It must be a local disease in Salzburg, that when people arrive in the city, they start humming the tunes from “The Sound of Music“. I didn’t hum it out loud, but the songs were immediately playing in my head as I arrived in Salzburg. As I walked across the bridge that spans over the Salzach River, I couldn’t help smiling when I realised that I had arrived in the land of the Sound of Music. There was a mum with her daughter who bounced as they walked along one of the streets singing “These are a few of my favourite things”. Their accent sounds Dutch, so perhaps people come from all over the world to congregate in this Sound of Music mecca.
I should’ve watched the movie again before I came over here so I could try to find the exact places that were used in the movie. I did watch a clip in Youtube that summarised the locations, so that was a good start. Besides, I have also booked myself on the Sound of Music tour tomorrow at 9am. I’m not a Sound of Music devotee, but I’ve come across the world to be here, I may as well join the believers! Haha.
I arrived in the city at about 4ish, and walked from the Hauptbahnhof to the hotel (Centrahotel Gablerbräu). Thankfully, because of the Deutsch that I learned at the Goethe Institut in Bandung maaaany years ago, I could ask for direction and made myself understood. I could also understand the direction perfectly. Phew! The lady at the front desk also entertained my now rusty Deutsch and corrected my wrong grammar here and there and continued on her instructions in Deutsch, never reverting to English (which was much appreciated!!). Amazingly, I understood everything. 🙂 The hotel is apparently 600 years old, so I suppose I will be sleeping on a spot where somebody lived or slept hundreds of years ago! So, after I put my bags in my room, I was ready to explore Salzburg.
As I walked out of the hotel, there were three small golden plaques nearby on the street in Linzergaße, where the hotel is. On each of the plaque, a name is written: Ernst Löwy, Ida Löwy, and Herbert Löwy. Each one of them used to live in the building, a couple of steps away from the hotel … they perished in Auschwitz. It was quite sobering experience when I saw the plaques – stepped and trodden by millions of tourists without many of them understanding what happened many years ago. (Postscript: I found out through Googling, that there’s a project called Stolpersteine-Salzburg, which aims to put commemorative plaques to remember those who perished under the holocaust. The website is in German.)
On a lighter note, I did see many more happier sights around Salzburg. I took some pictures of Mozart’s birthplace, the Salzach River, the Mirabellgarten (where the Von Trapp kids do the Do-Re-Mi in the movie), and I also climbed up a small portion of the steps in the Kapuzinerberg to reach one of the nearest vantage point. Mirabellgarten is very pretty with its well-designed and well laid-out floral patterns. If you’re a real rose or flower enthusiast, you will probably love it there!
Something that I realise though – and this may sound very controversial for some – I don’t really warm up to Salzburg. If it weren’t for the Sound of Music and the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg would be really boring. You would probably be better off visiting another Alpine town. There’s a considerable lack of warmth here – plenty of beauty but again, lack of a real heart. Maybe I’ve been looking at things wrongly, as Austrians are reportedly proud and aloof, but do have a good heart. I mean, supposedly I arrive in the middle of the Salzburg Festival – one of the world’s more well-known world festival of classical music. I thought there would be decorations everywhere, and that the city would be more abuzz because of it. I don’t feel it. Again, maybe I should tone down my requirement for warmth and emotions, as after all, I am in Salzburg. *grin*.