Today was a day for low-key touring and lots of picture-taking. As I mentioned before, the town is absolutely stunning with mountains pressing right up to it and even becoming a part of the architecture. Many of the buildings in the old town date from the 1400s, so the wandering was a lot of fun.
The Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates the skyline. It was built in the 1400s to protect the town from invaders but appeared so impenetrable that it was never attacked – a good investment indeed. It was abandoned as a living space in 1500.
Everything is so much older than what we traditionally experience in the US – it has been a humbling experience to see the sites here and understand the gravity of the history behind them.
Even the beer has history – everywhere we’ve gone, I’ve tried the cheap, local beer (almost the same price as a coke) and have enjoyed most of them. Okay, so Pilsner Urquell in Prague was a little “skunky” tasting for me but that’s a pretty good record with all I’ve tried. In Salzburg, Stiegl Bier was originally brewed in 1492 — now that’s pretty amazing!
Don’t let all the beauty fool you though, there is graffiti in Salzburg too – not nearly as much as Vienna and no where near the covering found in Berlin – but this one was too good not to snap.
Salzburg, originally famed for its extensive salt-mining operations which allowed it to thrive for a millenia is now known for being the birthplace and home for 25 years of Mozart. Everything Mozart permeates this town though at least there aren’t as many people dressed up as him as there were in Vienna.
Our guidebook, Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves, listed two main venues to learn more about Mozart. It indicated that the birthplace of Mozart museum was not worth the euro but recommended the Mozart Haus where he lived with his family for many years. Since I first fell in love with Salzburg as a budding musician in middle school, I have wanted to make my pilgrimage to his home so we paid our 7 euro each and excitedly entered the home. Unfortunately, I have to say that it simply was not worth either the time or the money. The tour was lacking in information and did not provide any real interaction with the musician or his craft. I feel like I learned more about him from the Haus der Musik in Vienna. I would have to tell people that if you should ever visit the town, you should enjoy the sites and the ambiance but skip the Mozart Haus. The free brass band concert in the park that we enjoyed afterward was worth way more than the 0 euro it cost to experience it!
Tomorrow – off to the cheesy Sound of Music tour!!