Of all the places we planned to visit during our Eurotrip, I think I was most excited about seeing Salzburg. I won’t lie, most of my preconceived ideas of the city were based solely off my love for the Sound of Music movie and I couldn’t wait to discover what it was really like. Delightfully, it completely lived up to my expectations of being a beautiful and charming town nestled in between the encompassing mountains. The only downside was the development of cold that crept up on me during the train ride but it was a minor nuisance that I could tolerate in such a lovely city.
Day 17 – Mirabell Gardens and Mozart Residence
After taking the train from Vienna and dropping off our bags at the hotel we walked into town before casually stumbling upon the Mirabell gardens (which FYI, were featured in the Do Re Mi song of Sound of Music ;)). Even with the overcast weather it was still lovely to explore, especially with all the flowers out in bloom.
While in the area we also decided to visit Mozart’s old residence nearby, featuring the history of the composer’s life. Unfortunately no photos inside :(.
After calling it a day we slowly worked our way back to the hotel, noticing the aesthetically pleasing paintwork of some of the apartment blocks along the way. I wish they did something like this to refresh some of the older apartment blocks in Brisbane.
Day 18 – Festivities, Christmas Museum, Hohensalzburg Fortress and Salzburg Cathedral
The original plan for the day was to just hit up Hohensalzburg Fortness and the Christmas Museum. However as we wandered into town we were greeted with stalls serving traditional food and drink, craftsmen working away, live music and people dressed in dirndl and lederhosen. Turns out we had walked into a festival (most likely St. Rupert’s Day Fair) that filled every city square around Salzburg Cathedral.
In the midst of exploring and enjoying the festivities we happened upon the Christmas Museum and decided to duck away from the noise. This museum is another of those small niche collections that you can tell a lot of time and effort has gone into. The two small levels were packed with glass cases exhibiting antique decorations and Christmas cards while also providing details about the origins of Christmas markets in the town and the prevalence of St Nick and Krampus lore in the country.
After our little break, we were out again in the festivities and got to witness the welcoming parade of bands and the horses bringing in the beer wagon, followed by loud canons being shot off close-by. We decided to grab food from some of the stands (doughnut pretzel anyone?) and then made our way to the base of Hohensalzburg Fortness.
Riding up on the mountain railway, we were greeted with panoramic views of the city below and the surrounding hilly landscape. The fortress itself has an interesting history, originally only serving as a small building for the archbishop that was slowly built upon over time to serve different needs. We ventured through the various rooms and alcoves, each highlighting the various time periods they served or odd Austrian history like wooden puppets.
After exploring the fortress we planned to head back to our hotel, however on the way we chose to take a quick peek into Salzburg Cathredral, which while comparatively small to others we’d seen on our trip, featured wonderfully detailed carvings and you could tell it was well looked after.
Day 19 – Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains
Our third day in Salzburg would see us taking a bus out into the more suburban/country area to see the Hellbrunn Palace. Originally a summer villa for the Archbishop, its placement away from the city and the court meant it was seen as a place with a more relaxed etiquette.
The trick fountains that are part of the various water features around the rear of the villa were for the entertaining and playing practical jokes on guests. Taking the tour of the fountains, the guide showed us the how the archbishop could turn on water that sprayed on people while avoiding getting wet himself. The guide also played this joke on the tour group as well, often turning on the water as people were passing through a doorway or walking by a sculpture.
Along with the trick fountains there are many curious water features, including a grotto area that sounds like its filled with birds singing but in actuality the sound is created by water running through specific pipes.
The tour ends by leading out into a large neighboring park. One of my main reasons of visiting this place was to find the Sound of Music glass pavilion and I knew it was somewhere in this area so we set off to find it. The park itself was blissfully quiet and peaceful with few people around, sun peeking through the shade of the beautiful old trees. We casually wandered along the paths taking in all the natural sights around us, musing over how nice it would be to live in such a place.
After some time we eventually found the pavilion, hidden off to one side and with surprisingly no one else around. It was also restored to its former glory compared to when my parents had seen it many years ago in a more degraded state. I got my photo in front of it, so childhood dream of seeing it realised!
On our way back from the park we entered Hellbrunn Palace and got to see some of its lovely ceiling frescoes and learn about its history. The whole day was one of my favourites of our time in Salzburg.
Day 20 – Exploring the City Laneways
For our final day, we kept things low key and just decided to explore the streets of Salzburg, mainly Steingasse and Getreidegasse. These laneways had such great charm, especially the later with its ornate steel and golden signs hovering over the street, even the McDonalds sign following suit.