30 AND 31 PICTURE ALBUM
Wednesday, July 30 and Thursday, July 31
Paula: We arrived in Salzburg Tuesday evening and after
a nice dinner began exploring the city which is truly magical at night. The
Festung Hohensalzburg (fortress) towers above the rest of the city which peacefully
mills below. The beautiful architecture and lovely classical music impresses
you immediately. We enjoyed watching chess games in the square next to the
Residenzbrunnen Fountain. There was also a huge outdoor screen set up where
people had gathered to watch videos of operas from previous ummer festivals.
Cafes line every street and were lively. The walk over the Salzach (river
running through the city) was beautiful as all the town's major sites, churches
and fortress were lit and visible from this vista. We went to bed looking
forward to seeing more of this lovely town.
Wednesday morning we headed straight to the tourist office to purchases tickets
to several concerts and a Salzburg card (providing entrance to all the major
sites). We explored the fortress and learned that it was never really fully
occupied because the town was never under serious danger of attack until WWII.
It is the best preserved fortress in central Europe and is actually built
right into the mountain. You can visually see how the fortress was expanded
over the centuries and how the walls and buildings were actually carved out
of the mountain (Holensalzburg means high salt fortress). This is because
the area is surrounded by salt mines and is another reason the area has always
been safe from capture. In medieval times salt was used to preserve meats
and other foods and it was essential to survive any attempts to capture the
We took a tour of the old city with a resident guide who was lovely. She
explained over and over how proud the residents are of their peaceful heritage
and lifestyle focused on music and happiness.
She emphasized that the people here have always felt safe and thankful for
this beautiful refuge. The history of the city is extensive. It was established
as an independent province and originally run by archbishops starting about
700 AD. The Roman Empire considered it a critical post and gateway because
the river runs into the Daube River.
Some of the other sites that were fascinating included St. Peter's Cemetery,
the Cathedral (not given a name because it was for all the people) and The
Franciscan Church. The Cemetery was fascinating because the epitaphs were
iron and included catacombs that are centuries-old with family members buried
on top of one another 10 feet below. Our guide also told us that everyone
in town gathers in the cemetery on Christmas Eve and lights candles. The Cathedral
is huge and was built in the 700s. There were not many people living in Salzburg,
so we were told that a law was passed requiring everyone to learn to sing
so that the church would be filled with music. This law is still in place
today and all children go to music school.
We walked in the open market for a lunch of pretzels and sausage. Then we
walked down Getreidegasse, a shopping walkway where every store (including
McDonalds) had a elaborate iron sign. The afternoon was spent exploring Mozart's
birthplace, residence and Mirabell Gardens. We learned a great deal about
Mozart and then enjoyed his opera "The Magic Flute" at the famous
Marionette Theater that evening.
we enjoyed taking an organized tour of the sites around Salzburg that had
been used in filming the Sound of Music (including the gazebo that was used
for the song "I am 16 going on 17...", and the church from the wedding
- both seen here on the left). Our guide was amusing and the tour included
going out to a beautiful Lake District around the city. It was disappointing
to learn about the many "liberties" Hollywood took in retelling
the von Trapp story but it was still fun reliving one of our favorite movies.
The highlight of the tour for David was the alpine slide-rolling down the
mountain on a sled with wheels (he also enjoyed skipping around the gazebo
from the movie singing "I am 16 going on 17
If Salzburg doesn't fill you with music, the Austrian countryside will definitely
make you feel like singing! In the evening we headed back up to the Fortress
for a Mozart chamber music concert. We loved our stay in Salzburg - there
is a good reason for why this is one of the most visited places in all of
Distance Walked: July 30 - 3.44 miles, July 31 - 2.43 miles
The Trapp family home, and the Mondsee Cathedral used for the wedding in the
Sound of Music.