Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

10 May 2018

It was Grandpa’s 80th birthday today, so we video-called him to say “Happy Birthday” and catch up.  It was great to see him and Grandma, and Great Aunt Freda, and Cornelia was over the moon to have spoken to them.

Our bikes have been enormously useful here in Salzburg as it’s the easiest and quickest way to get around the city.  Our first port of call today, obviously, was the Sound of Music set.  We found the famous steps and did our jumping up and down them, before running around the fountain.  Cornelia had been so excited to visit, that she was a bit underwhelmed by it all, not really understanding that she wouldn’t be seeing the Von Trapp children, because they were now all grown up….!  Nonetheless, she enjoyed it all, and I was utterly thrilled to have finally been there.  It wasn’t as busy as we thought it might be, which was a pleasant surprise, and we had plenty of space to pose for photos and generally run riot.  Cornelia said later that day that the best bit was the chocolate ice cream that she had in the Mirabell Gardens.  That’s three year olds for you!

We were then aiming to take the funicular railway up to the fortress overlooking Salzbug (Fortress Hohensalzburg), but became hugely distracted by the Austrian Bank Holiday festival that was taking place in the square next to the railway.  It was brilliant!  Traditional music and dress, with food stands and beer stands….  Ian and I felt quite merry after a beer in the hot sunshine, and Cornelia enjoyed her first Bratwurst, while Ian gorged on a… wait for it… HeringSemmel.  Raw herring and raw onion in a roll.  Honestly.  Even typing it out makes me gag a little!

We stayed there for a good couple of hours, and Cornelia didn’t want to stop dancing or conducting!  She was deeply absorbed in the music, exclaiming “I just can’t take my eyes of them!”.  Ian went off to buy our “Salzburg City Cards” which give you free entry to lots of excursions and transport, and we finally managed to drag her away to the funicular railway.  It was very steep although quite a short ride to the top of the hill to the fortress.  This was a much more impressive castle than that at Ellwangen, insofar as much of the original structure was in place, and it had a real feel of a medieval town to it.  I’m not the most imaginative person, but I could really get a sense of the past life there.  People do actually live in some of the buildings, so perhaps that was why it felt so alive.  Cornelia found a pyramid of cannonballs to climb up, only to get stuck at the top unable to work out how to climb down.  After a few loud choruses of “I’m the King of the Castle”, Daddy stepped up to rescue her.

After we’d returned via the funicular railway, Cornelia was keen to get a tram back to our bikes.  Unfortunately, there are no trams in Salzburg, so she settled for a bus trip instead, back to Mirabell Gardens.  We cycled back to our apartment for showers, only to find there was no hot water.  In some ways, this was a blessing in disguise, as we were able to put Bugsy to bed at a sensible time, without her becoming overtired.  It was heaven to sit on a sofa and watch a bit of TV, drink beer, eat chocolate and FaceTime Lizzie for a catch up.  Almost like being at home!

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