I think the lure of Americans to Salzburg has a lot to do with the movie The Sound of Music. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But Salzburg has so much more to offer those who step away from the tour buses and get lost while really exploring this city.
And again, there’s nothing wrong with bus tours. After all, I spent nearly an entire day in Salzburg on two of them! 🙂 I guess what I’m trying to say is, even if you’re not remotely interested in the movie that put this city on the map for Americans, you should still consider a visit. It’s a wonderful, beautiful, magical place!
My last full day here during my 2007 summer in Europe was spent entirely in the city. Teresa and I started our day with a visit to Theatergasse and the office that sells tickets to the nightly concerts at Mirabel Palace. Tickets in hand, we walked across the bridge to the old city.
The weather on this day was absolutely perfect! We made our way to the funicular station and boarded one of the train/elevators for a ride up to the Fortress Hohensalzburg. This fortress was built in 1077 and is the largest, fully-preserved fortress in central Europe.
The views from here across the city and to the mountains beyond are stunning! We spent some time walking around, taking pictures, visiting the state apartments and other rooms and exhibits, and touring the marionette museum. How anyone can operate these puppets like they do is beyond me!
Back outside, we decided to head back down via a scenic walk through the woods. What we weren’t expecting was a workout! Whew!! This was a steep trail and the temperature had become quite warm! We were so thirsty and hungry by the time we got to the bottom, but decided to make one more quick stop before eating lunch.
We had seen signs for Stift Nonnberg and just had to check it out as this was used as the abbey in The Sound of Music, and is also where the real Maria lived before becoming a governess. We took some pictures and walked through the church then headed back to the old city.
We satisfied our thirst and hunger at Cafe Mozart and enjoyed ginormous, delicious salads and tall, cool glasses of water.
Next on the agenda was a visit to the Festspielhäuser, Salzburg’s Festival Hall which hosts the annual Salzburg Festival. We took a tour and were able to walk through the new festival hall, the older, larger hall, and the open air hall which appears in The Sound of Music. Sets were being erected on all of the stages in preparation of the Festival which was taking place the following month. I would love to attend this music festival some day!
As this was our last day in Salzburg, we decided it was definitely time to get in some shopping. 🙂 We went to Getreidegasse and visited numerous shops, many of them being Christmas themed. Painted eggs are a big thing here and I bought two of them – an ornament for me and another as a gift. Unfortunately, only the one bought as a gift made it back home in one piece. 😦
We next raced to a grocery store to pick up some food, raced across the river to the Hotel Sacher to buy a world-famous Original Sacher-Torte, then back across the river to catch a bus back to our B&B so we could freshen up and get ready for our concert at the palace.
We arrived at Mirabel Palace and waited outside the hall for a bit before the doors were opened. Mirabel Palace was built in 1606 and currently houses the offices of Salzburg’s mayor and the municipal council, as well as the Marble Hall where Mozart used to perform and which is now used for these nightly concerts. We had purchased open-seat tickets and were directed to the back rows of seats in the ornate hall.
The Minetti Quartet was performing this evening and they were fantastic! I love nothing better than the sound of live music! And I especially love live classical music. I’m amazed at the talent of people who can play these masterpieces, and inspired by the passion in which they play. The quartet performed pieces by Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert, and we both thoroughly enjoyed our evening!
But our evening wasn’t over yet! We had two Sacher-Tortes waiting for us at our B&B! 🙂 We took the bus back and made it inside just as the heavens opened up and it started to pour rain. We documented the opening of our tortes via photographs. First, the lovely wrapping paper. Second, the wooden box. Third, the wrapped tortes nestled in shredded paper. And lastly, torte heaven.
The Original Sacher-Torte has supposedly been the most famous cake in the world since 1832! The base is a moist, chocolate cake, coated with apricot jam, and topped with chocolate icing. Doesn’t sound too spectacular but trust me – IT IS!!! And it’s rich – I couldn’t even finish mine. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. I tried to make it once and it was a total disaster. But the Hotel Sacher ships these all over the world so…I guess if I’m ever experiencing an insatiable craving for one, I can always have a torte delivered right to my doorstep.
I know I say this all the time, but I really do mean it each time I say it: I would love to return to Salzburg someday! There is so much more to see and do there and even if there wasn’t, I thoroughly enjoyed just strolling through this lovely city!
We purchased open-seat tickets to the concert at Mirabel Palace and received a discount using the Salzburg Card which we had picked up on our first day in town. Although our views weren’t the best, and the chairs were some of the most uncomfortable I’ve ever sat in, the open-seat tickets worked for us. 🙂 Assigned seating is closer to the musicians and appeared to be different, possibly more comfortable, chairs.
Our trip up the funicular to the Fortress Hohensalzburg, as well as entrance to the rooms and museums of the fortress, were all part of the Salzburg Card.
There are two Hotel Sachers – one in Salzburg and the other in Vienna. And they both sell the Original Sacher-Torte! So if you are ever in either location, I highly recommend you try this world-famous dessert! I’m not even a fan of chocolate cake but this one was a huge exception! 🙂