On our first full day in Austria, we woke up a bit a earlier than expected…oh wait, no, thats right…this was the first day in like 2 years that we haven’t had to wake up to an alarm clock, a crying baby, or a toddler trying to climb into bed with us, so we slept in. …to be fair the crying baby and half-asleep toddler could still have happened, but they did not because it appears this a god after all (though, maybe only in Europe).
We picked the hotel we are staying in because it provided us a bit of a soft landing. After traveling with 2 kids the last thing we wanted was to worry about stocking an AirBnB with groceries for breakfast…or really doing anything at all I guess. The place was stacked with a crib, and couch bed for R, it had a TV and Bluetooth sound system, and a Nespresso coffee machine which was probably used (by me) more than any of the above.
So, breakfast was included and after we go through the 45 minute ritual of getting the kids up, cleaned, and dressed in the clothes that they would ruin during their meal, we went down to eat. At this point, true to prophecy, we lost another of L’s outfits to exactly what you might expect.
The weather in Salzburg is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous…as soon as we leave town. In the meantime we are stuck with 40-60 degree weather and lots and lots and lots of rain. Fortunately, Salzburg has things to do with kids in this scenario, so we got a cab and headed to the Haus der Natur, or Nature Museum, which was 4 delightful floors full of exhibits like, such as:
- Stay dry while looking at these snakes!
- Here is stuff about space and you won’t get rained on!
- Check out this Tibet display where it is also not raining!
- Dinosaurier ohne Regen!
- Cafe. With a roof!
- Aquarium: featuring water in tanks and not on your face or head.
We kicked it here for a good part of the morning and ended up eating a late lunch in the cafe which had a sweet little area for the kids to play, where they did, with some other kids.
We walked out of the museum and found ourselves on Greissgasse, one of the main roads on the south side of Salzach river, flanking the old town. There was a break in the weather so we decided to push our luck and explore for a while. We pulled up a walking tour and followed in towards Gertreidegasse by Mozart’s birthplace, around by St Peter’s Cathedral and the Kapitalplatz, down through the university, and out again by Mozartplatz…oh yeah…Mozart…pretty big deal here.
At this point we hadn’t been rained on at all and we probably should have headed back to the hotel for naps for the kids. L was pretty beat and R was ready to pass out at any moment. A nap didn’t sound too terrible to Erin and I either…but instead we charted a course to an old Augustinian Monastery on the western slopes of the Mönchsberg hill. We walked along the pedestrian path that followed the Salzack before cutting up the hill (still pushing that stroller ya’ll), probably making some grand over-reaching comment about how nice it is “here” that cities have “these types of things.” Oh…why a Monastery? Because it is now a brewery of course.
The Augustinerbräu is a massive complex where beer is brewed and served on site. From the looks of it, they have the capacity to serve the whole of Austria. On the floor we were on, there were 5 large halls filled with thick wooden tables at which sat various groups of mostly men; there were at least 4 floors. The complex also featured an expansive beer garden, but due to the weather, it was shut down.
In classic fashion, Erin and I charged it. After getting our bearings on the place, I folded up the stroller and trudged it inside, leaning it against some random section of wall. It was the kind of operation where you grab a few steins and they pull the keg for you, so I did that while Erin went into a hall and claimed a seat. Turns out the seats we had were quite reserved (despite and attendant half-saying we could sit there), but we ended up sharing the table with some older gentlemen with whom I could not communicate with. I don’t think they minded us being there, but they were not happy about it. Erin and I drank our (to be truthful, mediocre) beers while R and L drank some water and had a pretzel (still too young for Radler). We finished up and walked out before the stares actually burned holes in the back of our heads. Life goals: Bring a 1 and 3 year old to a beer hall. Check.
At this point the sky had opened up so we quickly hailed a cab on the opposite side of the street and headed back to the hotel for those naps…it was like 4pm already…what’re ya gonna do?
When we woke up, we were bordering on hangry so the four of us ventured back out into the rain (which had picked up considerable) for a quick 2 block sprint (literally) to the S’Kloane Brauhaus. I had a turkey schnitzel with the standard cranberry sauce and potatoes while Erin had this goat cheese dumping thing. Both were excellent and the kids got none of it because they were being jerks. The food was good to be sure, but the beer here stole the show; particularly the wheat beer, brewed on site, was worth the trip itself. Also, the dessert…serious, go here and then eat six times.
Back at the place we were still all suffering from jet-lag and weren’t quite tired so we grabbed The Sound of Music from the DVD library in the hotel and started watching it, till we fell asleep…