Apparently I’m the only person in the world to forget that, “The Sound of Music” took place in Salzburg, Austria. I base this observation on the countless number of tour operators and tourists we observed visiting and posing at key movie locations. However, thanks to a quick iTunes movie download in the hotel, we were quickly singing our doe-ray-me’s along with the rest of the cheese balls.
Not only was this classic movie set and shot here, but a fairly famous musician was also born and raised in the city. Perhaps you’ve heard of him… Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salzburg is an amazing city filled with a rich history and jaw-dropping beauty. We left northern Italy for Austria on a whim two days prior. We continued riding that whim and drove further into Austria to see Salzburg on the suggestion of family. Since our expectations of the city were nonexistent, they were easy to surpass – but I would think this city could have easily leapt the most lofty of them all.
Julia taking in the sights
Since our first day in Salzburg was framed with an incredible visit to Hohenwerfen Castle (HERE), we didn’t arrive in the actual city until mid-afternoon. Having spent more than the anticipated amount of time at the castle, we had a lot of ground to make up. We walked down Linzer Gasse until we crossed over Staatsbrücke Brücke (State Bridge), one of the oldest in the city. The original bridge was built in 1090 and now the 10th incantation of this passage stands with a plaque commemorating the slave labour from Eastern Europe used to reconstruct it during WWII.
View from the Staatsbrücke Brücke
Landestheatre (Provincial Theatre)
We spent quite a bit of time walking through the Altstadt (Old Town), taking in the marvel of the city. My carefully planned itinerary seemed to constantly evolve as we made turn after turn based on our curiosity, rather than our plan of attack. We strolled past the birthplace of Mozart, but declined to pay the €35 admission (for all of us) to see some old violins. Sorry, Wolfgang… I’m still a fan.
Street view – Google, I’m available for free-lance
St. Blaise’s Church at the end of the shops
Mozart’s first “crib”… literally, he was born here
We next discovered the Pferdeschwemme (Horse Pond) – one of two remaining in the city where horses would go to get cleaned. In the middle stands a statue, Der Rossebändiger (horse whisperer), which is a bit of an inside joke unique to the city. Not sure I got the joke, but we did enjoy the spectacle.
The Horse Pond with the “funny” statue in the middle
The pond is carved directly into the face of a mountain
A better view of the horse’s entrance
At this point in our voyage we were at a critical crossroads. We could head northwest to the Augustinerkloster und Bräu (Monastery and Beer… a beer garden) for a brew and dinner. This would consume the remainder of our first of only two days. Or we could head southeast and continue further into the city. I wanted it all, but knew we had to chose. So we made the right choice – stay another night and do it all! We postponed the Beer Garden for the next day.
We were happy with our choice to stay another day
We walked along Hofstallgasee, passing by some incredible sights – and always with an eye upward at Festung Hohensalsburg (the Castle that sits overlooking the city).
Festung Hohensalsburg above the city
Kollegienkirche (Collegiate Church)
A nice horse and buggy through the city would be fun
And the castle again
This path led us directly to St. Peter’s Abbey, one of the oldest monasteries in the German area. The abbey was formed in 696 by Saint Rupert. During medieval times, the monastery was known for its educational prowess. Adjacent to the monestary were catacombs that were carved into the face of the mountain, just next to the cemetery. St. Peter’s Cemetery was created at the time of Late Antiquity and therefore, older than the Abbey itself. The dead have been buried here for 1,300 years.
Inside the courtyard
The Abbey at Saint Peter’s
“Hey guys, let’s go!”
“I’m not waiting for you suckers, I’m off!”
“Are you coming?!”
Always time to stop…
…and smell the roses
Catacomb Chapel built directly into the face of the mountain
Private burial sites
“I love this place!”
After leaving the awe-inspiring Abbey, we stopped to watch a life-sized chess match in action in the Domplatz (plaza outside the Dom). One of the other spectators was nibbling on a giant pretzel and we had to get in on that action!
Check… and… mate!
Next up was the Dom of Salzburg, or Salzburg Cathedral. Today’s baroque style cathedral was finished in 1628 and replaces the original cathedral built on the site in 774. I’m sorry to admit, but most European cathedrals, while beautiful – do not particularly hold my attention. However, the Dom was different. My father-in law (Dominic) may say it’s because of the name – but I think perhaps the artwork and painting intrigued me a bit more. We barely got out before closing, and somehow I became the valet as 30 people exited through the surprisingly heavy door I was holding. Good thing I had eaten that pretzel for strength!
The Salzburg Dom
Allegoric figures representing an Angel, Devil, Wisdom and the Church
Jen lights a candle
Inside one of the domes
I promise – this door is as heavy as it looks
The day was winding down, and Julia needed to eat. OK… I needed to eat. We walked back toward the hotel and searched for a restaurant the concierge recommended, Das Stadtwirtshaus. Our German hadn’t improved since we first arrived in Austria and we couldn’t find the place. Instead, we found Altstadtheuriger-Bruderhof – a modern place that blended classic German cuisine with a contemporary style. The result was delightful. And Julia couldn’t have had any more fun!
“We’re eating weinerschnitzel?! Hahaha!”
“Daddy, you’re so funny…you said schnitzel!”
“Oh, did you want to sit here?!”
Clear beef soup with root vegetable and liver dumpling
Wienerschnitzel served with parsley potatoes
Baked breast of corn chicken
served with a creamy and lime flavored cucumbers and parsley potatoes
At the end of the day, we still hadn’t visited the castle overlooking the city, had a beer at the beer garden or seen any of the classic Sound of Music sights. Glad we had planned to stay an extra day – we would be busy waking up the hills with the sound of our music tomorrow!