Eugenbach to Salzburg, 16Km
Hotel Markus Sittikus, 95 euros.
It’s strange how you can pay the same price for last night’s luxury in Eugenbach as the previous night’s horror show in Vöcklamarkt. The Landhotel Gschirnwirt had everything from a spa to a school room where the very young could pretend they were old enough to go to school.
Breakfast was a lavish affair with food from all corners of the Austro-Hungarian empire: cereals, cheese, cold meats, sausages, eggs, breads, croissants etc.. There were exotic teas, the finest example of German engineering making the coffee and jams from every fruit except the orange.
It was another hot “29 feels like 32” day as I crossed the pre-Alpine meadows. Jakobsweg suggested a short diversion up a steep hill to visit the Maria Plain basilica and I’m glad I did. It’s Whit Sunday and High Mass was in full swing. The air was thick with incense and the choir sung their hearts out. I arrived just in time to meet the collection box doing the rounds.
The adjoining Maria Plain hotel offered an impressive view of Salzburg from its terraces with service and prices to match. I took a small beer while the staff, all wearing national costume, brought huge quantities of food for my neighbours who must have missed breakfast. I’m relieved we don’t have national costume in Britain; nothing makes a man look more ridiculous although it suited the girls.
Strange thing. A pot of marmalade caught my eye in the hotel and not just any marmalade. Tiptree ‘Crystal’ marmalade. It was almost empty and was hidden in a corner. You won’t find that in your local supermarket. My guess is that it was left there by some Lord or Lady on the way home from the Grand Tour, knowing that a compatriot would find it.
The cycle ways into Salzburg were busy but I had my own path alongside the river Salzach to guide me into the city. I soon found a nice hotel and negotiated a better rate than was advertised online. I’ll take a rest day here. A massive storm is now raging. I wonder if they have Whitsun Weddings here [cue Philip Larkin].