On Tuesday, Kayla, Tina, and I set out for Austria. After ten hours of travel (one bus
and two trains), we finally made it! The city itself was great–neat little alleys and snuggly doors, fantastic parks (both the flowers and paths kind and the ones for kids), breathtaking (literally-we climbed a mountain to get there) views, and an overwhelming amount of Mozart.
After asking for directions at the train station, we headed into the city to check in to our hostel. We found it without too much trouble, but when we got to our room, one of our beds had been slept in and was full of popcorn, of all things. We told the front desk on our way out, though, and they apologized and changed the sheets right away–problem solved!
After that, our adventures began! Our goals in Salzburg were largely guided by the sights associated with The Sound of Music, but we had also received several food recommendations from our Housing Coordinator, Lee, so those were also on our Salzburg bucket list. Our main goal that first night, though, was just to get acquainted with the city and try one recommended dish. We started out at the Mirabell Gardens, the setting of the “Do Re Mi” song, and wandered from there, stumbling upon both the Mozart “Geburtshaus” and “Wohnhaus,” (birthplace and house), along with the birthplace of Christian Doppler (of the Doppler effect) and several churches. By the time we headed back to the hostel, we had also checked off a food item–Austrian (although not actually from Vienna) Wiener Schnitzel.
Despite the fact that we shared a room with three other people, we never actually met
our hostel-mates, aside from being briefly awakened when they returned at an unknown hour of the morning. We went to bed before they returned and checked out before they woke up, so no stories there. I guess we can’t really blame them, though, because we set out around 8 in order to make the most of our day, which was a goal soon accomplished–within three hours of waking up, we had found (and eaten) breakfast for a collectively cheaper amount than it would have been for one of us to eat at the hostel, saw a Mozart statue, played life-size chess (Not Wizard Chess, though), bought a few souvenirs, visited two churches, and climbed a mountain. The mountain was were the breathtaking views came in, higher and higher as we climbed our way to the Fortress of Hohensalzburg.
Unlike many of our Salzburg destinations, this one had nothing to do with The Sound of Music. (We did, however, find St. Peter’s Cemetery, which was used in the scene at the end of the movie, before beginning our climb.) The fortress itself was used by a long series of archbishops, many of whom reinforced the castle and its walls during their reign. The only time the castle was ever won over was when it was surrendered–without a fight–to Napoleon. Aside from an aerial perspective of the city (plus the surrounding area) and some medieval history, the fortress also houses a Marionette Museum (High on a hill sat a lonely goat herd…), which tied in with The Sound of Music only because marionettes figure so prominently in the cultural history of Salzburg, and that history is represented in the movie.
By the time we had explored the castle, visited the museum, and taken the audio tour,
our need for food outweighed our desire to visit the last museum inside the fortress, which included the state rooms of those who resided at the castle. Instead, we took the tram down (also included in our ticket) and set off for a restaurant that served Salzburger Nockerl, the dessert recommended by Lee. Eventually we found “Die Goldene Ente” (The Golden Duck) and treated ourselves to a meal and dessert that made up for the amount we had saved on breakfast. When the Nockerl came, it was three heaping mounds of what looked like lemon meringue, but without the lemon. Instead, raspberries were buried under each heaping puff of marshmallowy air. Definitely worth it!
With time running out on our 24-hour bus passes, we strategically decided to visit Hellbrunn Palace before the Nonnberg Abbey. Hellbrunn is known for the “trick fountains,” but we decided not to go into that part but instead head straight for the gardens, which is where the Gazebo used during the “Sixteen going on Seventeen” song now sits. After the filming ended, the gazebo was given to the city of Salzburg as a gift. Unfortunately, it was locked, but we just ran around the outside singing the song instead.
On our way to Hellbrunn we had passed by Leopolds Palace, which was the facade of the
Von Trapp family home in the movie, so we counted a few fro the bus (and from the tower in the fortress) as good enough and checked that one off of our list, which left the Nonnberg Abbey as our last stop. The stairs to get there (another mountain) almost put us over the edge, but we made it! Many of the movie scenes were shot inside where the public can’t go, but the church was beautiful.
With a few hours to spare before our train left, we decided to head back to the Mirabell Gardens and just enjoy them like an Austrian would rather than whizzing through like a tourist. Doing so ended our Salzburg visit in the same place it had begun and was a perfect ending to our excursion.
Note: The jam-making has yet to happen, but Therese promises that it will!