Friday, August 1

Steve: We said goodbye today to Salzburg, and drove the 3 hours across Austria to Vienna. None of us have been to Vienna before, so we were really looking forward to seeing the city - we've been told it's very beautiful. Our drive was uneventful, and after checking in to the hotel we began exploring the center of the city. We quickly realized that this is a very special place. We've never seen so many beautiful buildings in such a small area. We consciously decided not to stop to identify and read about each one tonight - instead, we'll take a guided walking tour and spend much more time in the city tomorrow.

We did make the walk to Rathaus Plaza, an open food market in front of the Vienna City Hall. This was an amazing scene. There are international food booths with wonderful dishes from all over the world, and we enjoyed a dinner of Italian, Thai and Greek meals. The place was absolutely packed with people from all over - we couldn't help but notice the wide diversity of people, and the fact that there are very few Americans here (a taxi driver told us that he's noticed many fewer Americans ever since September 11). In addition, Vienna puts on a film festival every summer, and there were hundreds of people watching an opera on a huge outdoor screen. The kids really enjoyed this place, and commented that they've never seen or heard of anything like this at home. David will be writing more about this in tomorrow's entry.


Distance Walked: 2.03 miles


"Katie's Komments"


We spent 2 ½ days in Salzburg and have thoroughly enjoyed the towns and its cheery citizens. It has become very clear to me what Salzburg is really about during our stay here. It is all about music, happiness and peace. On every corner it seems there is music. There are not only musical street performers everywhere, but also bells, concerts and even musical traffic lights! The two things Salzburg is most famous for (Mozart and The Sound of Music) are musical. Mozart, I would have to say, is much more important in Salzburg as we have learned that many Austrians dislike Hollywood's unrealistic form of The Sound of Music.

Mozart is absolutely everywhere. Anyone who has been to Salzburg knows that this is not an exaggeration. From Mozart statues to Mozart shops and chocolates, he is everywhere. They even have Mozart perfumes!!!

Everyone in Salzburg learns how to sing in church. That's because children are required to learn how to sing, and they take lessons in school. They do lots of singing during church services!

Everyone in the town seems very happy and relaxed. They are extremely helpful, and we have found them very patient we are struggling to communicate with people in restaurants and stores. One of the reasons people are so cherry is because of the peace of the town. Salzburg was completely neutral until World War II, and still remains a lower key town in terms of war and political issues. People don't have many security concerns and seem comfortable with their lifestyle.

The town is extremely cute and clean, and is also well preserved. Everything seems to be very convenient and easy to get to. As you walk through the narrow streets with many bicycles and very few cars, you usually soon reach some sort of large open area. In these areas are usually small shops and information offices. Inside the square are cobblestones supporting beautiful carriages led by horses, and in the very center a large fountain. Around the fountain are artists and street performers, people playing chess, and open markets selling food and souvenirs. They're packed with activity but there are always places to just relax and enjoy the scene. The shops are all the height but are completely different colors. All the wonderful colors of the shops all look so cute! Each shop has its own decorative hanging sign on it. If you look back at the shopping walkway you see all these different signs hanging out at you, encouraging you to come into every single one. The shutters are also adorable with varied patterns of carvings highlighted by beautiful flowers in the window boxes. At this point you don't care what's in the shop - it's so cute you just can't resist going inside it.

The German Countryside and the Town of Bad Tolz:

As we were driving around Bad Tolz and making the trip to Salzburg, we saw a large portion of the German countryside. There are several things we noticed…

- In every village there is an enormous church with a pointy steeple towering over the rest of the houses. The churches were all very unique and interesting. Their steeples had an onion shape.
- All of the villages were tiny and had houses with sloped orange roofs. These are helpful in the winter when snow and ice builds up on the house.
- In between the villages were enormous green fields with grazing cows, sheep and other animals. They were wearing big bells around their necks.
- In the fields were enormous wind farms - tall pinwheel-like structures - which harvest wind and convert it into energy. This is great conservation for the environment.

Observations about the town of Bad Tolz

We also noticed many things about the town of Bad Tolz that really struck us. The following bullets discuss some of our observations about the town's uniqueness and its kind citizens.

" The town is adorable and very similar to Salzburg…it is basically an enormous cobblestone walkway with lots of beautiful fountains and outdoor cafés in addition to its wonderful shops.
" The shops are all the same height and have sloped roofs. They are all different colors and have shutters with wonderful carvings. To add to the charm of these are window boxes with flowers. These really highlight the beauty of the shops and entire town.
" All the shops have decorative hanging signs. From a distance all of the lined up signs look spectacular!
" The shops contain traditional German clothing, musical instruments, hats, all sorts of clocks…they have everything you could possibly need!
" The town is extremely clean and the people really care about the environment-lots of recycling bins etc.
" The town has many small lakes and rivers that contain ducks and fish.
" The people seem very relaxed and cheerful; they are always willing to help.
" Many people still like to wear traditional clothing-- it's really neat when people do this because it helps you visualize how the town used to look with all of the people.
" There are many bicyclists who ride on the cobblestone streets. It seemed like there were as many bicyclists as there were cars!

I hope you learned a lot today from today's edition. Be sure to look for tomorrow"s reflections in "Katie's Komments"!












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