by Paul Thompson
After visiting and running in Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava the next stop on our train tour of central and eastern Europe was Salzburg. A regional commuter train got us from Bratislava to Vienna and a Railjet no less, operated by Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB), ‘flew’ us from Vienna to Salzburg in barely two hours. Would the hills be alive with the sound of running footsteps?
Sham couldn’t remember if she had been to Slazburg – in spite of being a The Sound Of Music fan – but her sister swears they were there 20 years ago. If her sister was right it had clearly failed to leave much of an impression on her. A short early evening run soon after checking into the hotel, a Mercure chosen due to its proximity to the station, suggested it ought to have left a big impression.
I ran on the cycle path along the river and then passed through the old town. The town was jaw droppingly gorgeous: historic, quaint, green, Austrian. And an imposing fortress provided a breathtaking backdrop. Again I had to dodge bicycles. It felt like it was only a matter of time before I collided with one.
We spent a day chilling out – Viennese breakfast in a river side cafe, watching a classical orchestra in the Mirabelle Gardens, ambling through the old town, touring the castle and ending with dinner at S’Kloane Brauhaus (brewhouse – my German vocabulary was fast expanding).
On the morning of our day of departure to Innsbruck, Sham instigated a long run out to another place made famous by The Sound of Music – the Schloss Leopoldskron. Our ten mile run offered much variety – river, old town, tunnel under the castle, lake and meadows. There is no doubt we will remember this visit to Salzburg. But Sham is still unsure whether it was her first or second visit.