit so I suited up for a quick little run.  Ken always knows that I scout out restaurants, biergartens, and other things while I run.  I reported back that we were super close to another Augustiner, which is our favorite bier hall!

After my run we relaxed and bit and then got ready for the day and made our way towards the train station.  It was still raining and sadly Ken's umbrella decided to bite the dust on our way.  We were lucky enough to be right by a CVS type store and got a new one.  We determined that blue umbrellas go to Munich to die, since Mike lost his blue one there last year.

Armed with a new umbrella we were on our way.  We had a little extra time to kill so we stopped off for lattes.

Ken's latte macchiato and my snowman latte, complete with marshmallows.  It was delicious!

We boarded our comfortable train to Innsbruck and were off to Austria!  A lady boarded the train and said something to us in German.  Ken quickly responded IN GERMAN!!!  that we do not speak German.  She paused for a moment and gave us the biggest smile before carrying on about her day.  Ken and I were both so surprised how quickly he was able to reply in German.  :)

Treats for the train ride

Ken and his dunkel ready to get to Innsbruck!

After a quick hour and a half train ride, we arrived to Innsbruck.  We really did not know where old town was, but we were quickly able to navigate and find our way.  Innsbruck is absolutely gorgeous!  I can only imagine how beautiful it is on a clear day.

The streets of Innsbruck.  The trees were covered with lights and we were fortunate enough to see them lit up later.

Darling Innsbruck with the Alps hiding in the clouds

We quickly located the main Christmas Market and it was quite busy.  We were both in desperate need of using the restroom, but the restroom line was insanely long.  We continued on to try to find a different option and stumbled upon the river and the other side of town.

The river flowing through Innsbruck

We decided to cross the bridge across the river and we found a movie theater where we could both pee.  We also located another Christmas market that was right by the river.  This one ended up being one of my favorite of the entire trip.

One of the Innsbruck Markets

We settled into the market and quickly got ourselves some gluhwein and shopped around.  It was drizzling on and off but we did not let that ruin our Christmas fun.  I found a stall that had a lantern that I planned on buying later and we scouted out some food options.  We settled on this spiral potato on a stick that we saw several people with.  It did not disappoint.

Gluhwein and potatoes.  Heaven or heart attack, you decide.  

There were many seasoning options, but we chose bbq, cheese, and a little salt.  It was absolutely delicious but quite a bit of potatoes.  As we were finishing our gluhwein we noticed it was spitting snow.  Well, the small flakes turned to large flakes and we decided to step out of the stall to enjoy the glorious snow.  I was THRILLED to see the snow!

I was so unbelievably happy that it was snowing!  It was all that I had hoped for when planning this trip!

Christmas markets, snow, gluhwein, and in Austria????  This was definitely a pinch me moment.  I had such a huge smile all day.  

Just chilling in Innsbruck

Merry Christmas from the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nut house.  Two points if you get the movie reference.

Walking through the main market

The Christmas tree in the main market

The snow turned to a little bit of rain so we decided to stop under an umbrella and order some gluhwein to warm up.  I mean, how horrible, right?

The Innsbruck market from our point of view.  I think the funniest part is Ken filming and then bringing it down to see me.  Short people problems.  :)

We found a little bar to stop in for a drink out of the rain and to warm up.  It was funny because I forgot how much people smoke in Austria until our bartender lit up a cig.  We enjoyed our cocktails and made our way back to the market I liked so much for more gluhwein and to purchase my lantern.

The market lit up at night

Gluhwein times two please!

Our purchases were made and we started back to the main market to hear the music that was being played from a balcony above.  It was magical, just magical.

Just in case you were wondering if he loved the Christmas Markets, well, he did!  He had such a fun day in Innsbruck!

The Innsbruck Chriskindlmarkt

Christmas Carols live in Innsbruck.  Seriously.  I could have died from all of the Christmas cheer.

Christmas lights for days

It was so beautiful all lit up!

The streets were lined with lit up trees

This guy had an AMAZING day in Innsbruck

I loved Innsbruck!

This Innsbruck Christkindlmarkts get two thumbs up from us.  We brought home our mugs as souvenirs and I bought a lantern that will always remind of this day.

Twinkle lights on the way to the train station.  My heart was close to bursting with all the Christmas magic.

We arrived to the train station and bought some snacks for the ride home.  We really enjoyed our train ride home.  Complete with Ken taking some pictures of my many facial expressions.

At the hospital everyone jokes that I can give a look that is so horrible that it might kill someone.  I think this might be it???

We arrived back in Munich and grabbed a snack before the stalls closed.  Ken was trying to get a foot long wiener and the last one was sold right before his eyes.  He almost cried.  True story.  

We settled on potato cakes and pomme frites.  I deemed no more potatoes for the rest of the trip after these and our spiral earlier in Innsbruck.

The beautiful Munich Chriskindlmarkt

A section with some of the best stalls at the Munich Christmas Market

The market promptly closed at 9:00 pm, but we were not ready to call it a night.  We stepped into the Ausgustiner by our hotel (different one from yesterday) and looked for a spot for two.  While Ken was using the restroom, I ran into Ludwig and Anna from the day prior!  Seriously, what are the chances!?!?  We chatted with them for a bit before we found a place to sit down and enjoy a little food and drinks.  It was such a great day.

Hanging at Augustiner in Munich and redeeming myself from my photo earlier with a smile.  

We wrapped up our day with drinks at our hotel before calling it a night.  It was such an amazing day that we did not want to go to sleep.  We had so much fun in Innsbruck.  Seriously, we loved our first full day of Christmas marketing!

Up next, Salzburg!