Where in the world has Alison been?

Alison Kemp and Alison Kemp

SALZBURG, Austria – I’ve spent the last week as a tourist in Austria. My parents are here and with them I’ve been able to do some of the things I wouldn’t normally do here alone, like go into so many tourist shops or ride in a horse-drawn carriage. It has really been a lot of fun, being a tourist and a tour guide at the same time. We began our week with the Salzburg Card. This card is the best deal for sightseeing in Salzburg. The card can be purchased for one, two or three days, and it gives you free entrance into, more or less, all of the museums in Salzburg and free bus transportation. During the low season, the ticket runs from 22 to 35 Euros, and in the high season, from 24 to 37. In one day you can get your money’s worth if you plan on having a day full of sightseeing, but the best deal is the three-day card for more leisurely pace. More than one day gives you time to ride the cable car up and down the Untersberg mountain, which can easily take up a full morning and costs 19 Euros. Some of the other main sights here include the Festung Hohensalzburg, which is the fortress that was used to guard the city; Schloss Hellbrunn, which is home to trick fountains; a pleasant park and the gazebo from ‘The Sound of Music;’ and Mozart’s birth house and residence. Visitors with enough time should also head to the Stiegl brewery, which is where the city beer is made. The beer was first made in 1492. The tour isn’t that exciting, but what makes the journey to the brewery worthwhile is that you receive a free gift (a puzzle, small mug or bottle of beer) and three samples of beer or other drinks of your choice, along with bread. Their outdoor garden is gorgeous and makes for a peaceful break while getting more out of your Salzburg Card. After three days of sights in Salzburg, we rode the bus into the Salzkammergut, the lake region east of Salzburg. The lake I had selected was Mondsee, mostly because the wedding church from ‘The Sound of Music’ is located there. This church was the final movie sight I wanted to see. It was really nice, and the town was quite pleasant. Then on Wednesday we went to Hallstatt, another lake town. This one was further away and farther south, so the lake was surrounded by mountains and the town was built onto the side of one of them. Hallstatt is older than Rome because of its salt mine. People were first attracted to Hallstatt in 1600 B.C. The train stops on the side of the lake that the town isn’t on, so you must ride a boat across the lake. The houses have garages for their boats rather than cars. Most streets are just barely wide enough for cars. I’ve heard the town is pretty hopping with tourists in the summer, but now, in April, it was exceedingly quiet and peaceful. Yesterday we left Salzburg for Munich. We took a free tour with the New Munich walking tour company. You are asked to tip the guide at the end of the tour. We learned about the main shopping street (Maximilian Strasse), Kristallnacht, beer gardens, Oktoberfest, the main church, the main square where the Rathaus and Glockenspiel are, the Beer Hall Putsch and many other sights. My parents and I watched the Glockenspiel before we began the tour. It really isn’t all it is hyped up to be. One scene is of coopers dancing because the bubonic plague had finished its course in Munich, and the other scene was of a marriage, with jesters, juggles, musicians and a joust. Today we are traveling to Nuremburg, which is famous for its medieval city center. Along with walking through the heart of the city, we will also visit the Nazi Documentation Center, which is on the rally grounds that Hitler built for his large-scale rallies and demonstrations. The city offers the City Museums Combo-Ticket for 5 Euros, which then provides free admission into the Documentation Center, the Albrecht D’uuml;rer House, the Toy Museum and the City Museum. I’m sure we’ll take advantage of that deal, as well.