Sunday, May 6, 2007

010507 - Salzburg - City of Music

More photos
Labour's Day was spent at Salzburg, a city at the Austria-Germany (Bayern) boundary. Amazingly, we can use the Bayern ticket to go there! So it's pretty cheap when me and Chuanjie shared it anyway. We met up with Xinli over there; she just came back from Copenhagen with her luggage!! Ok, that was how enthusiastic a fervent traveler can be...

Anyway, we started our day pretty late: 12 noon. And on we are to find out about this legendary city that I have been hearing from my Spanish friend, Maria, when I was doing internship in Singapore and also from the German magazines and word of mouth.

A little background - Salzburg is Mozart's birthplace, the place where the world-acclaimed "The Sound of Music" was filmed and so truly it is the city of music. My first impression of the city was its serenity. The peaceful kind of melody, like classical, like Sonata.

First stop was Mozart's Geburtshaus (place where he was born). Apparently it has been turned into a museum upstairs, and a cafe downstairs. The photo was taken by these 2 German guys from Minga. (:P)Pretty fun and nice people. This is the first of many we met in Salzburg which made our trip a very enjoyable one.

Mozart was born on the third floor, not that it is anything significant. The museum, personally speaking, is one of the better ones I have seen so far, when an autobiography of a celebrity is concerned. It does not simply show the furniture, the family history and his accomplishments, but it shows his personality, his perspectives and his mentality. We were lucky enough to have a professor from the University of Salzburg there to give us a little introduction to those. Although his English is not fantastic, he was extremely enthusiastic in telling us what he knows. Something that I remembered well was what he said Mozart's sister said of the child prodigy: "My brother is a genius in the mind, but a child at heart". I wonder how does things look through the eyes of a genius. Does everything really looks so simple to them? But I think they cannot fathom the world around them too... Just as a child to his world and the world to him.

Next stop is this fortress which everybody should make a trip down if you are in Salzburg: Festung Hohensalzburg. It was built in 1077 by a prince who became a bishop later on. The fortress was used by the Austrian army in the world wars and the museum showed many war weapons, uniforms and the war room, apart from the usual royalty rooms. There is a myriad of things to see in the fortress. It's worth the time going. There, we met our second nice person, an Icelander, with his baby and taking photos for all 3 of us!! He was really a nice person, because he offered the help despite the baby in his arms; the baby seemed to be interested in the cameras anyway LOLX. We have to take a cable car to and from the fortress. The down-journey leads you to a small aqueduct, where the Alps water was channeled to. Austrian's tap water is well-known to be one of the most refreshing, because it came straight from the Alps; this is very true indeed! You definitely have to taste it.

Our next stops were Mirabell Gardens and the Mirabell Palace and Hellsbrunn Palace. Both host places where the musical "The Sound of Music" actually was filmed. I haven't watched the show, but I know only that it is famous. Sad case, because Xinli and Chuanjie were busily rattling on and on about the excerpts from the musical... :(

In any case, other attractions along the way include the Dom (Cathedral), Residenz, Mozartsplatz, Catacombs, a cemetery and so on. Along the way, you could see people playing music along the streets, playing chess, small stalls selling an assortment of things. We bought ice creams and pretzels! Haha. Fun, fun, fun..

We reached Mirabell Gardens. Hard to describe. You really have to be there. It's big, needless to say. And it's like it's sprung out from the fairy tales, with maze-like gardens, music boxes in a splendid playground, pegasus on a fountain, which opens up from gates with lion statues... Greens and flowers and gazebos and all. Well, I am lost for descriptive words. So just go there.

The cruise was a last minute decision haha. Because 15 Euros and added just to make up to our Salzburg card which we bought at 21 Euros. But the experience was pretty decent, with nice scenaries and nice people :P As usual, as I always say, it's the people that determines the main part of your experience, whether it's nice or not. And that in the picture, is the captain of the passenger cruiser.

Last stop is Hellsbrunn Palace. A pity by that time it's already nearing 8pm. Cannot tell right? But yahz, it's that late. So the tour is not open, but we just have to see the pavilion that "The Sound of Music" has its FAMOUS scene in. It doesn't matter if we dint make a tour there, we just have to take a photo. As what Singaporeans would do.

Check out the "Stadtgrenze"... One step you are in Salzburg and the next you aren't... Interesting, when the boundaries are linked by land rather than the sea. There is no real proper demarcation. Down this very concrete path, an old couple sauntered down, past the border of Salzburg, into the supposed next city. As they just make a left turn into their residence, they are still in sight from where I am standing, beyond the Salzburg border. How can you actually tell where I am standing and where they live actually comes from 2 different places though connected by the same land.
All in all, Salzburg is worth a go definitely. There are many other tours too, like the Ice Caves tour, which we were all yearning to go, but too bad too far into the Alps without proper gear and there is the "Sound of Music" tour, which might be interesting as well.

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