Wednesday 16th May 2018
It rained all night and it rained all day. The emergency brollies had a good work out today, from Alf’s early morning stroll to his evening jaunt. The only good news is that the rain from my tame cumulo-nimbus seems to have washed any Narrativium out of the works, otherwise Wendy would be busy cutting up the van’s curtains to make dresses and have a compulsion to run through the meadows. Yes, we are in the land of the Sound of Music and the birthplace and stamping ground of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
There was no point in waiting for the rain to stop, we were resigned to our fate, it was a case of brollies up and off to Salzburg. Our campsite is about five kilometres from Salzburg’s old town and the campsite receptionist had been extolling the virtues of Salzburg’s brilliant bus system, which runs from the campsite entrance and drops us off right in the centre of things Mozart wise. However when we asked about Alf, he said;
“Sure, with his muzzle on.”
Alf hasn’t got a muzzle so we were going to have to walk. Apart from a diversion through some allotments, Maps.me took us on a fairly direct route through the back streets of the city mainly running next to the railway tracks and an hour and a quarter later we arrived in the old town
The town looked very pretty, once the clouds lifted enough for us to see the hills and the Festung Hohensalzburg, the castle that over-shadows the city. It straddles the river Salzach and looks as if it has been built mainly out of meringue – it’s very baroque.
The first tick on our list was Mozart’s birthplace; a building that is now painted a gaudy yellow and the ground floor is now a Spar shop! Then it was on to the ‘’Sound of Music’ museum. We decided against the four hour ‘Sound of Music’ coach tour, complete with the soundtrack playing incessantly, we couldn’t take Alf any way – no muzzle.
Instead we found a great little café tucked down an arcade with shelter from the rain, heaters and goulash (and Salzburg Beer). After lunch we went to catch the funicular railway up to the castle; but we couldn’t, as Alf didn’t have a muzzle.
As she had already exceeded her 10,000 steps for the day, Wendy didn’t want to climb up to the castle, so she popped in to a tourist information office to ask where we could buy Alf a muzzle. What a surprise! The lovely lady working there insisted on giving us one of her own dogs’ muzzles! It turned out she was from Bristol, had moved to Salzburg 30 years ago to study and work at the university, and was now retired and working voluntarily at the Tourist Information. She has two border collies (they were lurking behind the counter) and understood how frustrating and limiting the Austrian dog rules can be. She wouldn’t take any money, not as payment, nor as a donation to the Church that ran the TI. How kind was that?!
Alf was not over impressed with the new headwear, but now suitably dressed, we were now able to take the train to the castle and enjoy the views of the rainclouds. Alf looked so doleful in the carriage that a group of Americans took pity on him and gave him a lot of fuss.
There was not a lot to do at the castle. We couldn’t take Alf in, even wearing his new muzzle, and to be honest, when you have seen one posh room you have seen them all. So we took a few snaps, resisted to squash a euro in the souvenir-stamping machine and caught the next train down the cliff.
The good news was that we could catch a bus home now Alf is sporting his new nose protector and as it dropped us off at the campsite; it was still raining.
Wendy has just spoken on the ‘phone to the lady at the campsite in Bled where we are going tomorrow. She said it has been warm and sunny – she is in for a shock tomorrow!