In September 2008 we did a circular road trip around Europe starting in Frankfurt, Germany and travelling through Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic and finally back to Frankfurt Germany.
In the morning we took some time to explore the city of Salzburg. Salzburg is an Austrian city on the border of Germany, with views of the Eastern Alps. The city is divided by the Salzach River, with medieval and baroque buildings of the pedestrian Altstadt (Old City) on its left bank, facing the 19th-century Neustadt (New City) on its right. The Altstadt birthplace of famed composer Mozart is preserved as a museum displaying his childhood instruments.
We walked over from Hotel Stein where we were staying to explore the streets of the old city. There were many beautiful buildings and churches.
The Kollegienkirche in Salzburg, Austria, is the church of the University of Salzburg. It was built in Baroque style by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Salzburg.
Outside Kollegienkirche there was a morning market with wide varieties of fruits and vegetables and other local produce on sale.
The small streets were beautiful and many of the shops had unique logos hanging over their doorway.
Mozart’s birthplace was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at No. 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria. The Mozart family resided on the third floor from 1747 to 1773. Mozart himself was born here on 27 January 1756. He was the seventh child of Leopold Mozart, who was a musician of the Salzburg Royal Chamber.
Salzburg brezen is a local type of pretzel – we just had to try these.
Hohensalzburg Fortress sits atop the Festungsberg, a small hill in the Austrian city of Salzburg. Erected at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg with a length of 250 m and a width of 150 m, it is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Hohensalzburg Fortress is situated at an altitude of 506 m.
It was time to leave Salzburg – we had an important appointment to make on the outskirts of Vienna.
We drove east towards Vienna stopping at Linz for some lunch.
It was my wife’s 50th Birthday and I had arranged for a rather special surprise. I had earlier contacted a hot air balloon operator from Vienna and we planned a flight if the weather was good. We met Josef (Sepp) Huber in the small town of Mayerling just south-west of Vienna and then drove out to a take off point in a large field.
I helped Josef prepare the basket and balloon which all came from a small trailer at the back of his car.
After blowing air into the balloon opening Josef fired up the burner to get some hot air into the balloon so it started to rise.
Soon we were ready for take off so we clambered into the small basket and we started to rise slowly into the sky. It was an incredible feeling just to slowly rise up above the field.
As we rose higher the view got better over the beautiful rolling rural landscape of Austria.
Floating over small villages it was so quiet we could hear the dogs barking below.
Josef was a very experienced balloonist and in fact was a balloon test pilot in that he would take up any new design of balloon and test it out pushing it to its operating envelope. So we were in good hands.
I asked Josef where we would be landing …. he just shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t know!
We started to descend and flew right over a large highway.
Josef had picked out his landing spot in a filed so my camera was packed away for the landing. We landed gently in the field and I quickly jumped out to take some photos.
To celebrate our very first balloon trip we were given a special champagne toast in the field and two very nice certificates.
What an incredible experience it was. It was now late so we drove back in the dark and then into Vienna to our accommodation. Next day we would explore Vienna.
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