Salzburg. All the love for Salzburg. What an incredible city. It just reeks of history. And it is beautiful. The city we think of today was built under the rule of the Roman Empire but there is evidence of human settlement as far back as the Neolithic Era. I don’t even know where to begin. This city, surrounded by the Alps, was one of my favorite things on the trip.
What do you do when you are an American in Salzburg? You take a Sound of Music tour, of course! Our tour guide Claudio did a great job incorporating history of the city and of the area with fun tidbits from Sound of Music.
My favorite thing we saw was the Residence Fountain. You may remember Maria splashing in the fountain and singing “I Have Confindence.” The fountain is 15 meters high and is the largest Baroque fountain in the world.
Other sites we saw (from l to r): The garden where the Von Trapps hid while trying to escape the Nazi’s, Gazebo where Leizel sings “16 going on 17” (can’t go inside because a granny broke her hip trying to leap from bench to bench), back of the (movie) Von Trapp house , iconic front of the house (now part of the Mozart conservatory), The abby where Maria came from (it’s the oldest continually running abby in the world), the yellow wall where I am doing a poor impression of Maria clicking her heels together, and biking with the Fortress in the distance.
It was 95 degrees and very humid the day we spent in Salzburg. So, in the middle of our bike tour, the tour guide took us to an old Roman Aqua duct still flowing with fresh, crisp, cold water straight from the Alps. Rusty decided to take a little dip.
The Hills are Alive!
For lunch, we asked Claudio for a recommendation. He led us to Stadtalm Naturfreundehaus. We took a secret elevator inside an old bomb shelter turned parking garage (which was blessedly cool) and then it was a steep hike to this hidden gem on the hillside. The view was spectacular. My food was just ok, but we shared an apple strudel that tasted like what dreams are made of. This little excursion was one of the highlights of our trip!
From lunch it was just a quick walk over to Festung HohenSalzburg (Salzburg Fortress). This impressive structure looks down over the entire city. It is one of the largest Medieval Castles in Europe and construction began in 1027. Wow. The views of the city from up here almost didn’t look real. We toured the fortress, seeing many interesting things along the way. One of these things was a random, modern, interpretative photographic art exhibit. The photographer was also the subject and he was a former dancer. He wanted to get back in touch with his body and thus photographed himself in all sorts of dance poses out in nature. He wore many um…..interesting? things such as silver masks, full eye makeup and my favorite, a metallic gold thong. I have absolutely no idea why it was exhibited in a medieval castle, but I’ll roll with it. Never a dull moment.
We rode the funicular from the fortress back down to Altstadt (old town)
It’s amazing all you can see and do in one day (especially without kids.) Our day continues on to the fun and ritzy Getreidegass, which claims to be one of the loveliest shopping streets in the world. And I say that is a pretty apt description. We enjoyed browsing around a bit and then we made a stop at Furst to get some Mozart kugeln. This was some pretty stellar chocolate. It has a center of green pistacho marzipan covered in nougat. Then the whole thing is dipped in a coat of dark chocolate. We each ate one and then went back and got an entire bag to take home to the kids. Not all of them made it home….
Our last adventure of the day was a Mozart Concert and Dinner. Salzburg is Mozart’s birth place so it only seemed fitting that we venture into the realm of high culture with a classical concert. The singing and orchestra were quite good. The dinner was a disaster. Gross, gross, gross. This was a pricy venture, so I was pretty disappointed at the result. Also, it was about 1 million degrees in the concert hall and everyone else at our table spoke only German. About half way through the concert, after I had picked around at the driest, most tasteless chicken I had ever eaten, I begged Rusty to skip out on the rest of the concert. I didn’t have to ask him twice. We stopped to pay for our bottled waters and 13 euros later we were free. 13 FREAKIN EUROS. For 2 bottles of water. Mozart concert = epic fail.
My favorite Salzburg picture:
We walked about 1.5 miles back to our hotel in the pouring rain. But it actually felt really good after being so hot all day. It’s a day we’ll never forget!