We hadn’t planned to go to Salzburg, but when our friends suggested it as an easy day trip, that could be done cheaply, I was sold! It helped that it gave us a day where we didn’t interfere with their family routine for the day. I got the Bayern Pass, 25 Euro for a round trip train after 9:00 am to Salzburg with two kids included; this is a great deal for families, as they can use it for public transit all over Munich and most of Bavaria for a low price. We headed off to the train station, got some snacks for the trip, and set off.
I decided to get the Salzburg card for each of us, which is a tourist card that works for 24 hours. We only used it for 5 hours, but we did “get our money’s worth” although, the card included things that we might not have done had we not bought the card, if that makes sense. Like instead of hike up to the fortress, we took the Funicular, which was fast and awesome. The card ensured that we saw and did more than we would have otherwise, but that meant I totally wore the kids out!
A view from the top of the fortress in Salzburg.
We did the river cruise, hot and not really worth doing. But the river itself is very interesting, as it’s loaded with minerals and goes past a very wealthy area. We did Mozart’s birthplace, which was a really interesting look at the old house interior, and Seamus and Gilbert were more excited about doing that than I’d thought they might be. We got an ice cream and went to the horse fountain that’s featured in The Sound of Music. Finally we checked out the really large church and the catacombs which inspired the ending scene in The Sound of Music. After we wore ourselves out, we rushed to the bus stop to catch our train back to Munich. All told, we traveled from 8 to 8, with 4 hours on the train and a good 5.5. hours poking around Salzburg. (Looking at the timing, I’m not sure where the other hours went…the train station, I guess?).
Another view from the fortress.
Lighting a candle for Old Grand-dad.
In the big church, the boys asked me about lighting candles, and they wanted to do it. I said that you light candles for family members or loved ones who’ve died. Well you should have seen the cogs turning in their heads. Finally, they said, “We could light one for Old Grand-dad.” I wondered if they’d come up with it, and they did! Lighting the candle was then something they noticed much more in each church we visited afterward.
The next day, Tuesday, I took them to Dachau Memorial Site. Dachau was the first Concentration Camp opened by the Nazis, and I guess I hadn’t really realized that Bavaria, and Munich in particular was where Hitler had found a sympathetic audience. It was an experience that I found to be powerful when I visited Munich years ago, and I wanted to share that with the boys. They handled it well, despite the signs everywhere saying that the site was not suggested for children under 12. I think a lot of it went over their heads, but they did understand finally that it was a crime against our human spirit to imprison and target people just because of who they are. The gas chamber made an impression, and the vast space of the barracks awed us.
That afternoon, we headed back into town to do the Rick Steve’s walking tour of Munich. That was a fun way of changing the tone, but it really wore them out. Seamus got in a spectacularly bad mood, which I tried to cure with gelato. That worked. We checked out the baroque Asam Church, the Munich City Museum gift shop (which was super cute), got an ice cream and dunked our heads in a fountain, and visited the Bayern Munchen fan shop.
These were the souvenirs they wanted. Soccer shirts.
Right at the end, one or the other of them declared an urgent need to visit the bathroom, and we were a ways from the house. I noticed a sign for Apple Strudel at a little cafe. I had planned to let them have one in Salzburg the day before, but we were pressed for time, and we didn’t end up sitting down to eat there at all. So we stopped and indulged–and went to the bathroom!
I also had a treat. Haha.
This day exhausted them more than Monday, so we had to take it a bit easier on Wednesday. We just went for a bike ride, hung out in the English Garden, visited a huge toy store to find a present for Porter and Harlan, and enjoyed a last night’s dinner with our friends. It was a wonderful trip. There were many moments when I was annoyed with their behavior, but on the whole, they were delightful travel partners.