Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mozart & the Fortress

Early start and on a Regional Express to Salzburg for the day.  Beautiful scenery on the way and our first glimpse of the Alps across frosty fields.

Salzburg’s main railway station is about 10 min walk from the Alstadt and most visitors take the route across the Mirabell Garden .. remember Do Rae Me from the Sound of Music?  A sculpture in the middle of a frozen pond, topiary hedges, pollarded trees, and knot gardens looked a bit blum in the middle of winter but it is easy to imagine how beautiful it would be in late spring.

Across the Salzach River via a bridge adorned with padlocks.  A similar one in Cologne is famous .. those in love (or on their wedding day) attach a padlock to the fence and throw the key into the river as a symbol of everlasting love … awww shucks!

The Alstadt is a pedestrian only area (except for the horse-drawn carriages which suck up the tourist euro) and really lovely.  Narrow cobbled streets with beautiful shop windows, little narrow alleys .. something out of a fairy tale.  Add a handful of stunning old churches including a Cathedral built in the 1600’s but built on top of other bits of church, the earliest from about 765AD.  The Dom is stunning and the ceiling frescos are as beautiful as any we have seen on this trip.  There’s a crypt too .. full of bishops from the last 400 years.

Nearby is St Peters Church, built about 600 years ago and surrounded by the most beautiful cemetery which include the family crypts which almost made you feel you were part of the ‘hiding in the cemetary’ scene from Sound of Music.  There’s a little ‘restaurant’ which has been serving patrons continuously for 600years.

Add a university which has been around since the 1620s and Mozart memorabilia everywhere .. because he was born in Salzburg. Pile on top of that the world famous Festung Hohensalzburg (Salzburg Fortress) perched on the top of a hill overlooking the old town and providing views that seem to go forever.

The entrance ticket covers the short but very steep funicular railway and entrance to the fortress itself.  It’s huge!  Massive towers (1400s) and an unclimbable wall surround the fortress, inside is literally a small town with a school (1652) St George’s Chapel (1502), and a stunning set of state rooms built for the Prince Archbishop in the 1600’s.  We didn’t do the tour through the residential part of the fortress … way too many stairs for Tony’s knee but just wandering round looking at canons poking out holes in the outer walls, exploring the ‘town’, checking out the marionette theatre/museum before Lauren & I had a look at the Museum & State Rooms of the Prince Archbishop.  Gold studded ceilings, massive marble beams & an inside dunny!  Pretty smick for the 1600’s.

The Fortress had a torture tower and a grim display of instruments of torture … I’d love to borrow a couple of things for my yr 10 DT class … I’d soon have them in line!

Back down to town for some pretzels & coffee (& Tony had a wurst) past a bunch of buskers (including a bloke playing a didgeridoo!) before heading back to Munich. Another pretty cool day!

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting review - we are planning the same day trip to Salzburg for January 2014.