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Austria: Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna, Werfen
Salzburg, Austria: One big symphony
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Thanks to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, his birthplace Salzburg, is synonymous with music. Sheer mention of the word Salzburg, conjures up melodies in the mind. As one walks the charming alleys of Salzburg, it becomes obvious about the town being a symphony in itself.
The next country of our Central Europe tour was Austria. After spending 3 days in Hungary, we were ready to soak in the charm of another beautiful European country. It’s a 6 hour journey by train from Budapest to Salzburg. Budapest has 3 railway stations. Trains leaving towards Salzburg depart from Budapest-Keleti. That’s Budapest East. Our train Railjet RJ 62 would leave at 9:10AM and arrive at 14:59PM. We had booked our tickets in advance and had our seats reserved.
We preferred taking the hotel taxi for our drive to Budapest-Keleti. They cost a bit more, but then you are sure. The 10-minute drive to the station cost HUF2500. Thankfully, our coach was just at the station entrance… saving us the walk on the platform. As scheduled we reached Salzburg on time.
We were to be in Salzburg only for a night. We had booked for our stay at Radisson Blu. From the Google map it appeared to be far from the station so we decided to take a taxi. To our surprise, the taxi driver suggested not to take a taxi as the hotel was just round the corner… a mere 10-minute walk. Good guy. We lugged our bags and were in the hotel lobby minutes later.
After checking in, we were back in the lobby in less than 60 minutes ready to explore Salzburg. The hotel location was about 2 kms away from Old Town. We took a taxi to be dropped to the other end of Old Town. That way, we could walk the entire town and then take a taxi back to our hotel. The taxi ride cost us Euro 7 one way.
We began our walking tour from Domplatz. The next 3 hours we were thoroughly engaged exploring Old Town. Narrow paved streets took us back in time. Some of the attractions include the Dom Cathedral, a Museum, Universitatsplatz, Getreidegasse, Mozart Birthplace, Salzach River and Mirabel Palace Gardens. Folks with more days on hand would also visit a few other places of interest including the Salzburg Castle and Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains.
The Salzburg Cathedral is a 17th century baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg, dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg. It is the site of Mozart's baptism. And the composer Anton Diabelli sang in the Salzburg Cathedral boys' choir in the late 1700s.
The Universitatsplatz or University Square is one of the most important squares in Salzburg. It was once the site of the garden of Petersfrauen. The garden became a square in the 1700s with the construction of the Old University Campus. Today, the square bustles with activity, thanks to its many restaurants and shops. You may want to buy the famous “Mozart Chocolates” out here.
The charm of the Getreidegasse, probably Salzburg's most famous shopping lane, is not only generated by the high, narrow houses tightly nestled together, the enticing shops and the wrought iron guild signs, but also to the romantic passageways and courtyards. Although the houses in the Getreidegasse appear to be very narrow they are not small, extending far back in depth on both sides of the street. In former times the space behind the row of houses was mainly used as a garden. Later the gardens gave way to workshops, storage buildings, stables and apartments for domestic servants. When the rear buildings were connected to the main buildings, the typical courtyards were formed. Typical of these houses are the windows which become smaller from the first floor upwards and their beautiful portals, such as the portal of No. 9, Mozart's Birthplace. People with deep pockets will certainly feel at home on this street.
A museum at Getreidegasse 9, The International Mozarteum Foundation first installed a museum in Mozart's Birthplace on June 15, 1880. It was systematically remodeled and enlarged over the decades and has become a cultural venue that draws thousands of visitors from around the world to Salzburg each year. Visitors are conducted through the original Mozart rooms containing historic instruments, documents, memorabilia and most of the portraits painted during his lifetime, including the unfinished oil painting "Mozart at the Piano" painted by Mozart's brother-in-law, Joseph Lange, in 1789. The famous exhibits include Mozart's child violin, his concert violin, his clavichord, the harpsichord, portraits and letters from the Mozart family.
Across the River Salzach are the famous Mirabell Gardens. The gardens were redesigned around 1690 under Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf von Thun to plans by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and completely remodeled around 1730 by Franz Anton Danreiter. The Pegasus Fountain, a work by Kaspar Gras from Innsbruck, was installed in 1913. The four groups of statues around the fountain were sculpted by Ottavio Mosto (1690) and symbolize the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water. The Mirabell Gardens were opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854.
On our way back from the gardens, we were delighted to see elegantly dressed men and women enjoying their champagne on the footpath adjoining the Landes Theatre. An opera was scheduled. Going to the opera, with your best dress in the wardrobe is done thing.
It was nearly 7PM. The hearty walk prepared us for dinner. That evening, we enjoyed our meals at Hana’s Rasoi. The restaurant is recommended to folks who would love to try Indian cuisine. After a filling dinner, we took a cab back to the hotel. A good night’s rest, after a long day, would prepare us for another one tomorrow… a drive to Innsbruck with a visit to Ice Caves.
Salzburg Image Gallery Photo viewer
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