More glorious weather greeted us as we woke at Panorama Camping, so after breakfast with a view of the town, we walked down the gravel track, crossed the small bridge and hopped on the number 3 bus into the centre of the city.
We had a great day exploring the various attractions and learned a lot about the following three things; Mozart, the Sound of Music and salt.
Mozart didn’t have a lot of time for this handsome city, but there’s no doubt Salzburg has a lot of time for Mozart.
He felt claustrophobic and pressured in Salzburg and as a result, spent much of his time trying to stay away from the town. Salzburg carefully skirts this however, celebrating their famous son at every opportunity.
The house he spent many of his formative years in was rebuilt in the mid-nineties and today, is home to the Mozart Wohnhaus museum. We passed a sizable queue of people waiting to get into the house where he was born too. But by far the most visible mark Mozart left on Salzburg was the chocolate. I’m not sure what the link between one of the world’s great composers and chocolate in red and gold wrappers is, but there must be one. Every shop has an exhaustive display of chocolate Mozarts.
If he was around now, I’m pretty sure he’d still not like Salzburg as everywhere he went, he’d see little chocolate versions of himself. Oddly, they’re far more visible than his music.
Mozart would be so proud of what they’ve done with his legacy.
The Sound of Music
Who doesn’t like a bit of Julie Andrews? The Sound of Music was based around the city of Salzburg and it’s been the bedrock of the tourist industry ever since. In fact, the combination of Mozart and Maria has made Salzburg something of a musical Mecca. It’s noticeable that unlike other European cities, the make-up of visitors is far more international, with Japanese, Australian and American visitors mingling among the Germans, French and Brits.
Anyway, back to the Von Trapps, there is a 4h bus tour every day, which leaves town at 9.30am. Strictly for the extroverts though, as apparently, there is a lot of audience participation.
If the thought of being trapped in a minibus of curtain-wearing kid wannabes is too much to bear, you can walk up to Nonnberg Abbey for a poke about. This is where Maria was based in her brief career as a Nun but bursting into song here is not advised. It is all very quiet. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, that’s one of the things Maria didn’t like…
Other areas in the city concerned the film are the Mirabell Gardens (where the kids danced around the statues signing Do-Re-Mi) and you can see a performance of the film by puppets in the Marionette Theatre, Mirabell Gardens during the summer.
It’s where the town got its name. In German (and Austrian for that matter) the word for salt is salz and castle is burg. The salt mines in the mountains supplied the ‘white gold of Hallein’ which was transported down the river Salzach to the town where it was sold and distributed from the castle. In fact on the castle tour, one of the first rooms you’ll be shown is the salt storage area and it’s in a well-protected area, reflecting its value to the Salzburgians at the time. The Salzach Cruise boat tour covers the story in reasonable detail too and happily finishes with the boat dancing to one of Mozart’s waltzes in the middle of the river. Odd, but entertaining.
The amazing waltzing Salzburg Cruiser. No really…
If you want to know more, you can visit the Hallein Salt Mine, south of Salzburg to explore the oldest mine of its type in the world and buy some of its salt, should you so wish. Although if you’ve just spent the day in Salzburg, there’s every chance you’ll be sick of the sight of the stuff.