I’ve now finished my travelogues for Asia, and I’m hopping back to Europe where we traveled in Fall 2012. When I’m done with Europe (there is a lot to write about there) I will hop back to earlier that year in Guatemala, Belize and Southern/Central Mexico where we also explored extensively. I’m sad that I’m writing about my memories when they are not terribly fresh, but at least I have photographs to help me record my memories in words, too.
So, with that being said, we flash back to Fall 2012 in Salzburg, Austria.
For us, Austria was love at first sight. How can you ever get enough of those gorgeous mountain vistas? Well, we can’t.
I previously blogged about our fun visit to the Salzburg Salt Mine, and our discovery of the Nature House Children’s Museum in downtown Salzburg. After spending so many hours at the Museum, we decided to take a break and walk downtown to get some food and explore, before returning to the museum again to do some hands-on exhibits.
As we turned onto the touristed streets we immediately faced an onslaught of store signs hanging over the street.
I considered (jokingly) investing in some traditional Austrian garb to wear on my next date with Jared. We would be quite the pair if he also invested in some lederhosen! Admit it—you’d like to see it, too!
Our top priority remained food, so we skipped the stores and found ourselves in University Square (on Universitätsplatz) where there was a fresh market with flowers and food.
Please excuse the photo glare, but I just wanted to show you some of these interesting food choices in the market deli cases. I selected a vegetarian strudel that was so-so.
And of course I couldn’t pass up trying an authentic Austrian apple strudel. It wasn’t one “of my favorite things,” but it wasn’t terrible, either.
I did not order this. Can anyone tell me what the heck that is? A gelatin of leftovers?!
Jared had a hamburger of sorts, and we sat on the back steps of Kollegienkirche.
We didn’t look inside that church, but later when I read the history I regretted missing it! Its construction spanned many different centuries (starting in the 1600’s), and was used by Napoleon’s troops as a hay store in the 1800’s.
Alas, one cannot see everything with kids in tow. With 5 1/2 hours of our day spent at the Nature House museum for the kids, we didn’t have a lot of energy (or time) left to tour the city.
Of course, Salzburg is famous as the birthplace of Mozart. We simply walked by his birthplace (1756) at the Hagenauer House on Getreidegasse. It is maintained as a Mozart museum with old documents, musical instruments, and portraits of him.
There were some pretty talented street statue artists working for some tips just outside the museum.
Salzburg seems to have plaza after plaza hidden just about everywhere you turn.
Horse drawn carriage rides were an option that we only admired, but did not pursue.
I was impressed by the gothic Franciscan church, which is one of the oldest churches in the area. The first church was build in the 8th century, but the gothic details were added in the 1400s.
Some old artwork from past centuries can still be found on some of the pillars…
We also went in the Salzburg Cathedral. It was originally built in the 8th century, but set on fire in 1167. They rebuilt it, but the new cathedral was partially destroyed 400 years later in another fire in 1598. Built, destroyed, built, destroyed. It seems to be the history with so many churches throughout world history.
“Entrance is free”, but a “donation is required”. Hmmm…
I was intrigued by the bronze doors at the main entrance, and stopped to take photos and research it later. I learned this door is called the “Door of Hope,” and depicts annunciation. To see a photo of the rest of the door, as well as a very brief explanation, check out this blog.
The cathedral went through many changes and endured many wars. Giovanni Antonio Dario built these Cathedral arches in 1660. Not too shabby, eh?
Next, we wandered over to the St. Peter’s Church and Cemetery. It forms part of the oldest functioning monastery in Austria, and also houses the oldest library and restaurant in the country. The church was founded in 700 AD, and the present church was built between 1125-1143.
We mostly enjoyed walking through the grounds and looking at some of the dates on the headstones (the oldest there is 1288 AD). Plots here are rented, instead of owned. Relatives must pay for the lot every 10 years as well as be their own plot caretakers. If you don’t pay—you will be evicted. Mozart’s sister is still buried here—so I guess someone is paying her bills!
This is the abbey where the Von Trapps supposedly hid in “The Sound of Music,” although truthfully that scene was filmed in Hollywood. Just behind these gates are catacombs built into the mountain side that you can view.
More of St. Peter’s church from the outside…
We missed out on seeing the Hohensalzburg fortress that towers over the city on the mountainside. Next time…
The city of Salzburg sits right next to the Salzach River and has several large bridges that connect bustling parts of the city. We stayed on the Western side of the river, but took an opportunity to walk down the river briefly before leaving town.
Love locks are very popular on European bridges. You inscribe you and your loved one’s name, and lock your love indefinitely on the chain link!
All in all—there is so much we didn’t get to see in Salzburg. The weather was cooler, so we skipped going to the Hellbrunn Palace where a trickster from the 1600’s devised funny ways to play practical jokes on his guests. You tend to get wet on that tour (yes, his tricks included a dining table with water that jets out onto the seats, and more). I think the kids would have loved that!
We also found ourselves just a few blocks short of the Horse Well (Pferdeschwemme), which is disappointing! We would have liked to see the Mirabel Gardens, and of course the Hohensalzburg Castle! Oh well, I guess that means we will have to return!
Some tips for visiting:
1. Download the City Walks App for Salzburg, and you’ll find yourself with maps and different self-guided walking tour options. It was very helpful in knowing what we were looking at, and where we were, since we didn’t join any organized tours.
2. Yes, a lot of Sound of Music was filmed here. You can easily book an organized SOM tour, or create one on your own (people have do-it-yourself tours all over the web)! Next, do yourself a favor and read the autobiography by Maria Von Trapp, and learn the truth about the Von Trapps (and how far from reality the movie really was).
3. There is a lot to see in Salzburg. If you have a week—great! If you don’t, definitely do your research so you have a plan of attack when you visit! It’s nearly impossible to see it all (at least with small kids in tow), so you will need to prioritize!