Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

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Flag of Austria  ,
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our campsite was a short walk from the bus stop which took us in to the centre of town. There was a light misty rain which made everything rather grey, but we set off on our walking tour anyways. We started off in a square with a statue of Mozart. A short walk away was a much larger square with a huge fountain that was being power-washed. We also saw lots of horse carriages lined up waiting to take tourists around town. We also got to see the neat bell-tower with bells of various sizes. We then walked over in front of the church where there was a statue of Mary. It was also about to be restored in some way and they were putting glass up all around it. Luckily it wasn't completely covered yet! We backed up to under an archway and were able to see her being crowned by the angels which were on the church behind. We came back later and she was completely covered up so we got there just in time.

We headed in to the church to check it out. There were four organs at the front organized under the dome. Mozart used to play in this church as one of the organists. The dome was really neat and there were lots of details on the upper part of the pillars and archways. We also saw an enormous baptismal font near the entrance.

We wandered into the next square where there was a golden globe sculpture with a man standing on it. This is part of a program initiated by the City of Salzburg where a local, contemporary artists' work is featured every couple of months. We took our photos and then watched the other tourists going under the golden globe and pretending to lift it up. We also saw a horse bath off to the side of the square. The horse bath was a large sunken area in the square with a small railing around it and a sloped entrance so that the horses could walk into it (once upon a time) to be washed. We then headed down a small alley following our walking tour. As we arrived at a waterwheel we could smell the most delicious fresh bread baking smell wafting out of a nearby building. It was the oldest bakery in Salzburg and we immediately headed in to pick up a treat. They had delicious buns which we enjoyed while watching their video about the bread-baking process. This bakery was especially interesting because they only use wood-fired ovens and only water, salt, and flour to make all their bread products. Having tasted some of their treats, we then picked up two more of the same and an amazing loaf of dark, whole wheat bread to enjoy later.

We then continued on our way toward the cemetery at St. Peter’s church which was the one that inspired the cemetery scene in the "Sound of Music" (SOM) at the end of the movie when they are being chased. They didn’t actually film it here, but the iron gates definitely reminded us of the scene. The flowers in the cemetery on the grave plots were beautifully tended and there were freshly planted chrysanthemums and heather all around. We learned that grave sites are rented and every 10 years a bill is sent out. If no one pays it, the tombstone is removed and rented to someone else! We then headed over towards the building where the singing concert took place in the SOM; unfortunately we couldn’t go in, but you could picture the hall from the concrete of the outside of the building.

Feeling hungry, we went to a restaurant recommended in our guidebook and sat in a cozy corner. We were quite cold and were glad for a chance to warm up. There were several other people in there also with Rick Steves guidebooks which we thought was quite funny. I started off with a tasty pumpkin soup which hit the spot and warmed me up. I followed it up with a pumpkin strudel which came with a creamy chive sauce and 4 different small salads. It was all delicious and I enjoyed every bite. Anoop went for another typical Austrian dish of sauerkraut, dumplings, potatoes and various cuts of pork drowned in gravy. It was also delicious and a good choice on a cold day.

Afterwards we headed back to the market area in the square and enjoyed looking at all the flowers and foods on display in the stalls. We also walked over to another horse fountain which was in front of where the old city stables used to be. On the wall behind the fountain were paintings of the prince’s favourite horses. We walked down a street with tons of iron-wrought shop signs hanging overhead in the style typical to the region. McDonald’s was even there although they had been told their sign had to fit in with the character of the street. Their sign, even though it was iron-wrought, was out of place simply because it was at least twice as big as the other signs. We passed by Mozart’s birthplace but didn’t go in as our book had recommended his residence as a more interesting place to visit.

We then headed uphill to the fortress to wander the grounds, but found that you were no longer allowed to see the ground for free. Since we didn’t want to see the whole fortress and all the exhibits we headed back down to the abbey where they filmed the SOM scenes in the courtyard where all the nuns were singing. We weren’t allowed to visit that either, but had a look in the church anyhow. We then crossed the river and headed towards Mozart’s residence. We were quite disappointed by the museum and found that it was the first recommendation in our guidebook that we disagreed with. There were 6 or so rooms each containing various things related to Mozart or his family. We saw some instruments (his piano was on loan to Vienna), scores, books and other small items. We watched an interesting video on his life while he was growing up. We then headed back in to the main part of the museum to finish listening to a different video when they turned out all the lights where we were sitting and told us it was closed and we had to go. The hours listed were until 5:30 and it was only about 5:15 so everyone was quite surprised that we couldn’t stay the full amount of time; we were only allowed to visit the gift shop after that. Anyhow, we were irritated that they hadn’t mentioned that the museum closed 15 minutes earlier than posted as we might not have visited knowing we didn’t have time to listen to the full audioguide. Feeling rather disappointed in the quality of the museum in general compared to others we had visited, we decided it would not get a thumbs up.

We headed over to the nearby Mirabell gardens in front of the palace. This was also a SOM filming site and we enjoyed wandering around. Parts of the garden used in the movie were the long arbour, the gardens with the sculptures and fountain. We were still somewhat vague on exactly which parts were used and decided that we should watch the movie again when we get a chance to see all the sights again. We also wandered through the dwarf park which has statues of dwarfs who served the prince-archbishop in the 1600s. Once it got dark we headed back to camp.
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