Our next stop on the Danube was in Linz, Austria. While there was an early-departure bus tour to Salzburg (two hours, both ways), we decided the night before that we’d rather stay and see the sights in Linz and save Salzburg for another trip when we would have more time to experience it.
Over a leisurely breakfast the next morning (Monday), we met a couple from California whose friends elected to go on the bus tour as well. (By the way, their daughter just graduated from UGA!). They decided to take the train to Salzburg, so we decided to join them.
After navigating our way through the train station, we boarded the high-speed train to Salzburg and were there in a little over an hour! Added bonus? We got to see amazing countryside views along the way.
What an incredible city! We are so glad we opted for this spontaneous day trip. There are many jewels in Salzburg, one of which is their gorgeous Salzburg Cathedral. The original church was founded in 767, but the structure has been built, destroyed, reconstructed, and expanded numerous times. After two fires in 1167 and 1598 destroyed all or portions of the previous buildings, the current Baroque cathedral was built in the early 1600s.
The interior is as much overwhelming as it is breathtaking – there is so much for your eyes to consume in every direction you turn. There are 137 frescos on the ceilings and walls, meant to tell the stories of the Bible. Mozart was baptized here in 1756.
Perched above the historical district is the Hohensalzburg Fortress, originally built in the early 11th century, and reconstructed to its current appearance in the 1500s. We hope to visit it on a future return to this lovely city.
After enjoying a glüwein and bratwurst, we strolled through the main Christkindlmarkt enveloping the exterior grounds of the cathedral. We then took a long walk through the old town streets and alleyways, before making our way back to our train.
Gorgeous views of Mondsee (Moon Lake) from the train
We returned to Linz with every intention of walking through the town, but the bitter cold, windy weather changed our minds.
Once we were back onboard our ship, we learned that plans had changed. Unfortunately, Danube water levels are low due to an extended drought in this region, so our captain had to make an adjustment in our journey north in order to ensure we are still able to reach Regensburg and Nuremberg later this week. Tuesday’s itinerary still includes Passau but we are porting in Deggendorf and taking a bus to Passau, after a late morning of sleeping in!
It sounds like more adventures are ahead for us! Tschüss!