All about our Adventures by Disney Danube River Cruise Salzburg day:
I had definitely been looking forward to our day in Salzburg because it had some of the most exciting excursions planned! My body still wasn’t super adjusted to the time change, so I was up much earlier than I normally would be, around 6am.
Our excursion didn’t meet until 8, and unlike the big cruise lines there aren’t activities or anything going on. So I did what any runner would do – I hit the gym to use the treadmill!
Like everything on a river cruise ship, the gym is much, much smaller than you might be picturing. There was only 1 treadmill, and it was actually sort of built into the floor. I did 3 miles on that, showered, ate breakfast, and then we met in the lounge for our daily activities!
There was a choice between two tours for our Danube River Cruise Salzburg day. The first was to visit the Salt Mines, have lunch, and then do a tour of the sights of Salzburg with a local guide. The second option was to visit the Mondsee Lake District and then meet up in Salzburg for the same sightseeing tour. It didn’t specifically say it in the description, but the second option was basically a stop at some of the Sound of Music filming locations. While that sounded like a great time too, Jason and I couldn’t resist visiting the salt mines!
One thing I hadn’t realized about this trip was how many of the tours and excursions were not near where we docked at all, but a rather long bus ride away. This was definitely the longest of them all – I think it was almost two hours to get there.
Visiting the Salt Mines
Once we arrived at the salt mines we were put into some suits and taken by a little train into the mines! Further in we got off and did the rest of the tour on foot with our guide from the salt mines.
This was a very interesting tour about something I really knew nothing about, but enjoy quite a lot – salt, of course! I knew salt was mined, but I never thought about the process or what was involved.
It was a good combination of educational bits and more fun/interactive parts of the tour. We tasted some of the salt water, rode a boat underground, and even got to do several slides!
Some of the interesting exhibits or tidbits included a look at crystalized salt, which really is quite beautiful. We also learned about some of the artifacts and even mummies from the Iron Age which were found later by miners – because of the conditions of the salt caves, the bodies were almost perfectly preserved. However, the miners brought the bodies outside and, well… they didn’t last long after that.
Once our tour concluded we rode the train back out to daylight, and from there we had time to browse the gift shop before heading to the bus again and making our way to lunch!
Lunch at Hofbräu Kaltenhausen
This took place in a nearby town called Hallein, at the Hofbräu Kaltenhausen. I was excited to learn that this wasn’t just a restaurant, but a brewery! They did in fact make their own beer there, so of course I had to try some (and it was quite good).
The lunch was served family style, and we were seated with some of the other travelers on our Adventures by Disney trip. It was a great chance to interact with some people whom we hadn’t talked to yet, and we ended up getting along quite well with a father and son seated with us from New Jersey. The platter of food they brought us contained french fries, Wiener Schnitzel, ribs, dumplings, potatoes, and some vegetables. It was all really good, and then there was a platter of desserts to follow!
Something else which I didn’t realize had happened in Austria was the writing of the Christmas Carol, Silent Night. I will say though that I did already know the story of how it was written thanks to the Muppets version on the album A Christmas Together with John Denver.
The restaurant featured this in the room where we were seated, with plaques, quotes from the song, and sheet music for SIlent Night and other songs. (possibly original? I’m not sure as all the plaques were written in German). As a huge fan of Christmas Carols this was an extra bonus!
Tour of Salzburg
After our bellies were full from lunch we journeyed on for our tour in the main town area of Salzburg. It’s a pretty small but beautiful town. Much of our tour focused on the Mirabel Gardens, which is another Sound of Music location (the place where they sang Do-Re-Mi in the movie). It was beautiful and had lots of history of its own though.
Once we were done there we continued on and crossed over to the other side of town using the “Love Lock Bridge.” It’s named that due to the massive number of locks attached to the fencing on the bridge. Salzburg isn’t the only city to have this, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. It’s become a tradition for lovers to put their initials onto a lock, attach it to the bridge, and throw the key into the river. I thought it made it a really cool thing to see (though I might not throw the key into the water because of pollution and littering and all that).
How much more can the city of Salzburg have to its history? Well, it’s also the birthplace of Mozart! If you’re walking around you probably can’t miss the house where he was born – it’s bright yellow and has his name in large, bright gold lettering across the front. Mozart lived in Salzburg on and off during his life, between touring Europe as a musician, before ultimately settling in Vienna. His family remained in Salzburg (though it seems Mozart wasn’t a big fan of the city).
Our tour ended there, and we were given an hour of “free time” to explore Salzburg. Given the area we were in, this basically meant shopping. While I know that lots of people enjoy Europe for shopping and splurging, that is definitely not for Jason and me. I’ll buy some souvenirs here and there but I’m not going to be buying purses, clothing, etc.
This was another downside of being so far from the ship on our Danube River Cruise Salzburg day – we had to basically stay on the schedule given to us all day. We still made the most of it though and used our hour to check out the Sternbrau beer garden (of course).
Cocktail Hour, Dinner, and evening entertainment on the AmaLea
I napped on the bus ride back, and when we returned they were hosting the “sip and sail” in the lounge. This was basically a happy hour they did once a day where you could order a featured cocktail for free (wine and beer was also included at dinner but if you wanted a drink outside of dinner or this one hour you did have to pay for it). The featured drink this day was a Manhattan, so we enjoyed some time in the lounge listening to the pianist before heading to dinner.
It was a french themed menu for dinner this evening. Jason started out with the smoked trout panna cotta, while I had the salad nicoise and the cream of saffron soup with smoked salmon. The soup was really good. We had a “palate cleanser” of a Kir Royal sorbet before the main courses.
Jason had a crusted leg of lamb with thyme sauce, while my dinner was a halibut filet with a scallop in a tomato buerre blanc sauce. This was a nice, lighter option, which was good because I was getting pretty full by this point. I even gave Jason half my scallop, so you know I couldn’t handle too much more food!
For dessert we shared an order of the crepe suzette, which had an orange-cointreau caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. It was probably the best dessert we had on board.
Although starting to feel tired, I did want to stay up for the evening’ entertainment (and I’m sure the nap on the bus helped!). Jason skipped it in favor of sleep, but I couldn’t resist checking out some Broadway tunes!
There were two female performers who did a number of different showtunes. They were decent singers and our pianist was wonderful. They did mostly older Broadway stuff, and I actually knew every single song they sang. Of course they focused a lot on The Sound of Music, but then they moved on to a variety of tunes.
It was an enjoyable show, but then it was off to bed for me – after all, it was already 10pm! Okay, that might not sound early, but our day had been jam packed and we were looking forward to another day with plenty of activities tomorrow, starting in Melk, Austria.
What do you think of this trip? Would you want to participate in the Danube River Cruise Salzburg day?