After two days in Vienna, our tour bid adieu to that city and headed west, arriving in Salzburg around lunchtime. On our ride, our lovely tour director Kate decided to prepare us by playing “The Sound of Music” on the coach DVD player. When we arrived, the hills weren’t alive with the sound of music but they were pretty enough to look at.
Like all other tour groups, we were dropped off close to the bank of the Salzach river. Of the many bridges that span the river, one of which is quite popular with lovers: locks have been chained to both sides of the the Makartsteg bridge:
Once we cross the river, we’re right in the midst of the Old Town. There are a lot of narrow, twisty streets with passageways through buildings that theoretically could be called shortcuts but only if one was familiar with them. As it were, we ended up following our local guide to get from one part of town to the other.
Besides “The Sound of Music”, the other big attraction in Salzburg is the building where Mozart was born. One can’t miss it thanks to the crowds outside as well as the big sign hanging on the building wall: Mozarts Geburtshaus or “Mozart’s birthplace“. The ground floor is home to a supermarket but upstairs is a Mozart museum. We didn’t visit it but I’d like to if I ever get back there.
As one can imagine, there are a ton of Mozart souvenirs for sale in Salzburg. The most famous thing to take home would be the Mozartkugeln, round balls of chocolate-covered marzipan. I was introduced to them years ago by a friend and everywhere one turns, there’s a vendor selling some variety of Mozart balls. Cafe Fürst is the originator of these chocolates so I had to buy a few and see if they taste any better than the mass-produced generic versions I’ve seen on the streets here and back home in specialty shops or markets.
There were a few places on our walking tour of the city that were associated with “The Sound of Music”. One of them was the gardens of Mirabell Palace. It was one of the places featured during the romp around town by the von Trapp children during the “Do Re Mi” musical number.
Another place that was far more recognizable were the catacombs in St. Peter’s Cemetery, where the family hides before Rolf betrays them to his commanders. Our guide told us the actual hiding places were on set but this was the inspiration for the background of that scene in the movie.
After the local tour, we had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves and that meant browsing through the Christmas market. We had the option of meeting back at the bus when we were ready to depart but none of us trusted ourselves to find our way back across the river. We all just ended up at the much easier to find meeting spot (the large Christmas tree) in the middle of the big Christmas market.