This city is a little bit of heaven and home mix together to create the most beautiful, elaborately decorated yet modest wedding cake.
Postcard worthy pictures wherever you look. Home to the Sound of Music as well as the Salzburgerfestspiele (Salzburg Music Festivals), the city attracts all ranges of visitors, from back packers to those being followed into their hotel by their valet, staggering under the weight of more Louis Vuitton suitcases than any one person could possibly need.
The two sides in picture form: (quite accurate I would say)
I arrived in the early afternoon by train form Milan on Friday in time for a quick pop into my favourite Cafe Tomaselli for a coffee with my mother.
NB It's called a "Melange" in this country, not a Cafe Latte. One of the easiest was for you to be taken more seriously as a tourist here is to get this simple thing right.
Now to the hotel and a quick change in preparation for this evenings performance.
My parents and I would be parting ways as they went to see Don Giovanni and I went to a Liederabend with Anna Prohaska with songs chosen by her to the title "Behind the Lines" all song and poems from Hans Christen Andersen and Shakespeare to Charles Ives' In Flanders Field. It was beautiful.
Have a look here to see more on the Liederabend under Culture.
I traipsed back through the pouring rain from the Mozarteum to the Blaue Ganz where I was to meet my parents after their performance. There was something rather romantic about the rain.
My parents kept insisting before we parted ways that I eat before they arrive, but I refused, thinking it the polite thing to do, and I also didn't really want to watch them eat while I was twiddling my thumbs. So I sat and I waited, and waited. One Aperol spritz and a glass of wine down and still waiting. I knew Don Giovanni was long, but I underestimated how long. At 11pm they arrived (bearing in mind the performance had started at 7.00pm). All the restaurants around the Festspielhaus know that their guests are coming straight from the opera, so know to expect late hours during the Festspiel-season.
We were joined by one of my parents friends who knows a fair amount about Opera to put it mildly and I enjoyed listening to them discuss the performance and occasionally asked my own questions.
- Day 2 -
When in Austria, dress the part! So I had to let everyone know
Another inexplicably downcast morning dawned but that didn't stop us from taking our post-breakfast coffee outside in the adorable little pavilion where I also gave my parents their silver wedding anniversary present from my Grandmother that I had carried from Germany to Milan, survived a house-move and then to Austria.
The three of us were just as antisocial as each other (yes, you too mummy) on our iPads writing emails, checking the news and instagraming. (Million dollar question as to who was doing what).
At 11.30am we hit the road for a short trip to Germany, as you do, to see my parents friends for lunch. They had planned for us to have lunch on the Frauen-Insel, literally translated "Women's Island", which was right next to the Herren-Insel (Yup, you've guess it, "Men's-Island") on the Chiemsee. Talk about segregation. (These were originally for the Nunnery and the Monastery to keep them separated, but they were only a short boat ride apart... they're kidding no one).
The boat trip was charming and to fulfil all the cliches you might have about Bavarians and sailors, our conductor had it all - a Bavarian accent to make you weak at the knees, a blonde handle-bar moustache and a gold hoop in his ear. Picture-book perfect. Bottom right of the picture below.
And let's not forget this very fashionable Herr...
The restaurant Zur Linde was delicious with all manner of fresh seafood!
And interiors to match:
With so many inlays it was hard to know where to start, so I just stuck to this bit advertising the possible fresh catches of the day
But this was the best part of the menu:
I went for anything with the word Pifferlinge in it. They're special seasonal mushrooms (chanterelle) that Germans and Austrians alike go crazy for this time of year, and I stay true to my roots and do the same. I even made my own recipe!
A quick pop into the church (can't miss out on any opportunity to enrich our church portfolio)
And a very unusual chapel at the back that we guessed must be there instead of a crypt because that probably wouldn't be possible here due to the water levels
On the trip back I was too engrossed in conversation to think of taking photos, so my father decided to take this upon himself. By this time the sky had cleared a bit so we could see more of the mountains surrounding the Chiemsee with the clouds as if stuck between the mountains.
In true German tradition, lunch was followed by Kaffee und Kuchen. Germans almost exclusively drink coffee with their cake as opposed to the English tea alternative.
The infamous Sachertorte with the seal of approval...
... and my personal favourite, a Pflaumendatchi. One with Hefeteig (yeast dough) and one with Muerbeteig (shortcrust), the latter won. Need the recipe!
A hop back across the boarder and we had a quiet evening in the hotel seeing as the rain wasn't really making us feel like going into town. Instead we retired to the pavilion once more (we were literally the only ones using it in the rain) but it was still quite warm and meant fresh air, and we're English so really, what's the problem with a bit of damp air? It's not even rain. My hair was frizzy anyway and it only adds to the rustic charm of the whole dirndl ensemble. And strictly speaking we weren't alone:
The rain even added to the charm if you're a glass half full kind of a person
Chillin in my room pre din dins enjoying some down time and my fluffy dressing gown!
We had an aperitif that was a special herby Tyrolean G&T before dinner in the extremely good hotel restaurant. Here more more on the Anif Restaurant.
The people here are so so charming. I know I say this about a few places, but I am slightly in love with the Austrians because they are just so nice. (It's also helps being a girl, because you just have to smile, say something mildly friendly and you have even the most grumpy waiter in your back pocket. I am aware of the glass ceiling, but I am also aware that I should reap the benefits of the sexist/traditional society we live in whenever they come a-knocking).
- Day 3 -
Believe it or not, they next day dawned warm and sunny! We could hardly believe our luck, and every sentence about the weather (frequent- we are English) was punctuated with "Touch wood!".
My mother and I got up extra early in order to spent a long day in the town.
(Yes, this is a dirndl fashion show incase you were wondering)
A coffee in Fürst once we were in town to kick start our engines, and go!
A long meander popping in and out of various shops and cafés ensued.
I naturally found an amazing bead shop when I and my mother went to town and a bit further on we found this beautiful pendant to go with my dirndl
A sit down in Carpe Diem, which is quickly becoming one of my favourites on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, or rather timeline, to Tomaselli.
Naturally we had a walk up the Getreidegasse (where Mozart was born)
We were obviously attracting quite a lot of attention in our mother daughter act and were, very unsubtly might I add, in the background of a lot of photos. On our way to Tomaselli again, this time the Kastaniengarten, we were even asked to be in a group shot on the Alter Markt
Mmmmm a Tomaselli Apfelstrudel for two
And the days final port of call came at the Heimatwerk. This place is great. My mother always comes here for her dirndl fabric because they have the best selection.
She chooses which fabrics she wants for her dirndl and the gets sewing. She usually sews her own skirts and aprons but then has the "Mieder" (the very well fitting bodice top half) tailored here. They know their stuff!
So here we are for the fitting:
And I found one of my old cook books here! This was mine and my sisters favourite book growing up! You can see why
The view from outside the Heimartwerk while we waited for a taxi:
Back to the hotel, quick change and off to the Hotel Sacher in all our finery where our hosts would meet us.
The evening was amazing. My first Rosenkavalier and it was spectacular. They will be raving about this production for years to come. See a full description under Culture here.
After the unusually long performance we headed we had a quick antipasti dinner at a small wine bar Vini e Barone. Hit the spot perfectly.
The Last Breakfast
Breakfast and the paper to read the reviews from last night hot off the press
... and of course the last Instagram and photo opportunities.
Even though I have never come here as a guest, it almost felt like a second (...) home. My parents have been coming here since before I was but a twinkle in someone's eye so they greeted me with the same familiarity.
Can't wait to come back next year! It's been swell.
And here my parting thank you present to my parents for the lovely weekend