Note: The entry is backdated as I could only write it offline due to the lack of internet access in Salzburg – Munich.
I was introduced to Mozartkugeln (round chocolate with a picture of Mozart on its wrapping) – they’re also colloquially known as Mozart balls. I thought there was only one type of Mozart balls but I discovered that there were different brands of Mozart balls for sale here in Salzburg: Fürst, Reber, Mirabell, among others. I thought about buying some and brought them with me, but it will be a while before I return to Adelaide. I will be spending a week in Indonesia as well and I’m afraid that the balls will melt! Even buying some for the folks in Indonesia will be unpractical as I will be heading off to many places first before I see my family.
You see Mozart all over the place in Austria, and especially in Salzburg. Let me see: Cafe Mozart, Mozart perfume, Mozart balls, Mozart books, Mozart figurines, Mozart fridge magnet, they’re everywhere! If in Norway you’d find troll souvenirs, in Budapest the paprikas and babushka dolls (I remember a friend in Estonia made a comment that Babushkas were Russian and not Estonian when I thought about purchasing one in Tallinn – so I made a conscious decision not to buy one in Hungary either), then in Austria, you’d find Gustav Klimt and Mozart. Everywhere.
My day today started with The Sound of Music Tour. It started at 9.30am and we were entertained constantly by the tourguide, Peter. He and the driver, Ferdinand, kept us amused along the way by telling some stories and obscure facts about the movie and the locations where it was shot. I learned many things about the movie and the real Von Trapp family. For example, do you know that the real Von Trapp family were never actually pursued by the Nazi? They left after Austria was already annexed – when the border was still open, they quietly took a train from Austria to Italy. Then they continued on to England, and then they finally settled down in Vermont, USA. I think Roger and Hammerstein realised that ‘Step on every platform’ didn’t really carry the same gravitas as ‘Climb every mountain’. The tour is only conducted in English – perhaps one of the reason is because the movie is not big in Austria. A lot of the tour participants were Americans and I would say that 80% were women. There were some humming or whistling to the tunes when the songs were played in the bus, but we didn’t have a real belter or a real Sound of Music fanatic. We finished the tour at about 2pm, so all in all about 4.5 hours for €37. It’s recommended if you love the movie and want to know the locations. We visited the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp got married (in the town of Mondsee, outside Salzburg), the house, and the pavilion where Liesl and Rolf did the love song together, among other places. The pavilion was donated to the city of Salzburg after the movie shooting was finished, and it was moved to a different location because of the number of visitors who sneaked into the original location to dance around it! The authorities even had to lock it now, because apparently there was an 80-year old woman who tried to imitate Liesl and jumped from one bench to the next while singing. She broke her hip. Hahahaha. These are the things that we heard during the tour – we also visited the town of St Gilgen and Mondsee. I took Peter’s recommendation and had the Apfelstrudel in Mondsee and it was really delicious – apple strudel with warm vanilla sauce. Mmm, mmmmmm.
There was one spot that we didn’t visit that I was keen to find, that is the cemetery where the Von Trapp family hid when the Nazi went after them. According to Peter, the scene was shot in Hollywood but they modelled it after the cemetery complex at St Peter’s Church. I wanted to have a look but got sidetracked because after I returned back to the city, I visited the house were Mozart lived, the house where Mozart was born, and also tried to find other locations that weren’t covered in the tour, such as the Mozartsteg bridge, where Maria and the children pranced in when they visited the city.
I returned to the hotel briefly to put my bag and to get my jacket. I walked back to Altstadt (the Old Town). I don’t know what possessed me to decide to walk up the steps to the castle at 4.00pm. I walked up the steps first to the Nonnberg Priory, where the real Maria Von Trapp became a nun. Then, I thought I could tackle more climbing, so I continued on to the Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Fortress). It was HARD work! In the beginning, I thought *IF* I went up to the castle, I would take the funicular up, and then walk down. But nooo – I did the opposite. Sheesh. By the time I reached the top, sweating and panting, I realised that to enter the complex I needed to pay €7! Thank God, I had enough. I walked around the fortress complex, visited the many rooms, halls and exhibitions, took some pictures (nearly lost my camera in the process because I absent-mindedly left it in one of the rooms) and enjoyed the beautiful vista from the top.
By the time I went down using the funicular to the city, it was 6.50pm already. And guess what I saw when I was in the funicular? The St Peter’s cemetery complex!! They close at 7.00pm, so I quickly entered in – had a quick stroll and took some pictures as well. I felt really good afterwards because my mission had been accomplished.
I initially planned to go to one of the local restaurants for dinner – but Salzburg is really expensive and I still have many places to visit, so I opted for a more low-key but equally satisfying dinner: a local kiosk selling käsekraner hotdog (similar to our cheese kransky in a hotdog bun) with a bottle of fizzy apple juice. Ahhh, nice. Afterwards, I stopped by one of the local ice cream shops and bought myself a cone of Salzburg nocklen-flavoured ice cream. It’s basically vanilla and cranberry. Very nice!
So, by 8.15pm I’m already back at the hotel rather than walking around the city and taking more of the same photos. Tomorrow I’m heading back to another city in the Alps – Munich! It’s time to visit the Bavarians!
One last thing, even after two days here in Salzburg, unfortunately it hasn’t won me over. Yes, I enjoyed the Sound of Music and the Mozart experience, but if Salzburg was a lady, she would be beautiful, polite, dignified, and high-class, but very cold, pretentious and aloof. The only warm emotions that I experienced was from the lady at the front office of the hotel, who humoured my attempt to speak Deutsch, and who asked me “Wie geht es Ihnen?” (How are you?) when I returned back to the hotel. The Salzburgers will probably snigger that I’m bowled over by Bratislava, but even though Bratislava looks plainer, it has a wonderful character and a great heart.