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Taking advantage of Deutsche Bahn’s 27-Euro Bayern Ticket (two people, all-day, anywhere in Bavaria,) we crammed one last sightseeing adventure into our next-to-last day in Bavaria. For this trip we chose Salzburg, Austria – the home of Mozart. (I know, Salzburg isn’t in Bavaria, but the Bayern Ticket is valid for Salzburg anyway.)

After the previous day’s debacle (see yesterday’s post) you might wonder why we would sign up for another DB ride. The answer is, we’d already purchased the ticket and couldn’t bear to forfeit 27 Euros!

This two-hour train ride was speedy, comfortable, and trouble-free. The weather was far too pleasant (perfect, sunny, fall day) to sit at home and I think we would have gone anywhere just to enjoy some of that wonderful sunshine.

Salzburg is a rather compact city. We easily walked from the train station to the turquoise-blue Salzach River in about fifteen minutes (after taking only one wrong turn.) Across the Salzach is the old town where most of the Mozart stuff lies. We would be relying on Rick Steves’ (of PBS fame) guide book for a walking tour of the city.

Rick’s instructions make it sound like any fool could get to the starting place of the tour. Well maybe a fool could, but we couldn’t! We crossed the river, as instructed but where was Mozart Platz? We walked two blocks up the river. We walked four blocks down the river. We poked our heads into several side streets. I asked a restaurateur. We followed his curt instructions (“Up this street.”) We walked up the street and around the cathedral. No Mozart Platz.

Our frustration was beginning to take a toll on our marriage. Mary had her own ideas about how to find Mozart Platz. Her ideas were stupid. I had my ideas. She thought they were stupid. Thoughts of grabbing Rick Steves by the lapels and demanding to know “WHERE IS MOZART PLATZ!” were forming in my brain.

Contributing to our dilemma was Salzburg’s stinginess with street signs. Those we could find were written in cutesy 18th-century lettering that we found nearly impossible to decipher. The streets on Rick’s map were not those on the ground. The streets on the ground were not those on the map.

The one landmark we could find was the river. Was it possible Salzburg had more than one river, I wondered? We clung to the river bank as a lifeline. But rivers have limitations as guideposts. It’s hard to know where along the river one is. What we needed was an identifiable landmark – a point.

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Narrow Salzburg Street

We finally found our point in an enormous church which I identified as St. Peter’s Church. Now we would find our way out of the labyrinth! Trouble was, none of the other landmarks were where they were supposed to be. ARGHH! I could feel my blood pressure rising to new heights. The explanation for the misplaced landmarks was that the church was not St. Peter’s. A closer inspection of the map showed that Salzburg has a cathedral on every corner. The only thing I could think of was to go back to square one, the river, and again try to find the tour’s start. Mary wanted to stay at the cathedral.

“Well, I’m going back to the river” I announced rather truculantly.

“Well, I’m not” retorted Mary, rather truculantly.

All that we needed were divorce papers and we would have both signed them at that moment. I stormed out of the cathedral, headed for the river. Mary had the good sense to realize we might have trouble finding each other if we separated (duh!) so she came after me.

Charging toward the river we stumbled into a square and lo! There was Mozart’s statue. At last, the elusive Mozart Platz!

Now we could start the tour. We visited Mozart Platz, Residenz Platz, Kapital Platz. At each one, I pulled out Rick’s book and read the lengthy description of what we were looking at. But marching from Point A to Point B to Point C and reading the perfunctory descriptions was not what we needed in our hypertensive state.

“F_ _ _ Rick Steves!” I announced at that point. “Let’s just take a leisurely walk through these streets and enjoy the sights.”

Here, at last, was something we could agree on. We slackened our pace and drifted among the cobblestoned courtyards and towering cathedrals. We didn’t know St. Peter’s Cathedral from Salzburg Cathedral but we didn’t care.

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*This posting is not intended to malign Rick Steves’ fine travel guides. We have used several on this trip and find them to be chock-full of valuable information.

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