Austria – Weekend in Salzburg

When you’re an expat, you can use any excuse for a trip.  Winters in Luxembourg are also pretty quiet, so we took advantage of any reason to mix things up.  Nico was in Munich for work, so I joined him for a weekend down in Salzburg, which is an hour and a half drive away from Munich.


It was a cold and gloomy day when we walked around historic center.  Some things that Salzburg is known for became very apparent due to the amount of advertised tourism surrounding all three:

  1. Salzburg and some areas around were used as the setting for “The Sound of Music”.  I’ve never seen it, but I probably should.  There are entire tour buses dedicated to visiting all the filming sites for this 1965 movie.
  2. Salzburg means “salt fortress” due to barges carrying salt down the river Salzach. There’s also a salt mine that you can visit, as advertised with an interesting flyer.
  3. Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart.  You can visit Mozart’s birthplace, Mozart’s residence, a Café Mozart, and eat Mozart chocolates.
Domplatz Salzburg
View of Salzburg and the river Salzach

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Vienna, Bratislava, Feldkirch, Liechtenstein

and Zurich too!  Yea, it was a lot for one week.  My main purpose for this trip was to visit family and check out some spots along the way.  My favorite aunt and uncle (who is Austrian), were spending a few weeks in Austria, and I wanted to see them since I was so close.  The last time I saw them was 9 years ago in Beijing, right after I graduated high school.  My uncle currently works for the Austrian embassy in Lima, Peru.  In the past, they have lived in Beijing, Vietnam, Slovenia, New York, and other places, with a home base in Vienna.

My aunt and uncle live in the 21st district of Vienna called Floridsdorf, in the northernmost part of the city limits.  They are for sure an interesting pair!  My uncle started learning Mandarin at university, and he went to Shanghai in the early 80s to continue studying Chinese.  Back then, he was probably the only Western looking guy for miles around, much less one that could speak the language.  He found a job at the Austrian embassy in Beijing, and then met my aunt shortly after.  My mom (her sister) had moved to the US with my dad around that time.  After marrying him, my aunt moved to Austria without knowing a lick of German, and now she and my uncle speak a combination of Mandarin and German with some English and Spanish thrown in for good measure.  It’s quite confusing at times!

So this was my rough and rushed itinerary:  Vienna > Bratislava > Vienna > Feldkirch > Liechtenstein > Feldkirch > Zurich > Luxembourg.  Given how quick each stop was, I’ll just share pics with a few notes.


Vienna / Wien

  • Food
    • I did a free walking tour and then ate schnitzel at the 3rd gen Figlmüller because the OG and 2nd gen locations were full or closed (respectively).  Was delicious but slightly touristy.
    • I waited in line to have the Sachertorte at the Sacher Hotel Cafe.  Was very delicious, but very touristy and not worth the wait in the hot sun.
  • Sightseeing
    • St Stephen’s Cathedral: lovely square, beautiful roof, crowded
    • St Peter’s Church: gilded and ornate interior, not as crowded as St Stephen’s
    • Austrian National Library: pretty interesting Free Mason exhibit, beautiful old globes, statues, and painted ceilings
    • Belvedere Palace and museum: looove Gustav Klimt, paid €15 for just the Upper Belvedere, then took a stroll around the palace grounds for free

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