Visiting R 62 10

Online shopping is a nice thing. But sometimes, when you find out about a special present you can get somebody for his birthday and time is scarce, you will do real life shopping. Even if this means going to Salzburg. So I took a day off, bought a day ticket to all the museums and major landmarks (Salzburg Card), and jumped into the car.

Salzburg is famous for…

It is very funny. Though I have been in Salzburg already before I never thought about its name: Salz and Burg; Salt and Castle. It was just such a common name for me that its obvious meaning and link to its history never came to my mind.

The Celts already started with the salt production 600 B.C. (and it was finally shut down in 1989). This industry was responsible for the wealth of the archbishops. But today (in my mind) the city is famous for its pretty old town and Mozartkugeln (Mozart Balls – be careful not to spell it differently in English).

But it looks like that outside of Europe a movie from the 60s had quite an effect on the popularity of Salzburg. “The Sound of Music” is the most viewed musical film of all time and has a significant impact on the touristic numbers.

I had now idea until somebody mentioned recently in a totally different post about traveling to Europe. Now I understand why there is a “Sound of Music” museum. And I didn’t visit it because I didn’t get the background. But I am happy to find out that I am not the only one. A recent article about “Why Sound of Music is known by almost nobody in Austria” points out that it has been rarely shown on TV in Austria. Might be it is just not as interesting to see something that is right in front of your door every day.

Another point is that it is a movie and not reality. We would not have our schnitzel with noodles (no, we wouldn’t – really, not). Austrians do not dance and sing the whole day. Switzerland is more than 150 km (~100 miles) away from Salzburg and you would definitely not cross just one mountain to get there. Austrians were actually not that much against Nazis in the 1930s. And the list goes on.

But does it look beautiful? Yes, of course it does!

The classical town

You have the classical town with the cathedral, the churches, the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Fountain on the Residenzplatz – in the background the Salzburg Cathedral
71 m high dome with scenes from the Old Testament (rebuilt after a bomb destroyed it in 1944)
Salzburg Castle on a hill
One of the biggest castles in Europe

You can see a bit of Mozart’s hair or visit the Catacombs with the different very ancient chapels.

Mozart’s hair (in the Salzburg Museum)
Maximus chapel, consecrated in 1172

Because I only had one day I rushed through all of it. And in hindsight I need to say: I should have spent more time. Salzburg has so much to offer that being there only for one day is just not enough.

The mountains

Of course you can see the mountains. Especially when you visit the Fortress or when you go up the “Hausberg” (local mountain) of Salzburg: the Gaisberg.

Panorama view
Panorama view from the fortress
Hill with snow in the background of other mountains
No idea which mountain this is, but the snow looked fabulous

If you like paragliding the Gaisberg is the right spot for you. There is a dedicated private paragliding club just around this hill. Check out some YouTube videos if you are interested in it (search for paragliding Gaisberg).

Evening view from the Gaisberg towards the other mountains

More to discover

If you are interested in more than Salzburg history, architecture, and movie sets and especially if you have curious kids on a rainy day I strongly recommend that you visit the Museum of Natural History and Technology.

They have a lot of different theme areas on multiple floors. All of them are great to watch. A lot of the pieces of exhibit can even be tried out.

Big salt cristals
Giant mountain crystals, the largest single crystal among them weighs 618 kg (~1,360 pounds).
Model of a brain with eyes
More to learn about the brain – ok, yes, it stares
Those little cuties are Spotted Garden-eels.

There is so much to discover you could spent at least a whole day only in this location.

As already said – I think I didn’t do myself a favor by just visiting for a single day. There were too many impressions and not enough time to let them sink in. I came home and there was no real feeling about what I had seen. Lesson learned.

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