Tom and Linda’s 2008 Europe Trip

Salzburg, Austria

Leaving the Lakes

Our train chugged along the lakes of the Salzkammergut, giving us more beautiful views of the country before heading back to the city.

Looking for a Room

Salzburg was much better than we expected, with our disappointing stay in Vienna. It’s smaller than we thought and largely walkable but with an extensive bus service.

Tom bought us the 48-hour Salzburg Card that got us transportation and access to lots of places, and he splurged on tickets to a dinner and concert at the Festung Hohensalzburg, the fortress and castle complex on the cliff atop the city.

We were a bit stupid about finding accommodation – struck out from the station with packs on and walked quite a ways, only to find our potential hostess away from home. It was early afternoon, and she was probably out running errands or something.

Helga's B&B

We decided to use the bus to get to a couple other possibilities. The next one we tried was right next to a bus stop, way south of town on Moosestrasse.


A Working Farm

Helga runs her B&B in front of her working dairy farm, and she had one room available, just for the two nights.

It was a large room with a hard bed and a private bath down the hall. All the other rooms apparently have bath ensuite. The room wasn’t made up yet, but we left our packs, freshened up a bit, and caught the bus back into town.

Yes,I know these are horses - we didn't see the cattle.

First Walk Around Salzburg

We spent our first evening taking Rick’s walking tour of the Old Town. Everything was closed except for Salzburg Cathedral, but it was a good orientation.

The town is laid out in a series of interlinked Platzes, rather than main streets – nicely suited to strolling about. And it’s completely dominated by the cliff, called the Mönchsberg, and its Hohensalzberg Fortress.

Each Platz has its statue. This is Mozartplatz.
Carriage tours are available. Here you can see through the passage to the next platz.

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral was quite beautiful – ornate but fairly tasteful.

There are four pipe organs at the inside corners of the cross-shaped building, around the dome. They were all played at the same time, along with other instruments and voices. Imagine these four balconies full of musicians all making a joyful noise that echoes down out of the domes!

W. A. Mozart was the principal organist here for two years.


Churchyard at St Peters

You didn't buy a plot, but rented it. If the rent wasn't kept up, the body was exhumed and the bones stacked elsewhere to make way for a new tenant. People were motivated to leave happy heirs behind.

I belive the final hide-and-chase scene in Sound of Music was set here.

Pause for Refreshment

Tom generally tried a local beer or wine, and I stuck with the sparkling apple juice - my new fave.

That's me on the left, reading about Salzburg in The Best of Europe.

Prince's Horse Bath

Kind of like a car wash. This fountain at the foot of the cliff appears in The Sound of Music. It is built for equine accessibility and is decorated with paintings of the breeds most prominent in the Prince's stables.

There's a puzzle in the plaque. It says "Leopold the Prince Built Me" but with capital letters out of place. If you take the capitals as roman numerals and add them up, it gives you the year it was built.

Getreidegasse Shopping

Downtown Salzburg has a wonderful shopping district - no vehicles, lots of interesting shops, walkways through the buildings to the next street over, and beautiful ornate signs.

We came back here several times just for the window shopping.

They finally let these guys in, but they had to conform to the sign ordinance. We didn't stop there.

A little music shop along the way

Saran's Restaurant

We were looking for a place for dinner, looking to Rick Steves for advice, when we looked up and saw this. Then we looked into the restaurant and there was Saran. Menu in 8 languages. The food was wonderful!

Christmas and Easter

This town is all Mozart all the time – museums, concerts, figurines, clothes, cakes, candies, you name it. Some of it is done well and some of it is pure junk.

And there’s an emphasis on Christmas and Easter – even fancy Christmas Eggs and Easter Trees.


Mozart's Birthplace

We toured Mozart’s birthplace, an apartment in this bright yellow building in the middle of town. You can't miss it.

He grew to detest Salzburg, thinking its people stupid and coarse. This might have been the natural result of over-the-top praise and gifts from Europe’s upper crust that began at a young age.

He was presented to the Emperor and Empress in Vienna when he was 9. They were charmed and impressed by him and his 12-year-old sister.

She must have had a hard life. She was reportedly quite talented, but totally overshadowed by Wolfgang.

He was stupid about money, and put the family so badly in debt that she had no dowry and could not marry the man she loved. She ended up in a loveless marriage to a much older man. But she remained a close friend and confidant to Wolfgang all his life, even after his father (Leopold) got exasperated and wrote him off.

If he’d been less full of himself, the people around him certainly would have been happier. He probably would have too.

The Kitchen of the Geburtshaus is quite simple. I like old kitchens - they're a good window to daily life.

Strange Baby

This creepy old/young haloed baby mannequin is set up in a room of the Geburtshaus, along with Mozart-related art from the period.

Salzburg straddles the Salzach river, which carried the salt mined upstream in the Salzkammergut.

Panorama Museum

This is an actual 360-degree painting of Salzburg of 1829, painted by Johann Michael Sattler. It's on display in a round room with a railing to keep you from falling into it. I believe this is the view from the cliff-top Hohensalzburg.

The museum also includes panoramas of other cities and lanscapes done by Sattler - it was his specialty.

You can also compare parts of this painting to photographs of today's Salzburg. Very interesting!

Here's the Old Town center and the Salzach - not much different from today.

Farmers Market Platz

There’s a farmer’s market once a week in one of the squares, and we were there on the right day. We bought food for a cliff-top picnic.

Great selection of cheeses, meats, fruits, breads and flowers.


There are a couple ways up the Mönchsberg besides the obvious and strenuous one. There's a lift to the Museum of Modern Art at one end, and a funicular to the Festung Hohensalzburg castle at the other.

We opted for the lift. This is the view from the museum back to the castle.

We took our picnic with us and hiked the trails along the top over to the castle. It was a nice walk, mostly through woods.

Great views of the city and river were to be found all along the pathway.

These walls are an outlying part of the castle, built at a time when greater defense was needed.


Inside the wall was a park with benches - good for a break.

Not a sundial, this etched metal plate tells you how far prominant places are in different directions.

The Grossglockner pass is one of the highlights of our upcoming motorcycle tour. More about that later.

Also in this park, a monument to Eduard Richter. you know, like in the Richter Scale? World-famous geophysicist.

There is actually a neighborhood built in amongst the ruins and parks, and this is the village fountain. Nice to have a water bottle along.


We watched a young mother watching her children play in her walled back yard and wondered what she must think of the tourists that constantly surround her.

Festung Hohensalzburg

After a pleasant hike, we finally got to the main fortress, with its modern clock tower. The fortress is still in use for many activities and is kept in fairly good consition.

Solar Calendar

Below the clock was this sundial, which cleverly tells the date as well as the time. You have to follow the zodiac symbols and read the shadow of the brass ball at the end of the rod. I'd never seen one of these before.

City view from Hohensalzberg - much like that shot from the Panorama above.

There are several museums within the Hohensalzberg. This is the original Fortress Church.

The Marionette Museum

Marionettes are a big thing in Salzberg. These are the puppets for the main characters in Amadeus. We also saw them for The Sound of Music and several operas.

Wood-fired ceramic heaters became quite an art form. This is the heater from the king's chambers in the fortress, and includes a lot of state symbolism.

Technology from the 20th century was also on display, including this telephone switchboard

The Military Museum crossed over into art.

This was the night we had our concert tickets for, and the concert was up here in the castle.

We had talked about just having a look around and going down, then back up for our concert later, but there were a lot of interesting things to see around the castle grounds.

So we just looked around the various museums and spent some time looking over the city below , had a drink in a café on the grounds, and watched the sun set over the roofs of Salzburg.

Met and talked with a German woman who comes to these performances once in a while. Her husband doesn't enjoy this kind of travel, so she vacations on her own. We talked a lot, comparing travel stories.

Dinner and Concert

Our dinner-concert was quite a nice evening. Excellent food – four courses served over and hour and a half – and a string quartet with horn.

The quartet were all young – in their twenties. They played some Hayden and Leopold Mozart as well as Wolfgang.

Alpine Horn

The Leopold Mozart piece was for string quartet and Alpine Horn. The French horn player from the earlier piece, when he’d been quite seriously dressed, came in after the intermission wearing lederhosen and carrying that huge horn.

He introduced the instrument and explained its history in German and then in English. Turns out half the audience was a group of American students, so the laughter was much more during the English part.

He had to stand sideways in front of the stage to play the huge thing. After the first movement, he pointedly turned around, to give the people on that side of the audience a break from the full force of the horn.

The quartet were very good and the concert quite intimate, performed in this very live room in the fortress. Acoustics were excellent.

I particularly enjoyed watching the cellist, but they were all very expressive, moving from the simpler Hayden to the more complex Mozart and apparently enjoying it a great deal.

Most importantly, Tom enjoyed the concert and felt like he “got” classical music for the first time. I had expected him to be bored by the end, but he was ready for more!

Salzburg at Night

We caught the last funicular trip down to the city, and ended up in a crowded car with several of the American students and three of the players.

We talked to the first violinist on the way down about where the quartet members were from and where else they were playing. The two women were Austrian, but the cellist was Czech.

Mirabelle Gardens

Our last half day in Salzberg, we stashed our packs at the train station and went to explore across the river.

Another recognizable set from The Sound of Music is the Mirabelle Gardens. This area of the gardens is specifically designed for this view back to the fortress. The children sang Do-Re-Mi dancing around this fountain, up the steps we're standing on and through that arbor on the right.

We found this statue of Nikolas Copernicus in the children's garden. Seems like a slightly strange place for him, but we were glad to see him honored.

Formal gardens indeed - almost meditation paths.

The Mirabelle Gardens surround the Mirabelle Castle, which is still used for government offices and is mostly closed to tourists, but we walked around gawking at the staircase and other ornate features.

The River Cruise that wasn't

We tried to take a river cruise, but the company cancelled the early one due to "river conditions." Probably really because they didn't think they'd sell enough tickets. We couldn't wait for the next one.

Back on the Train

We hopped back on the bus, picked up our packs from the locker in the train station, and we were off to Bavaria/Tirol, the same region on either side of the Germany/Austria border.

We talked about going to Munich for a night to try to get the gear thing straightened out, but Tom didn’t want to mess with it.


1 Beginning 5 Paris 9 Frankfurt and the Night Train 13 Bavaria and Tirol
2 London to Edinburgh 6 Bruges 10 Vienna 14 Motorcycles in the Alps
3 The Fringe 7 Amsterdam 11 Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut 15 Switzerland near Interlaken
4 Scotland and Wales 8 Bacharach in the Rhine Valley 12 Salzburg 16 Home again

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