Certainly with bugs, I have a LOT of bug bites from Hallstatt… but also most certainly with music! If you were ever confused about where in Austria The Sound of Music was filmed, you’d be quickly reminded upon entering Salzburg. There are Sound of Music tours everywhere, my hostel plays The Sound of Music every single night at 8pm, the password for the wifi here is “soundofmusic”, etc.
But before I get to Salzburg, I did spend one more day in Bad Goisern (the much cheaper town I stayed in near Hallstatt). I had plans to go for a ~3 hour hike around the Bad Goisern area, but I guess in my excitement over hiking all over Hallstatt I forgot about my age, and my muscles were so sore the next day I could barely get to the kitchen and back. So instead, I munched on my grocery store snacks and watched The Sound of Music, in preparation for my trip to Salzburg.
I did manage a very slow short walk around the town during intermission (yes, there is an intermission in the movie), and I’m glad I did because the fall foliage around town was outstanding:
I only had 2 days booked in Salzburg and it was supposed to rain the entire second day, so I grabbed a Salzburg card (actually worth it in this city), and headed straight to Hohensalzburg Fortress. The hike up to the fortress was incredibly challenging because I am still sore from my Hallstatt hike 2 days ago, but I refused to wait in line for the cable car up! The self-guided tour was a bit boring, the fortress never saw any action, but the views were amazing.
Then I caught the bus to Schloss Hellbrunn to see the trick fountains. Hellbrunn Palace was a summer day residence built in the early 1600’s by Markus Sittikus (I heard Marcus Aurelius every time). Sittikus was the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg who is described to have quite the sense of humor. He had a bunch of jeux d’eau (water games) built into his gardens that would surprise and spray guests that he entertained, usually after they had a few drinks.
The tour was interesting. The tour guide speaks in German and then English and the tour group was made up of roughly 4 German speakers and 20 English speakers (me, and 19 Asian tourists). But the German portions seemed to last much longer than the English translations. A common stop would include 30 seconds of German followed by “Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now move to the next part of the garden where I will show you more water tricks”. Hmmm.
By the second stop a minority of the group, myself included, had figured out that if the ground is wet, that’s not where you want to be standing. But most tourists are too busy taking pictures to notice these things, and it was funny watching them (and their electronics) get sprayed at each stop. What is really impressive is that all of the water games are powered solely by water, and no changes have been made since it was built 400 years ago.
The summer palace also houses the Sound of Music Pavilion (where the famous “I am 16 going on 17” song takes place):
Salzburg is also famous for being Mozart’s birthplace. They’ve turned his family home into a museum, and since I did play the piano for a number of years, including some Mozart, I figured I should go (and it’s included in the Salzburg card!). I ended up finding it pretty interesting, sooo here are some things I learned:
- Mozart and his older sister were the only two out of seven children to survive infancy. I knew it wasn’t uncommon for children to die before reaching adulthood in the 18th century but I didn’t realize how common it was. I wish I had written down the stat in the museum but I remember it being something around one in every three children didn’t reach adulthood during this time period. Mozart and his wife had six children, of which only two survived infancy.
- Mozart’s sister was also a very accomplished pianist, but as a woman in the 18th century, and with Mozart as a brother, she didn’t get much recognition.
- While Mozart held many different jobs, composing Opera’s was his favorite, and I enjoyed the quote: “Opera should be in French rather than German, and Italian rather than either”.
- Mozart died at age 35, and it isn’t known for certain what he died of. Researchers have suggested at least 118 potential causes. Hard to image what other musical masterpieces we might have if he had lived a longer life!
By this point I had spent a number of days surviving on grocery store sandwiches, so I decided to treat myself for dinner:
Aside from the Sound of Music, the other topic that dominated my stay in Salzburg was the horrific Las Vegas shooting. I ate dinner in the common room last night and eavesdropped on a group of non-Americans (mostly Australians) who were discussing gun violence and America’s mass shooting problem. As the only American in there, I decided not to speak up, partly because I just didn’t want the attention shifted to me, and partly because I was really interested in listening to the opinions of non-Americans without American interference.
As most people are aware, in 1996 there was a massacre in Port Arthur, Tasmania, where 35 people were killed by a young man with semiautomatic weapons. Very soon after, a ban on automatic and semiautomatic weapons was enacted and Australia hasn’t had a massacre since. Obviously the politics, society, and challenges of Australia and America are vastly different, but the Australians in the room just couldn’t understand why America hasn’t been able to get past the politics and do something, anything, to stop these massacres from continuing. They also discussed how, based on their interactions with Americans and understanding of American politics, they believed it unlikely America would change their gun laws any time soon; sadly, I’d have to agree.
Here are a few other pictures from my adventures around Salzburg:
Later today I’m headed to Innsbruck to see some real Austrian Alps.