Travel: AUTUMNAL SALZBURG (Satis Shroff)
Salzburg is a wonderful Austrian city on the banks of the Salzach river, on the northern border of the Alps. The alpine peak Untersberg (1972m), with a commanding view of Salzburg, is located only a short distance from the city centre.
German is the official language of Austria, with a typically Ossie slang, but you hear English a lot too. How do you pay in Austria? In euros. And tips? It’s customary to give a bakshish of 10% in restaurants, bars and taxis.
Most people know Salzburg’s greatest composer son as Mozart, but his name was officially ‘Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgang Theophilus Mozart. Mozart is a Latinised variation of Theophilus. The famous composer signed in later years as Wolfgang Amade and called himself ‘Amadeus’ when he was in a jovial mood. Falco, a pop-star in the 1980s sang a hit with ‘Ah-ah-Amadeus’ in which the singer referred to Mozart as a superstar.
Who was Mozart? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27,1756-.December 5, 1791) was a prolific and talented composer of the Classical Era. He composed over 600 works and his popularity is enduring, and showed prodigious capabilities since early childhood.
After crossing the footbridge into the Baroque city centre, you arrive at the birthplace of Mozart at the Getreidegasse 9 (Cereal Lane), now a hubbing shopping street, which has been turned into a museum and has become a cultural venue, drawing thousands of visitors from around the world. You are conducted through the original Mozart rooms which have historic documents, memorabilia. There are also portraits hanging on the white walls painted during his lifetime. You can also see the unfinished oil painting with the title ‘Mozart at the Piano.’ The exhibits include the violin that Mozart played on as a child.
Some hundred metres away from the birth-house of Mozart, is his residence, which became his family home for seven years from the year 1773 till 1780. The Mozart museum has also been transformed into a museum and a permanent exhibition about the Mozart family. It’s easy to reach by bus and is located at the Market Square No.8. Mozart composed some of his famous works here, especially his great symphonies and masterpieces such as ‘Re pastore’ and ‘Idomeneo.’ The Magic Flute House, actually a hut, is located on the grounds of the Mozarteum Foundation in Schwarzstrasse 26. Mozart wrote parts of the Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). You can listen to the Mozart Sound and Film Collection at Mozart’s Residence, as well as compositions and movies of contemporary Salzburger composers. I liked hearing WA Mozart’s piano sonatas at the Mozart Residence. It’s good to have time at your disposal during such a significant visit to Mozart’s world, so that you can seep in everything with your senses. During my sojourn in Salzburg I heard Mozart’s music over my MP3 to share and get the Mozart feeling.
It was a rainy morning in Salzburg and a lady I met from Vienna, who was on a visit wearing the traditional trachten said to me with a smile, ‘This is typical Salzburger weather.’
Salzburg was a state ruled by Archbishops for centuries and they lavished great wealth and bestowed exquisite architecture on the city, which had many churches and cathedrals.
At lunchtime I met a young man from Salzburg and I mentioned the many beggars and drunks near the railway station and in the lanes of the city and he replied laconically, ‘It’s not like Vienna. Vienna is very different.’
On another day I went on a lovely ride to the top of the Untersberg on a spacious cabin of the cable car. You have a magnificent view of the RosittenValley and the surrounding mountains. When you reach the top you have chance to hike to the Geiereck (1805m). Another possibility is to walk up to the mountain-climbers’ memorial. I chose this route because I was fascinated by the story of the mountaineers. You can also walk to the Salzburg Hochthron peak (1856m). At the summit you’re rewarded with a beautiful view of the Salzburg Lake District.
One should never forget that one is in an alpine country, which demands that you wear proper clothing and shoes when you take a walk in the countryside.The weather can change fast.
A legend has it that the Emperor Charlesmagne never really died. Instead, he’s sleeping in the Untersberg along with his loyal knioghts. The legend says that he will awaken when the empire needs him the most. That will be the day when no ravens will fly around the mountain’s summit. When this happens, Charlesmagne who is also known as the Father of Europe and his men will come again to help his people.
An interesting story, isn’t it? As I climbed up to the summit there were a lot of Bergdollen, these black birds, flying about the summit. They weren’t shy and would love to swoop to your shoulder and take a bite of your apple which you were eating.
Salzburg is also called ‘The Rome of the North’ because of the fortresses, pleasure palaces cathedrals and churches and statues.
Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart it’s also called the City of Music.
You promenade in the footpath zones of the modern Austrian city, you’re fascinated by its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture and artistry. If you’re in a hurry you can take the bus to the Mirabelleplatz, get off there and let yourself be astonished by the sights that unfurl before your eyes at the gardens of the MirabellePalace. The many fountains and sprouts with Greek mythological themes, the well-placed and cut green lawns leading to the fountains in shades of green, scarlet and yellow flowers forming exquisite designs, with rows of tall green hedges. And beyond the garden, a magnificent view of the fortress Hohensalzburg, which happens to be one of the oldest fortresses in Europe.
If that’s enough, you can go to Hellbrunn and visit the famous, enchanting, BaroquePalace and its PleasureGarden (Lustschloss), which is full of surprises and pranks. The pavilion of this palace was used in the making of ‘Sound of Music.’ The PleasureGarden is a delight with its hidden fountains and sprouts. Even when you think you’re clever and can dodge the water that shoots at you from nowhere, this garden visit makes all visitors laugh, and a frivolous garden atmosphere develops. You stay behind a ‘safe’ wall, laughing at the others trying to dodge the water, and suddenly you have the feeling that you’ve wet your pants or skirt, as the case may be. It’s hilarious and a must-see place, if you are with your friends and want to give them a special treat.
Imagine being invited to take part in a sumptuous dinner, and while you’re eating and chatting with your neighbour the fountains suddenly start sprinkling all around you and you get soaked. Mischievous, eh? You can’t cry, so you laugh. This palace garden with its trick-fountains was a hit in the old days (even today), for it was the epoche of melancholy. After all, laughter has always been the best medicine.
In Salzburg, you take a red London double-decker, built in 1962, and drive past the old city with Baroque buildings. Natural landscape crops up, then the exclusive residential area. You can see the majestic Hagen and Tennen mountain ranges.
When you’re in Salzburg don’t forget to visit the Confiserie or Café Sacher at the Hotel Sacher Salzburg for the original Sacher-torte. It’s a must do. The Sacher-torte dates back to 1832, baked according to his own recipe by Franz Sacher. Another favourite souvenir is the famous Mozart Kugel, a chocolate delight. They are small nuggets of best dark and light nougat, immersed in fine marzipan and have a chocolate cover. Traditional trachten costumes also make excellent presents abroad. At the Europark Shopping Centre you get products with names like such as: H&M, C&A, Esprit, Hilfinger,Zara, Marrionand etc.
If you haven’t yet got acquainted with the original Salzburger Nockerl’ it’s high time you did at S’Nockerl Restaurant. A Nockerl is a delicious egg-vanilla soufflé.´ The Viennese Schnitzel is made of bread crumbed veal or pork.