It's Friday night and I'm in Salzburg, Austria for the first time.  The first of three Lotusphere Comes to You events on this trip -- edcom's Munich event -- is complete and declared a success by all.  As with my 2005 visit to this event, I am humbled by the generosity and hospitality of Otto, Anneliese Wolfgang, and the entire edcom staff.  They run an extremely professional event that draws attendees from all over the region, along with excellent local speakers and experts.  Dinner at the Master's Home on Wednesday night was as good as I remembered it, and my wife Deborah demonstrated considerable stamina through the four-hour dinner while enjoying the company of Volker and Ute, Otto, and Maja at the table.  We also had the chance to see a bit of Munich, which reminded me how much I'd love to have a Viktualienmarkt at home in Chicago (though Herr Berr was not there this time).

Thank you to edcom for their support of IBM Lotus, the products and community.  It was great to hear from some of the attendees as we walked to the U-Bahn station that they had come from four hours away, and that they really enjoyed the event because people actually interact with each other and get to know everyone.  This is the Lotusphere spirit, even in snowy München.  I hope that Monday in Düsseldorf and Tuesday in Hamburg are just as successful.

This morning, we took the train from Munich to Salzburg.  With tourism down and this being the off-season, I was able to secure an incredible deal at one of the top hotels, the Goldener  Hirsch.  The hotel building dates back to 1407, and has been a hotel for almost 500 years.  Somehow, Starwood has done a great job of respecting this history while mixing in modern amenities, like two flat-screen TVs in our lofted room which sit atop period furniture and cabinets.  Really nice.

I've never been to Salzburg before (which is in part why we chose to spend the weekend here) but we're enjoying it a lot.  It is less expensive than I expected overall, and being February the tourists are relatively few.  Our book suggested allowing a half-day to tour Festung Hohensalzburg, due to queues and crowds.  Without many people around, we made a full tour of the fortress in about 90 minutes' time.

Dinner tonight was in the aptly-named Carpe Diem, where we dined on the self-billed "finest finger food".  The quality, taste, and service were all top-notch.  The small plate dishes were served beautifully, and we even ordered seconds on the Spanish ham with fresh fig baguette (and I would eat thirds right now if I could...).  Tomorrow night for Valentine's Day we are at Magazin, about which one reviewer says "thee food is often as unusual as it's delicious".  And yes, don't worry, we're going to do the Sound of Music tour and eat Mozart Kügeln.  We are tourists, after all!

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