Posted by: Turkadactyl | November 29, 2008

Austria- The Hills Are Alive… (Photo Update January 12)

… With the sound of music.  We are in Salzburg now.  We spend the full day in Salzburg tomorrow and then board the overnight train to Amsterdam.  We spend an afternoon and night in Amsterdam and then it is time to return to the Great White North.  It is hard to belief that we left my grandparents almost a month ago.  Salzburg is beautiful.  For those of you who have seen The Sound Of Music you will be familiar with our picturesque surroundings.  There are Christmas markets crowding the streets.  The Austrians love their Christmas markets.  The streets were crowded today.  Many people were drinking punsch- it is an orange drink mixed with rum heated up over a burner.

Mrs. Turkadactyl and I are receiving a special treat from her parents the Shraptors.  The Sound Of Music musical is playing in Toronto at the moment and we will be be seeing the production.  To get in the musical mood I have been singing while we walk around in Salzburg.  I made up a few songs at Camas and Emily noticed that they all carried the same tune so I have tried to change things up.

Salzburg is unique.  There are a lot of people who ride bicycles here.  I know, bicycles are not that unique.  What sets Salzburg apart is people do not lock their bikes up.  They park them with confidence that their bicycle will be where they left them when they return.

Mrs. Turkadactyl and I watched a funny situation yesterday.  There are horse drawn carts for tourists to take a ride around the old city of Salzburg.  Horses, like any creature, need to relive themselves.  Their road apples can be found scattered among the streets (people are paid to search the streets and scoop the horse poop).  A couple of ladies were walking their dogs and were coming up to a fresh pile of horse business.  Mrs. T stopped me and said, “Watch this.”  We watched and were not disappointed.  One of the dogs stopped, sniffed the pile and took one of the large nuggets in its mouth.  The owner had a difficult time getting her dog to release it´s new found treasure.

We had a wonderful time in Vienna.  Thank you to Ulli and Egi for their hospitality.  Mrs. T and Egi hit it off really well because they are both swing fans.  We also went out to dinner with Papa Shraptors cousin Willy and his wife Sheila.  The weather warmed up after the weekend because the bitter cold wind slowed down.

We took in a show at an orchestral hall.  Vienna is world famous for its opera and orchestra halls.  There are plenty of choices to go around.  We ended up seeing a selection of some of Brahms works by a piano and violin.  Thankfully the two instruments had two musicians to play them otherwise the show may have been a bit boring.  Although neither of us were familiar with the pieces played it was a pleasant treat to be able to see a show in Vienna.

I also took a trip to the Austrian Museum of War History.  The museum covers Austria´s military history for the last three hundred years.  My primary interest was to see the exhibits on the first and second world wars.  In D-Day by Stephen Ambrose the infantry who landed on the beaches talk about, in their oral histories, seeing the shells from the naval bombardment flying overhead and hitting the German fortifications.  One mentioned that it looked like the ships were shooting cars at the Nazis.  After seeing the size of some of those shells I can understand the comparison.  Some of the shells came up to my shoulders.  What is even more remarkable is the German fortifications withstood the blasts from the artillery fire.  Just wait until I show the pictures with the craters.  The earth was not as solid.

The disappointment in the museum was the tank exhibition was closed.  All I could do was look out the window and see all the tanks covered up.  Thankfully I was able to see some tanks up close in Rome.  Mrs. T and I walked past a military show so I wandered on in to get a close up on the tanks.  I have an ambition to drive a tank one day and if I am really lucky to fire the cannon.  One woman was in the  pilots seat and was rotating the tanks turret around and moving the cannon up and down.  I was hoping to have the same luck but the soldier did not think I was as pretty so all I could do was sit in the seat.  That was still neat.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  If any of you know someone who owns a tank and can hook me up with a ride let me know.

Perhaps my fascination with tanks comes from my grandfather´s war experience.  Although he will not talk about his time in WWII I have been able to piece together that he was part of The Desert Rats, a British armoured company.  They received a brief mention in Ambrose´s D-Day.  I have my grandfather´s war medals and company badge.  I found a replica of his company badge as well as the Desert Rats badge at the Juno Beach Centre so I bought them.  A note of interest the original Desert Rat is orange.  My replica is red.  I told the woman at the Centre and she looked the colour up and sure enough the Desert Rat is orange.  Unless the British Army also made red rats that is a big mistake the replica company made.  It is still good to have the badge even though the colour is wrong.

One thing that was a shame at Juno beach is one of the beach fortifications that has been left standing has been graffitied.  I would think that the graffiti “artist” would of had more respect and left such a building alone.

Another note about Juno beach.  I finished reading D-Day a couple of days ago.  While on the chapter of Juno beach Ambrose talked about a tank that was used to fill a hole so vehicles could drive over the tank ditches.  After placing the pillar the tank drove on ahead only to fall into an even larger hole made from a shell from the Allied navy.  It was impossible for the tank to get out so the Canadians used that tank as a pillar for two portable bridges.  It was in 1967 or 1976 that the bridges were removed and the tank was lifted out of the hole.  I was able to see that tank as it was left at Juno beach as a monument.  We have some pictures of the two of us standing by the tank.

I will write some more tomorrow.  My topic will be of my trip to Mauthausen.  It was a powerful experience.  I am thankful that I made the trip.  I ran out of time of course but that was due to the amount of time it took to travel to and from Mauthausen.  I bought a book with pictures taken during the camps operation.  A dark time in human history.  Talk to you tomorrow.

The City of Salzburg at the foot of the Alps.

The City of Salzburg at the foot of the Alps.

 

This is the house used for the Von Trapp residence in The Sound Of Music.

This is the house used for the Von Trapp residence in The Sound Of Music.

 

Mrs. Turkadactyl pulling her mighty Pegasus impression at the Mirabell garden.

Mrs. Turkadactyl pulling her mighty Pegasus impression at the Mirabell garden.

 

I couldn't forget about Snuggles now could I?

I couldn't forget about Snuggles now could I?

 

I took this photo on more of an artistic whim.

I took this photo on more of an artistic whim.

 

Hohensalzburg Fortress is what you see on top of the hill.

Hohensalzburg Fortress is what you see on top of the hill.

 

Mrs. Turkadactyl has a great eye for photography.  I just saw a bush; she saw art.

Mrs. Turkadactyl has a great eye for photography. I just saw a bush; she saw art.

 salzburg08-1311

salzburg08-132

My turn to be artistic again.  This is a shadow of a tree reflected on Salzburg's Museum of Modern Art.

My turn to be artistic again. This is a shadow of a tree reflected on Salzburg's Museum of Modern Art.


Responses

  1. Alex: Came across this today and enjoyed rereading and viewing the pics. Good stuff.
    Fred

    Like


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