Castle Climb

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Castle Climb

Salzburg, Austria

It was a headlining Trivium date in Salzburg, where I decided that I wanted to get out and see some sights. I awoke and headed into the venue for some really nice homemade lunch catering (a rare occurrence); I met the promoter of the show and asked what I should be doing in Salzburg (since it was my first time in the city). Mozart's childhood home was here, as well as a castle sort of past the city - castle it would be. 

I asked my band mates who would be keen on a walk into town for a bite and some sightseeing: a couple (typical) "no" answers, and a slow-start-to-another's-day weren't holding me back: solo expedition it would be. I just walked towards the mountains that I saw in the distance and followed whatever road my path would take me on. I felt all Lord-Of-The-Ringsy in this old medieval looking town… there's something extra fantastic about an old castle when you live in the States; we just don't have castles like the one I saw peering at me from the top of the village.

It took several hours of at first - streets and roads; into back roads and tiny stair cases past little village homes; then the uphill dirt and stone trek up into the castle gates. I eventually made my way into the castle, then higher - and just enjoyed the sights and the fresh air. It was a good adventure for the day.

I met up with Paolo and one of his friends from Italy and we headed to search for food and beer. I rarely ever write about the bummer restaurants… but here was one: Sternbrau. I didn't do my research, I didn't ask locals, I didn't do it right. Sternbrau was a large, touristy spot with touristy versions of local-cuisine. I had a Gasteiner and Schnitzel. Bum out. Simply put. Gone was the care and love of the Schnitzel from the night before at the grandma-style restaurant I shared with friends of Trivium… no good.

The show ended up fantastic and we felt like celebrating. Post show and shower, there were still a bunch of people from the show - so we figured we'd do it right this time. We asked our friends outside where we ought to go for a proper beer - they soon led the way. So there we were, most of our band and crew and maybe 10 or so people from the show, all on a path to Bricks for some drinks. I drank Zipfers and chatted with our new drinking partners, all getting to know each other and chatting music and each other's lives and such. It was a great way of getting to know some new friends across the globe. 

Naturally, after a night of one-too-many-pints, it's that mystery street-meat that one craves. Heisse Kiste seemed to be the resounding response from our local sources. Like a beacon in a storm was the little Euro-food-truck for the drunken, hungry metal-heads. Its specialty? Meat in tube form, served with a hunk of that delicious Austrian mustard, and a nice hard roll. Everyone threw back their beers and dined on their meat, all the while with Salzburg's castle sleeping in the skyline - one eye open, jealous of our meat-feast. 

Hasta La Vista, Baby… cow.

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Hasta La Vista, Baby… cow.

Vienna. Austria.

I recall waking up the day of the Vienna show feeling well-rested, excited to get out and see the sites of Vienna (a city I've come to love over the years). I noticed the bus is stopped "there already!?" I happily exclaim. I rush out the door to greet my old friend Vienna, when I notice… side of highway? Service station? Shit. 

The bus had broken down. As buses frequently seem to when en route to somewhere great (never anywhere crappy do they seem to break down on the way to). What really sucked was that on this show day, I was scheduled to get dinner with Roadrunner/ Warner Austria and several contest winners to enjoy typical (the word "typical" seems to be one of the best outside-of-USA descriptive terms to demonstrate: "traditional" and/ or "grandma-food") Viennese food. Dammit. 

Flash hours and hours forward to a mere 4 or so hours before the show - we arrive, I meet Chris from RR Austria and we're off to make the dinner date happen! We arrive at a fancy, traditional Viennese restaurant with Chris, a Journalist from a local publication, the four contest winners, and myself. Promo obligation tied into food? Bring it on. 

I start with a Zwettler Original to cool the nerves after the intense travel-stress and begin getting to know my dinner co-horts. What I love about Trivium fans (one of the many things that is) is that they are polite, fun to be around - and generally all around good people. I've had many a merch-guy tell me during a tour: "Man… your fans are really polite. And nice. I'm not used to this!" It's really awesome in fact. 

In Trivium we pride ourselves with being normal people (because let's face it - no matter what you do in life… you're a normal person), and maybe that shows somehow to the people who enjoy our music and what we do. I've had many occasions on tour where I've gone to eat and drink with many of our friends (as I prefer to call them over "fans") and it's always been a great time. 

Over getting to know my fellow diners, Chris finds out he has to move his car… so me and my friends are left to do the ordering. We decide on sharing everything (that's my favorite way to eat with friends new and old) and pretty much order everything:

- Bread.

- Baked goose liver dumplings coated in pumpkinseed grain, served on potato and lamb's lettuce with warm bacon dressing.

- Old Viennese brewery goulash with white roll dumplings, gherkins and debreziner sausages (a spicy sausage from Hungary).

- Boiled round of beer with hash browns, chive sauce and apple horseradish.

- Old Viennese onion roast beef, cut from the lean angus hip, served with crispy onions, fan cut gherkins and roast potatoes.

- Deep-fried escalope of veal "Vienna-style."

- Bratkartoffeln (a German fried potato dish that I always want), rice, vegetables.

- (then later) Desert Variation.

German and Austrian food are something that I feel don't have a proper reputation. These things are good, damn good. You just gotta know where to go. Amon did Grandma-style traditional-food right. Hearty, filling - but also with that sense of old world gastro-genius that only the mothers of the good ol' days could conjure up. Essentially, anything you'd have eaten at this restaurant, you would have eaten in similar components of familiar dishes - it was just done a little different here. All the meat was done perfectly, all the vegetables were fresh and fantastic.

Every bite I had there was amazing, but the standouts had to have been the goose liver dumplings and the goulash (Goulash is something you see a lot in the Eastern European countries and Russia); the schnitzel was phenomenal. Shaped like a coral reef (roughly the size of one too) and fried golden-delicious - ubiquitous lemon wedge on the side (use that lemon - it makes it even better).  

The desserts were just as great as the mains - and a massive sampling platter to boot (my favorite). The most unique thing of the desert platter was that spaghetti-noodle-type dish made from hazelnuts. That was something special. 

My dinner guests and I all had a great time feasting on some spot-on Austrian cuisine. We had a good laugh and meal - and then were on our way back for the show.