Sunday, December 13, 2015


I've realized that I haven't finished telling you about the destinations we visited on the Danube river cruise. I've been distracted by some very big and very wonderful projects of the writing, teaching, and learning variety. There will be more to come on these endeavors, but for now, I thought you'd like to take a trip with me to Salzburg. This is the city of W.A. Mozart's birth, and it is where "The Sound of Music" takes place. Both of these are evident all over town, but Salzburg has some other distinctions, too.

If you're thinking that Salzburg is not actually on the Danube River, so Margaret must be confused about where she went on her trip, you would be partially correct. Our ship docked in Linz (home of the flannel nightgowns, truffles, and more cathedrals), and we took a bus to Salzburg. On the way we passed Mondsee, a lovely, picturesque town where Maria von Trapp's actual wedding church is. (I caught a glimpse of the church's exterior from the bus, but not a photo.) The centerpiece of town is actually the serene lake, seen below, shot from a rest stop...


Our tour through crowded Salzburg (possibly the most crowded city on our itinerary) combined some Sound-of-Music sites, some Mozart sites, the cathedral because there's always a cathedral and this one starred in a movie, and some notable shopping spots.



Flower Market

Fruit Stand

Our tour guide made the obligatory Central European cathedral more interesting by telling us that if we found the right spot just outside the gate, it looks like those two angels up there are placing a gold crown on the Blessed Mother's head. I took that as a photo challenge and found the spot:

Salzburg Cathedral

Just around the corner from the cathedral is an enormous golden ball with a man standing on top. Is the man taking in Salzburg scenery? Not sure what he's doing up there.
We'll see this golden sphere again.

Speaking of spheres, Salzburg is the home of those little candies with Mozart's picture on them, ubiquitous in Central Europe. Mozartkugel is the official name, but they are known as Mozart balls in the vernacular. These were first made in Salzburg in 1890 by the candymaker Paul F├╝rst. He covered marzipan and nougat in chocolate and added a silver wrapper with Mozart's picture. These are the originals and they are still available in Salzburg, but there is also a copy in a red wrapper available all over Europe and even the USA.

Mozart Ball Shop

We had free time after the tour: quick! Decide what would be the most interesting thing! Use your free time wisely! Most people who know me and read me would probably predict that I would choose Mozart's birthplace. It is now a museum and located conveniently in the center of town.

Mozart's birthplace


Of course I would have liked to visit this house, but I was more intrigued by the huge medieval structure on the top of the hill known as Hohensalzburg.

Here, Hohensalzburg looms over the Mirabell Gardens where Maria and the von Trapp kids sang "Do Re Mi." Hohensalzburg is a 900+ year-old fortress and castle which sits on a plateau and supplies some astonishing views of the city. I wonder how different the view from up there looked in 1077, when construction began on the first building. Those medieval folks would have had to climb up to the fortress on foot, but today visitors can ride up on the Funicular which has been in place since 1892. I'll admit that was part of the attraction of this attraction for me. The fortress has been open to curious tourists since 1861 when Emperor Franz Josef realized it was no longer needed as a military fortress.
Steep Funicular tracks

Once up there on the fortress's plateau, I enjoyed a lovely cafe lunch of Turkey Schnitzel (Austrians put all kinds of stuff inside schnitzel!) and a refreshing Diet Coke. It was rather warm that day.

Here's the cafe atop Hohensalzburg.

The views from Hohensalzburg were almost enough to distract me from the edifice I was visiting. There's the center of town and there's the salty Salz River from which the city gets its name. (I brought some Salzburg salt home for some people who can never seem to get enough salt.)

Salzburg's Old Town: Cathedral, golden ball, Chapter Square

Salzburg: St. Peter's Abbey and the Salz River

It was Archbishop Gebhardt von Helffenstein who began construction on Hohensalzburg in 1077, but Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach (1495-1519) who made the place comfy in a luxurious kind of way. The state apartments here were his oasis from the people of Salzburg who mocked his love of books over farming. (Yes, the state apartments included a library.) Salzburg citizens disliked Keutschach so much they threw turnips at him. He had the last laugh, because he included a turnip in his coat of arms.

I'll end with some shots from Hohensalzburg because I have to go catch the big bus back to the ship!

It's a steep climb to see inside.

This is how I take a selfie.

I'm pretty sure that's the Trumpeter's Tower.

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