Trip Start Oct 02, 2011
10Trip End Oct 20, 2011
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Where I stayed
What I did
Visited Sound of Music sites, the fortress
Salzburg is built on both sides of the Salzach River just north of the Alps. Its name means “Salt Castle” indicating its historical source of wealth and power. It is the best-preserved baroque city north of the Alps and a world heritage site. It is also has a rich musical history, especially the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As were several of the places we visited, Salzburg was occupied by the Nazis during WW2. The newer part of town was heavily damaged by Allied bombs. After the war, many Allied troops were stationed there and six camps for displaced persons established.
We wandered around window-shopping for a birthday present for Tom (lederhosen?) and had a good dinner in one of the places recommended on TripAdvisor - - the Zum Mohren. It was a few blocks from our hotel in a 400-year old building with an interesting menu that included Italian, Indian, and Austrian selections.
The next morning, Mandy went on an early morning run down the river and into a wooded park, and returned in time for a (sort of) early breakfast. We took the funicular up to Hohensalzburg, the huge fortress that dominates the cliff above the city. The weather was quite chilly, although the sun was out and the low clouds gradually moved away from the mountains so we could see the spectacular views. It seemed more fortress than castle, in comparison to those in Prague and Cesky Krumlov. We had a wonderful vegetable strudel for lunch on the terrace restaurant on the north side of the fortress while admiring the gorgeous views. At the base of the cliff again, we walked past the oldest restaurant in Europe, said to have had Charlemagne as a customer, and the Petersfriedhof, cemetery, the oldest in Salzburg, filled with graves beautifully planted with fresh flowers and interesting wrought iron crosses. Only people with family members previously buried there can themselves be buried over the bones of their ancestors; recycling limited real estate! It is the graveyard in which the Von Trapp family hid from the Nazis in The Sound of Music. (In fact, they neither hid in a cemetery not hiked over the mountains but left Austria for Italy by train). We didn't have time to visit the catacombs in the cliffs above the cemetery.
I wanted to see some of the places in and near Salzburg where the Sound of Music was filmed, but couldn’t face one of the tours in a giant bus with a parade of tourists trailing behind a guide holding her collapsed umbrella on high. Instead, we defied the tourist office and booked with Bob’s Tours, ending up with 2 other couples in a small van checking off the significant sites. We had already noticed the red-painted copper roof of Nonnberg Abbey from above. We hadn’t realized that it is not only the oldest convent in German-speaking Europe, but also the convent where Maria lived as a novice and eventually married Baron von Trapp (although the interior actually used in the movie was an ugly, baroque church in Mondsee (which we saw later in the day). Also in town, we drove past the Horse Fountain in front of Sigmund’s Gate at the foot of the Fortress and the famous stairs and fountain in the Mirabell Garden featured in the “Do-Re-Mi song. We drove a little way out of town to see the Leopoldskron Castle, the exterior of which was used as the Trapp family home. We saw it across the lake in which the Trapp children fell in the movie. We drove a little farther to the Hellbrunn Castle, built in the early 17th century by an Archbishop, where the gazebo used in the movie has been moved. After a quick stop for a toboggan run down a steep slope, we had a snack in a little restaurant overlooking the village of St Gilgen (where Mozart’s mother was born), the Wolfgangsee, and the beautiful mountain scenery shown in the beginning of the movie. I enjoyed the tour far more than I expected, mostly because we saw beautiful places outside of town that we would not have otherwise seen.
After a very full day, we decided to have dinner at a little bar we’d noticed the day before. It was a cozy, local-feeling place, and the food was good, but the main draw was the incredible desert that Amanda had to have – a Salzburger Nockerl. It consisted of three mountains of meringue (representing the Gaisberg, Moenchsberg and Nonnberg) dusted with powdered sugar served warm on a little lake of raspberry jam. It was delicious but so rich the two of us couldn’t finish it.
The next day it was even colder than the day before. After waiting around for Mandy to return from her run and shower, we caught the train to Fussen. I was tired of cities, no matter how old, interesting and charming, and wanted to be in the country someplace with a pretty view of nature.