Salzburg wasn’t on my original itinerary. We were supposed to go to Berlin from Munich. Somewhere during the planning stages, my brother-in-law waxed eloquent about Salzburg, Yogesh pointed out that Salzburg was much closer, and hubby loved the idea of nature over history. That’s how we ended up spending 3 nights in Salzburg.

20180523_123226

We stayed at a hotel right at the river Salzach 20 minutes from the old town, yet spent only one day and evening seeing the town itself, the other 2 days were busy on day trips to Hallstatt and Berchtesgaden. Whilst this wasn’t a good move, Salzburg didn’t enthrall us enough to need longer. Was I wrong about that? Maybe.

DSC_3748

Stepping out of the hotel to this view

The day we toured Salzburg was the day of the Salzburg marathon. A lot of streets were cordoned off, police and volunteers lined the roads, and locals were out in full form to support the runners. We’d seen a few runners in the morning from our bedroom window but it was much more exciting to be down on the road amidst the fun. A band was playing on the porch of our hotel and mothers with children were lined up. The kids  were super enthusiastic and hopping up and down, cheering and clapping as the runners passed by. They held out their arms to high-five the runners too.

DSC_3742

We walked along the Salzach river towards the old town, with the towering Festung Hohensalzburg (Salzburg Fortress) as our guide. The roads were filled with supporters and the atmosphere was electric. The kid and I danced along as we took in the sight of the pretty pastel houses lining the riverfront.

DSC_3751

Many bridges crossed over the river that was once an important trade route for salt, mined in the many mines around Salzburg. In fact that’s what the town was named after, the fortress of salt. To reach there, we crossed over the padlocked Makartsteg bridge that seemed to sparkle under the bright sunlight.

DSC_3757

I love bridges with locks, j’adore. So it’s natural that I spent maximum time on the bridge where locking your lock and throwing away the key ensures a lifetime of happiness together. I thought that walking over this bridge was truly a romantic start to touring a romantic town.

DSC_3761

 

On the new town side of Salzburg stood the famous hotel Sacher, inventor of the Sacher torte. Unfortunately, the iconic hotel was under renovation, but it sure summed up my ideology in life.

2018-05-06 10.35.18

We crossed the bridge and passed through an archway between the pastel buildings to come upon the iconic Mozarts Geburtshaus, the birthplace of the legendary Wolfgang Mozart.

DSC_3788

We chose not to tour the inside (much to the hubby’s relief) and turned our attention to the narrow and crowded main alley of Salzburg, the Getreidegasse.

DSC_3794

The most famous shopping lane of Salzburg, the Getreidegasse houses international fashion chains, coffee shops, traditional stores and even bakeries. However, it wasn’t this high-end street in the olden days. It was initially a Trabe-gasse (for trotting along).

DSC_4107_01

My sister would have loved this street

Typically, these buildings had narrow houses with windows that became smaller as the floors got higher. Arched pathways connected the front and back of the houses to different buildings and courtyards. These archways and courtyards are the main charm of old town Salzburg, as are the wrought iron signs of the stores.

DSC_3797

Not to forget to mention the shoes. The poor husband had to tear the two women away from this store. Only to see them get stuck at a charming stall and drool over every cute thing present.

DSC_3802

DSC_3803

The buildings were ornately decorated in very pleasing colors. I loved this part of Salzburg. Once again, I was impressed by the good-looking pharmacies.

DSC_3808

All lanes lead into one another, and while it’s easy to walk about in circles, getting a little lost is always part of the fun. Though we had the downloaded Rick Steves Salzburg audio tour (since I had so intelligently lost my guide-book on the second day of our trip), Salzburg was just as enjoyable to walk about, come out onto a square and then wonder, “Where are we?”

DSC_3810

Café Tomaselli, the oldest café of Salzburg, frequented by Mozart

And to gawk at gorgeous souvenir shops.

DSC_3804

We walked straight to the main square, the Residenzplatz, that was sadly under restoration. A huge open space, lined by long elaborate buildings, lost a lot of its beauty by cranes and construction material, not to mention the swirls of dust rising up. Despite that, the grandeur of the buildings was not diminished. This main square was once the seat of all power in Salzburg, surrounded by the old and the huge new Residenz and Salzburg cathedral, with the beautiful Horse fountain in the center.

DSC_3817

The square was commissioned by the Archbishop of Salzburg in the 16th century, who had a huge Italian hangover. The fountain has four horses snorting out water, giants and dolphins and is topped by a Triton spewing out water. It was very hot and sunny now, so we rested in a patch of shade while I read aloud from the tour to a disinterested audience. Frustrated by the inattention, I strode off to the next square, Mozartplatz.

DSC_3831

The birthplace of a man who achieved as much as Mozart, for the world and for Salzburg, must have an outstanding monument to commemorate the great man, and we were lucky to see him without the crowds.

DSC_3830

Sadly, in this square of reverence, my pop-addled brain could only sing, “Amadeus, Amadeus, Come and rock me Amadeus” by Falco. Poor Mozart must be turning in his grave. This was pure blasphemy. Then I looked about at the square lined by souvenir shops and Mozart chocolates and thought that there was enough blasphemy around anyways.

DSC_3805

Mozart-balls, chocolates named after Mozart, an Austrian speciality

I saw a building with a large mural that resembled the sign of a pharmacy and thought it was yet another decorated pharmacy. However, it was a huge sundial on the first drinker’s room in the city.

DSC_3833

The spires of the Salzburg cathedral beckoned and I was keen on seeing the mightiest Romanesque cathedral north of the Alps. The Archbishops of Salzburg wanted to make it Rome of the North, which explains 27 churches in just old town and more than 35 in Salzburg. The Salzburg Dom was the grandest of them all, sitting pretty in a corner of Domplatz lined by elegant buildings and filled with horse carriages.

2018-05-06 11.54.25

The Virgin Mary statue seemed to face away from the cathedral. It was only when I read the guidebook that I went to the far end of the square and stood facing the statue in front of the cathedral and saw the brilliant placement of the statue. The angels seem to be placing the crown on her head. What precise engineering!

DSC_3860_01

Virgin Mary is surrounded by allegoric figures representing angels, the devil, wisdom, and the Church.

DSC_3865_01

We entered the church in silence, in reverence for the greatness of the builders, who rebuilt it twice, once after a fire, and again after bombing in World War II, and yet constructed such a masterpiece.

2018-05-06 11.32.21

The service was on and beautiful music filled the church and our hearts and drove Amadeus and Falco out.

DSC_3853_01

Stunning ceiling art

20180523_170211

Taking photographs and wandering about the church seemed inappropriate, so we sat there quietly, away from the madding crowds outside and simply enjoyed ourselves. Sadly, I never got to go back to this church and I begged my brother-in-law to take lots of pictures for me on his trip, which he certainly did.

20180523_164129

Picture courtesy: Ravi Thapar, the far end of the cathedral

20180523_164113

Picture courtesy: Ravi Thapar, the majestic dome

Lovely candles, my favorite part of churches.

20180523_163857

Picture courtesy: Ravi Thapar

Music was ringing in our ears as we stepped out and admired the square when a commotion disturbed us. A huge group of Veena world was trying to negotiate past a huge group of Kesari tours without ending up in the rival group. I sighed a sigh of relief in not being with them, the hubby sighed a sigh of longing.

DSC_3845

We hurriedly rushed into the next square, the Kapitelplatz, with a giant chessboard and a huge golden globe with a man on it. Modern art smack in the center of Baroque Salzburg!

DSC_3868_01

Look who’s carrying the weight of the world on her dainty hands!

At the other end of the square was a beautiful fountain with Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea, with the fortress towering over it. Such a contrasting view this was!

DSC_3873We turned into yet another narrow alley past some souvenir stalls to reach St Peter’s cemetery to see graves studded with beautiful flowers.

DSC_3878_01

Edelweiss socks, so cute

Instead, we found ourselves climbing up a steep slope. Without intending to, we were climbing up to the Salzburg fortress, that wasn’t part of the plan. The views as we climbed were certainly worth the tachycardia and the dyspnea.

DSC_3882

See the square with the golden globe and the spires of the cathedral

We weren’t planning to go to the fortress so we walked down from it on the Monschberg ridge to reach the viewing platform over the city near the Monschberg elevator.

DSC_3889_01

It was so steep that I had to hold the railing on the way down. We walked along the top of the mountain which was a lovely green path with tall trees on both sides. There were very few people on this path but I wanted to reach the famous terrace so I dragged the hubby and the kid along. Enroute, I found many other viewing points with beautiful views over Salzburg.

DSC_3908

This was from a small garden looking onto the other side of Salzburg. For miles ahead stretched green meadows with small pretty houses and the grand Untersberg mountain in the distance.

DSC_3902

People were sitting on benches and the grass, with books or their dogs and just relaxing, sunning themselves. However, we walked on and on, hunting for the terrace. Though there was a lot of tree cover, it was still very hot and sunny. We were hungry and pressed for time as we had to reach the sound of music tour by 2pm (and it was 1pm and we were miles away). The stress was mounting and we were panting while walking at a great speed. The kid was terribly unhappy because she wanted lunch before the tour but now I was worried that we’d miss the tour itself. Suddenly, we came upon a terrace with a beautiful view over Salzburg.

DSC_3912

New town Salzburg across the river with the Sacher hotel under renovation

DSC_3914

The charming old town of Salzburg

This still wasn’t the terrace I was looking for and there were no signboards or people to help. The hubby used Google and found a walking running route to the other side of the Monschberg mountain and through the tunnel to re-enter the old town, cross the bridge and race down to Mirabell gardens to catch our Sound of Music tour.

Thus ended our entertaining morning of sightseeing in Salzburg, in a mad dash. I’m sure we’d have liked it a lot more if it hadn’t been so hot and we hadn’t had to rush through. I did come back later in the evening to see the lit up town but that needs another post as does the sound of music tour, so stay tuned.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Germany Austria May 2018: Salzburg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s