Originally published 14 June 2013
Okay....so I played poker in Europe last night. To be honest, I really didn't enjoy it much. I arrived at the casino by bus...........it is in an old palace built sometime around 1700. There is a long driveway and people park along the driveway. A jacket is required and can be rented for 3.70 euros.....but the requirement is waived during summer so I was fine. I'll admit...it looks like no casino I've ever played at.
The casino front lawn
As for cards...I lost about 50 euros and quit. It's a VERY different crowd from the poker rooms in the states. Lots of suits, all the women wear evening dresses and gobs of diamonds, it looks like a friggin' James Bond movie. The big thing is....the people were not even close to friendly. They were very cold. I thought maybe they were that way to me because they knew I didn't speak German...but I watched a while....they were like that to each other as well. No table banter, no chatting, no smiles or laughing......and consequently, no fun. It was even like that in the pit games....no cheering, no laughing, the place was like a morgue.
I didn't try these....I can only eat so much
All the people in the casino are VERY wealthy.....it's not the commoners out for a night of fun. It's the cream of Salzburg out for a swanky evening. Playing poker with them wasn't real poker. They didn't want to play poker, they wanted to gamble. And they were crazy to play with. I can't remember the last time I didn't enjoy playing cards. I took the shuttle bus from the casino back to the hotel......I won't do that again. I'm not gonna spend time doing something I don't enjoy.
A wonderful Austrian bakery !
I volunteered for laundry duty this morning so Laurie could join David and Sheree for a museum thing. I went to the laundromat, which they call a "waschsalon" here and loaded the machine. I wandered a block or two and wound up having breakfast in a bakery......having a Lieberkasse sandwich. Lieberkasse is like meatloaf but very finely ground...kind of the consistency of bologna. I chatted back and forth as best I could with a friendly old man in the corner.
The best cream horn I've ever eaten
I'm unsure if he was a regular or the owner. He spoke absolutely no english and I speak very little german....so we chatted as best we could. He wondered how I liked the food....etc. He was nice and he was friendly. Nobody in the store spoke English but me. The lady who made my sandwich took me behind the counter to point out what to put on it. I knew the words for a few of the things, and I pointed to those I didn't. She taught me the words for those. I was in a working class area of Salzburg and there weren't a lot of non german speakers there.....but I like that. You learn more about the locals that way........and the further you get from the tourist areas, the friendlier they are.
The monastery at the base of the mountain
I got a cream horn after eating my sandwich. It came with this little bitty desert fork and I was using the fork to cut the cream horn. The old man said something to the woman behind the counter and she brought me a regular size fork and knife. He kept asking me if the pastry was good......
Statues in the garden
Let me cut in here. I love cream horns in the states. They're sort of a dry, flakey, sort of lardy crust, with a heavy, very sweet filling. This was my perception of what a cream horn was supposed to be. It turns out they were LYING to me!!!!!!!! Austrian cream horns are this very light, airy pastry, with this incredibly light, super fluffy just sweet enough filling. Austrian cream horns are perfection in a bakery case. I am ruined for life on cream horns now.......as these have no peer.
Funicular tracks to the fortress
I finished my cream horn and bid the old man a good day and thanked the ladies behind the counter for being so nice to me....and I told them it was "lecker", meaning tasty or delicious. I started walking and went through a Austrian second hand store. They had a cool old sideboard type cabinet with leaded glass windows in it for around 150 euros. I thought it was very cheap......but I don't think the airlines will let me check it.
Salzburg viewed from the river
I enjoyed my morning doing laundry and hanging out with the common folk much more than my evening at the casino with the high brow crowd. Laundry finished, I met the gang downtown and we wandered the open air market, and then we went to the gardens and the troll garden. Apparently this park, with the fountain in it was in that sound of music movie. I mention that as there are people who like it....but it's not my thing. We headed back to the hotel and are hanging out for a few hours, then we'll grab dinner.
Sound of Music fountain
Tomorrow, it's the high speed train the Austrians call "RailJet" to Vienna. Now it's Laurie's turn.
Meanwhile we went to the Salzburg Museum. Spent 3 hours there - beyond my usual 2 hours museum attention span. Great museum, very well lit and informative exhibits about the early church art and iconography in Salzburg. Amazing how profoundly the christian church impacted all of this part of Europe.
The view from the fortress
They expelled the jews once in the 1100s after being blamed for the plague (which a previous place said didn't happen here) and then again in the 1400s when they got rid of the remaining 260 jews left here. Apparently they never came back because there is almost no Jewish population here now. Meanwhile one of the barons decided to kick out the Protestants around the same time and threw the city into an economic depression. Serves them right.
On the market
The museum also had an interesting juxtaposition of some modern exhibits along with the ancient ones, mostly small videos. One was of Michael Jackson chronicling his transformation from a black boy to a white androgynous person.
Lunch on the steps in the market
We ended up at the Mirabell gardens which were impressive and then walked back to the hotel for a much needed break. its very unseasonably hot here. Its supposed to be in the upper 80s in Vienna so the lack of air conditioning may be a challenge. But Vienna will be awesome sweaty and all I'm sure.
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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