After a relaxing week in Adriach, we had a one night stopover in Salzburg on our way back to Germany. Marilyn has always had a fascinating with Salzburg as the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for the movie, “The Sound Of Music”.
Graz to Salzburg is a seven hour train ride, following the route through the Alps like we’d taken about ten days ago. Again, we were enthralled by traveling through the Alps, through narrow river valleys, and the rural landscape we’d enjoyed so much. OBB, Austrian rail service, is clean, efficient, but crowded. At each stop, we picked up another dozen or so hikers loaded down with bulging backpacks, walking sticks, and carry on luggage. The overhead luggage racks and aisles were filled with their equipment making it difficult to navigate through the rail cars.
The Salzburg train station was going through major renovations with workmen climbing scaffolding, pounding hammers on studs, welding, and building ramps and detours throughout the station. Just a few hours from Adriach, we were already missing the peace and serenity of our favorite Austrian mountain village.
We stopped at the station tourist office where an agent booked a reservation at a hotel ten minutes away. Marilyn booked dinner reservations and tickets for a chamber music concert where Mozart had performed.
The concert was in the Mirabell Palace — a four-story marble building with winding marble steps, statues of cherubim, angels, and lions around the staircase and banisters. Some three hundred patrons were crammed into a narrow room packed with chairs and a small stage for the performers, a Korean piano player, a cellist, and violinist. They played six Bach, Mozart concerti. But it was stuffy in the room, and at intermission, we joined the others to get fresh air in the hallway and the open large windows with a view of the courtyard. It was a cool night, overcast, threatening rain.
Salzburg’s Altstadt is a compact area of baroque churches, palaces, and courtyards along the bank of the Salzach river. The tourist map highlighted a walking tour of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ‘s brief (1756 – 1791) but historic life in Salzburg where he was court musician, and wrote many of his operas, concerti, and symphonies. Students, scholars, and music lovers visit Salzburg every year to see where Mozart lived and performed.
We followed behind a herd of Japanese students wearing uniforms, led by a tour guide, and trailed by a video photographer who was recording their vacation to justify their parents sending them so far from home. During our stop at Mozart’s birthplace, we saw the Japanese tour guide and photographer bowing deeply before an older Japanese woman who seemed to the chaperone. She was probably representing the parents and paying the bills for the trip.
The Mozart museum and the family’s apartment in the Altstadt was a short walk from the Salzach river. The facade has been upgraded, but once in the building, it looked like little had been done to the interior except to install air conditioning. The creaking, worn wooden floors and steps lent an air of authenticity as we strolled from room to room. The exhibits described 17 th century Salzburg’s history, music, arts, and culture. The largest rooms had paintings of the Mozart family and their patrons as well as two small claviers, the first piano like devices that Mozart played. They looked almost like toys, with polished blond wooden surfaces and narrow keys the width of a child’s finger. The museum’s audio device played a Mozart piece recorded on a clavier.
Mozart’s father, Leopold, was a principal force in his life, teaching him music at an early age and schooling him in the ways of court patronage and performing in concert halls and palaces around Europe. One exhibition included works by Leopold and a map of the journeys the family took to Italy, Paris, London, and Prague to perform before royalty and in concert halls.
We walked through the grounds of the Mirabell Palace on our way from the Mozart family apartment to his birth house. Maria and the children sang “Do Re Mi” on the grounds in the movie, “The Sound of Music.”
Salzburg’s Altstadt is divided by the Salzach River on which salt barges were once transported from salt mines in the Alps to markets. Salzburg is German for Salt Mountain.
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Next destination: Hitler’s bunker, Obersalzburg, in the Bavarian Alps
In addition to writing this travel blog, I write fiction — thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels. I’m currently writing a thriller series based in Milan featuring the anti-terrorism police, DIGOS, as they track down domestic and international terrorists.
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