A runner with an appetite for adventure!

Salzburg: The Salt Mines October 8, 2011

Filed under: Austria,Europe,Travel — Kelocity @ 1:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

After we left the Sound of Music tour, we had one more thing on our to-do list: The Salzburg Salt Mines. I was kind of on the fence about doing this since we thought the Krakow ones were a little silly. But we heard good things about it so decided to give it a try.

It ended up being worth the trip and really fun. We were so glad we went. But first things first:

You have to dress the part. HAHA
IMG_9795 IMG_9794

IMG_7990  IMG_9796

Yep. Now we’re ready to go! We said good bye to the daylight and descended into the mine.

This one wasn’t as vertically deep as the other one, but it was massive inside and you had to ride a train car to get around.


And that thing zoomed pretty fast through the tunnels. So fun!

One of the unique things about the mine is that it straddles both Germany and Austria!

Inside is a giant Brine Lake that we actually took a boat across. There were lights and sound involved, but it was actually quite nice.


But the best part was yet to come! We got to go down mining slides!! Just sit down… and go! (That’s what the white jump suits were for, besides being incredibly stylish!)


Here’s a video of us going down the steepest slide!

I was kind of sad to give back my awesome miners clothes. LOL
IMG_9832 IMG_9849

On the grounds of the mines is a little recreated Celtic village to celebrate the lives of the first miners. We walked around for a bit before getting back in the car.

This was a self timer. Pretty good, huh?

We had a great time in Austria, but it was time to head back to Munich to catch our plane home. Thank goodness for the GPS though. It was SO helpful on those crazy European roads.

I had an amazing time in Europe. I think this was my favorite trip to date. So much history, scenery and adventures. The perfect combination. We’ll be back, Europe.

Thanks for reading all my recaps! Hope you enjoyed them! Thanks for letting me share my photos and stories with you!


Salzburg: The Hills are Alive October 7, 2011

(Just one more Trip Recap post left after this one! Bringing it back to Salzburg!)

We awoke on September 10th in beautiful Salzburg. Our bed was so comfortable I didn’t want to leave the hotel, but we had an exciting day planned. I would never sleep away a day in Europe. Too many fun things to explore!

We had Clif Bars for breakfast and jumped right into our Sound of Music Tour! When I did this tour in 2003 it was in a small 8 person van. This time, we were on one of TWO huge coach busses filled with tourists. I was a little annoyed, but it was still an excellent tour.

The tour brings you to all of the famous shooting locations for the film. Recognize this? It’s where the back patio and lake scenes were shot. Remember when the kids tipped over the canoe?!



We didn’t get too close, but this is where they shot the front of the house (see that yellow building in the background?) It’s also where Maria sang I Have Confidence when she first arrived at the Von Trapp house.

And right around the corner from that is where we were yesterday (at the Crazy Fountain Palace). We were so glad we took pictures the day before because this is what it looked like today:

We got a brief glimpse of the abbey up on the hill:

And then we headed off into the countryside to see a bit of the lakes region and a few more filming locations. The scenery was absolutely beautiful.

Is this where Maria sang The Hills are Alive? I don’t think it actually was, but any of these hills looked like they’d be excellent contenders. I love Austria, seriously everywhere you look there was something gorgeous to look at.


[Flashback 2003] Last time I was here it was cold and snowy!
sound of music tour


Next time I come back here I’m going to explore the outdoor activities a little more. See the skydiver?!

After a bit of driving, we arrived into the town of Mondsee where the wedding chapel scenes were filmed. Where Maria married the Captain.
IMG_9749 IMG_9752


We had an hour for lunch so we found a cute restaurant across the street>

And ordered some quick pizzas. Delicious!


After the tour, we drove back to Salzburg and watched some of the scenes from the movie on the bus. Once we got back we explored Mirabell Gardens where most of the Do Re Mi sequence was filmed. Remember this scene?
steps [source]

Here it is! Irving looks like Friedrich doesn’t he? “I’m Friedrich. I’m fourteen and I’m impossible”. LOL

And remember this?

Here we are!



IMG_9784 IMG_9783



[Flashback 2003:
Me and a girl i met in salzburg

And Now!


Just a week after we got back from our trip, we went to the Sound of Music sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl.

We try to go every year because it’s just so much fun. This year was extra special since we just got back from Salzburg!

Erica brought popcorn (love that girl!) and we brought Mozart Balls to share. I love me my Mozart balls! Anyone know if you can buy these in the states?
IMG_8040 IMG_8030

Before the show, all of the actors who played the Von Trapp kids came out on stage!

My favorite part was when the (super hot) Captain sings Edelweiss and everyone holds up their cell phones. So funny. I love bowl nights. 

A great end to the bowl season too.

One last Europe recap post coming tomorrow!


Fussen & Salzburg: Second Time Around October 4, 2011

Filed under: Austria,Europe,Germany,Travel — Kelocity @ 11:59 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Where were we? Ah Yes. In Munich. We woke up at the crack of dawn on September 9th and made our way via subway to the airport. There, we picked up our rental car. It turned out to be outrageously expensive, but driving through the Austrian Alps sounded so romantic and I begged Irving to let us do it. I wanted to feel like I was on the Amazing Race navigating through the roads trying to translate the German signs.

It wasn’t until we buckled our seat belts that Irving admitted he hadn’t actually driven a stick shift in about 15 years. That’s ok babe. It’s like riding a bike. BAHAHA. (spoiler alert: we only stalled twice).

We had some maps from AAA and Google to get us from Germany into Austria and I was confident we’d be fine…. but thank GOD there was a built in GPS because we wouldn’t have even made it out of the airport without that thing. Seriously. My maps were so confusing it would have been a lost cause and I’m pretty sure my plan for a romantic drive would have backfired.

Before we made it into Salzburg, we made a detour to Fussen, home of the Neuschwanstein Castle. Sure you see gorgeous scenery from a train, but being in the car gave us so much more freedom. Plus the Autobahn is really super fun. Getting on and off the highways was hilarious for us since we don’t know how to downshift and upshift. LOL I have a video I’ll post later.

We enjoyed the quaint towns along the road and kept giggling that it looked like a postcard.

And finally we started to see our destination up in the mountains!

Neuschwanstein! The castle was built by the crazy Ludwig II, a royal who lived in Munich.


There are two ways to get up to the top. Horse and buggy….

Or by foot… we chose to walk since we’d been in the car all morning and didn’t want to wait for 2 hours in the line.

It was actually a pretty easy walk and soon we were up at the top.

Does it look familiar? It’s the castle that Walt Disney modeled his castle after.

Sadly we couldn’t go inside (you can only go in with a tour and we would have had to wait a few hours for the next English one.

But it was still fun to walk around and see the wacky architecture.

It looks like a lego castle, doesn’t it?

[FLASHBACK] I visited here in 2003 in the midst of winter. It looks much different now!
snowy castle

The view from the top was just as impressive as the castle itself:




And because Irving couldn’t pass up another opportunity to enjoy some Brats (and because it was lunch time), we stopped halfway down the hill for lunch. I was expecting it to be super expensive since it’s kind of a tourist trap, but it was actually quite reasonable.

And some Pasta for the lady.

IMG_9553 IMG_9554

Across the street was another cute castle that I’m sure is worth a visit, but it was time to hit the road before it got too late.

Back in the car, we drove away from the castle.

I kept looking back at it in the distance as it faded away. I love Europe.

Just a few hours in the car, we made our way into the heart of Salzburg.

Our first stop was an afternoon tour of the Hellbrunn Palace. When you visit Salzburg, people will ask you if you saw two things: 1.) The Sound of Music Tour and 2.) The Crazy Palace.

So alas. Here we are at the Crazy Palace. Why is it called that? It looks pretty average, right?

Until you go around the back and walk through the gardens. Then you realize how fun it is. Let me explain.

It was built in the 1600s by Markus Sittijus von Hohenems, the Archbishop of Salzburg. And that man had an intense sense of humor. See this outdoor dining area? Seems like a good place to host your guests, right?

Well the whole place was rigged with secret water tricks that he could turn on and off to surprise and wow his visitors. With the push of a button he could soak them while they ate. And it was all operated with non-electrical power (it was the 1600s, remember?)

He had strange fountains and childlike displays all over the property that would dance and play on their own.

IMG_9569 IMG_9594

At one point, Irving got nailed by some hidden fountains!

There are some displays inside the palace itself but the it’s the exterior that is worth a visit.


Know what else Hellbrunn is known for? The Sound of Music gazeebo is located on its property.

[FLASHBACK] I came here in 2003! (I know, where didn’t I go in 2003?!)
gazeebo from movie

Oh, want to see our car?! Here she is! A Renault!

Finally we made the drive into the city to find our hotel. On the way, we passed the fortress! Wish we would have had time to up there again. But we had a tight itinerary and couldn’t fit it in.

We dropped off our bags at the Radisson, but turned right back around to catch some of the city before the sun set.

Luckily our hotel was close to the river and we were able to walk into town.

Remember the scene in The Sound of Music when the kids are frolicking in the grass? This is where that was filmed!



We found someone who didn’t look like they’d run away with our camera to take our picture. Such a pretty backdrop.


We had just enough time to walk through the main squares before we lost our daylight altogether.

IMG_9649 IMG_9652

Finally we surrendered to the night and enjoyed a nice dinner out.

All I wanted was veggies! We found a great place that had a salad bar for me…

And Oh. My. God. MORE schnitzel for Irving. Believe it.

Paired with some Austrian Beer. His and Hers.

It was nice to walk back after dinner and take in the city at night.

I might have to frame this one. It’s perfect. (Credit goes to Irving).

Sorry, these posts are so long. I fell in love with our photos and had to share them. Just one more Trip Recap post left!


Eating your Way through Vienna September 15, 2011

Filed under: Austria,Contiki,Europe,Travel — Kelocity @ 4:38 pm
Tags: , , , ,

In the morning, we had a few more hours to explore Vienna before jumping back on the bus. I should mention that our entire trip had AMAZING weather, blue skies and in the 70s every single day. We really lucked out.

We stopped at the famous statue of Mozart, which is near the royal palace. In front of it is the clef symbol made out of red roses.

IMG_8356 IMG_8351

They really love their Mozart here.

We had a bit of time to kill before some of the museums opened, so we stopped to have a piece of famous Sacher Torte.


Instead of getting a big slice, we got two smaller pieces to enjoy.

It’s a bitter chocolate cake with apricots baked in and then covered with a thick fudge frosting. It was every bit as magical as you can imagine. I might have to get this again when we go to Salzburg next week!

We walked back through the grounds of the palace again for a few more pictures.

Also housed inside is the Vienna Boys Choir and the Spanish Riding School.

I visited Vienna back in 2003 and though I loved the city, there wasn’t a whole lot to see and do. Today, we only had time to do one or two things so we decided to visit this church which holds all of the Hapsburg’s royal family tombs in its crypt.


Many of them dated back hundreds of years, but the most recent one was a descendent who was buried there this year.

The most popular is Princess Elizabeth, most commonly known as Sisi. She was the ‘people’s princess’ of their time and the citizens of the Empire adored her.

Then we had just enough time to enjoy a walk through the palace gardens.


Finally we were hungry enough to have some more SCHNITZEL! There is a chain of places that are known for it called Wienerwald!!

They definitely delivered. Not as good as at the concert last night, but still pretty great. I got the chicken…

And Irving got the Veal (with potato balls instead of fries).

Then we said goodbye to Vienna before heading into Hungary.


Vienna: Schnitzel and Strudel

Filed under: Austria,Contiki,Europe,Travel — Kelocity @ 1:35 pm
Tags: , , , ,

We started our day with breakfast in Prague before hitting the road. The watermelon was to DIE for. It tasted SO much better than watermelon in the States. And it actually had seeds! I think it’s sad that we’ve reached a point where we will say “When I was your age, watermelon had seeds! I almost forgot that they’re supposed to even had seeds. It was so ripe and juicy, my mouth is watering now just thinking about it.

We didn’t get a chance to stop for a real lunch but we made due with a gas station rest stop. We pieced together a “meal” that included these! I love how it says “Original Gold Fischli”… I’m pretty sure those are not original. LOL But they were yum!

A bit later we arrived into Vienna.

Vienna was a bit of a departure from all the Cold War and WWII history we had been immersed in. And instead, we learned about the Hapsburg family and their century long reign over the Austrian-Hungarian empire.


We walked through around the grounds of their previous royal palaces.


The Hapsburg family ruled here until the first World War at which point the dynasty was dissolved.

To give you an idea of how much wealth and power they had, this was their carriage house! Complete with a giant dome overhead.



The royal cathedral that the family used for private worship.

Switching gears a bit, we visited a really powerful holocaust memorial in the center of Vienna. This one is a sculpted man with his head in the sand. It represents how Europe turned a blind eye to what was really going on during the darkest years of their history.

After we passed the largest Swarovski shop in the world. It was three stories of their famous crystal jewelry and decorative pieces. (We visited the next day with Contiki.

Vienna is a really pretty city with a deep love and appreciation for music and the arts.


Then we checked into our hotel and got ready for a night out.

We were lucky enough to get to see a Classical Music concert while in Vienna. They love their Mozart and music is such a vital part of the city.

And as if that isn’t enough, the concert was actually held inside the Summer Palace for the former Royal family.


We had a wonderful traditional dinner inside the palace before the show.

Irving was PSYCHED because there was schnitzel on the menu. Besides the music, Vienna is also known for having amazing schnitzel.



With apple strudel for dessert!

Then it was time for the show. Not only was the orchestra fantastic, but they also had two opera singers and some great dancers too. IMG_8338

We really enjoyed the evening and highly recommend this excursion.

Tomorrow we get to explore Vienna some more (and find some more schnitzel!)


%d bloggers like this: