We left Innsbruck on a mission to get to Salzburg. Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria and the capital of the federal state of Salzburg. Salzburg’s “Old Town” with its world famous baroque architecture is one of the best-preserved city centers in Europe, and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city is noted for its gorgeous Alpine setting. It is also the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting for parts of the musical and film The Sound of Music of which they conduct famous tours nowadays. This was my second time in Salzburg and first in nearly 9 years so it was a big refresher for me and a joy to be there.
Salzburg is such a nice town to walk around and just have a look around. The city is watched over by a large castle and other lookout points up a mountain. It is really cool. Also, yesterday the weather was perfect outside and in fact, it was the best day of the year thusfar, so all of the locals and many tourists alike were just laying out by the river on the grass. The streets were very festive and full of tourists and locals enjoying the weather. If you’ve never been to Salzburg, it is really a great place to just relax, have a stroll and see some of the best scenery in Europe.
After Salzburg we headed north back toward to Czech Republic but made a quick stop in Linz, which is the second largest city in Austria. Linz was much like Salzburg in that all the locals were just laying out by the river. The city of Linz itself was nice but not too much to see. It is basically an industrial second city but has a nice feel to it but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to get there. However, it’s a good stop off for some gas, food and quick look.
We then beelined it to ?eský Krumlov which is just over the Austrain border in the Czech Republic. ?eský Krumlov is a very small city in South Bohemia, best known for the fine architecture and art of the historic old town and ?eský Krumlov Castle. Old ?eský Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town itself is very small and can be easily navigated on foot. The views from atop the castle are fantastic and encompass the entire old town below. We also lucked out big time because we got there at about 5pm after the tour groups had left and it was just mainly locals, of which there are 14,000 and a few stragglers on day trips. Apparently, in the summer, the town can be overrun with tourists, much like Prague. After ?eský Krumlov, we headed about 20 kilometers north to ?eské Bud?jovice.
?eské Bud?jovice has long been well known for the beer brewed there since the 13th century. For a time the town was the royal brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and Budweiser Bier became, along with Pilsener, one of the best-known lagers. I found it imperitive to have a Budweiser in ?eské Bud?jovice as just two weeks ago we had a Pilsener in Plzen.
The largest and famous brewery is Pivovar Bud?jovický Budvar (Budweiser Budvar Brewery), which has legal rights to market its beer under the “Budweiser” brand name in much of Europe. The same product is also sold elsewhere under the names “Budvar” and “Czechvar” due to legal squabbles with Anheuser-Busch over the Budweiser brand. The American lager was originally brewed as an imitation of the famous Czech original but over time has developed its own identity and attained remarkable commercial success. Anheuser-Busch has made offers to buy out the Czech brewing company in order to secure global rights to the name “Budweiser”, but the Czech government has refused all such offers, considering keeping the Budweiser name Czech to be a matter of national pride. Good for them!
As far as sights, the old town and main square are very picturesque and is really well maintained and very clean. One of the better squares in Europe that I have seen. We spent some nice time just wandering around snapping a few pictures in the square after we were pelted with a quick hailstorm. The storm actually made the scenery better as it created a gothic kind of look at dusk especially with a lot of the buildings sporting gargoyles!
We arrived back in Prague around 11pm and it was the end of an amazing road trip. My posts cannot possibly give it the due it deserves as simply the scenery itself was worth four days of viewing but the trip was awesome. It was great people, great places, great company and just a lot of fun. I hope everyone gets a chance to do something like this some day.