Dated – September 2011
I reached Salzburg with my Oktoberfest aura and Obelix hat on! Dead tired and sleep deprived, Salzburg was supposed to be our day off to take a breather. I think we had sworn against waking up in the morning and rushing to see some new place. Our plan for Salzburg was to wake up when we can, eat to our heart’s content and then stroll. In that very particular order.
Salzburg is the city of Mozart and Sound of Music. So much so that there are Sound of Music tours, Sound of Music dinners and many other things which go by the movie name. We stayed at the Yoho International Youth Hostel and yet again, European hostels amazed us. 🙂 Super comfy rooms, a bar downstairs and a general buzz of happy travellers figuring out their next stop. We had just one day there and we were in no mood to rush. So, after a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast later, we picked up the city map and started walking.
Salzburg is pretty as a picture. Surrounded by green hills and with castles on top, Austrian Alps, beautiful gardens everywhere and a river that runs right through the city. The river bit is true for most European cities though. The city has a very comfy old age charm to it. No sky scrapers, no zipping cars. Infact, I don’t even think we saw people in business attires. Only touristy people walking around happily in the sunshine. Like us.
Yesterday’s beer and all the travelling had left us a little drained. So, our day was mostly spent sitting wherever we could, soaking up the sun and idly chit-chatting about nothing. We knew we were missing out on a lot of good things, but just for that day, all we wanted to do was relax. One of the first places we walked into was Mirabell Gardens. Beautifully landscaped and worth a sight! There is a fountain in the middle and four statues around it, which someone mentioned, symbolizes the four elements. When in Europe, all fountains are wishing fountains. Wishes might or might not come true, but thou shalt throw a cent or two with good faith. So did we. I don’t even remember what was it that we asked for. Maybe it did come true and I never really remembered that that’s what I had asked for that day.
From Mirabell Gardens, we walked towards the river Salzach. A gelato and some more idling later, walked to the Makart bridge. Hundreds of locks were latched in the wire mesh of the bridge – called love locks. People in love put their names on the lock and put it there. Its these small things which make you want to go back to these European cities again and again. After all, there is no joy in logic. Happiness always comes from these completely stupid things we do for no rhyme or reason.
Next was Mozartkugel. A round shaped chocolate which is still made manually by the confectionery Fürst and extremely famous among the locals as well as the travelers. The shop we went to was so warm and full of everything chocolate! Not just the Mozart balls, there were eye catching chocolate liqueurs, wines and whole lot of other drool worthy things. We picked many souvenirs from there for friends, but not many reached them. 😛 We did see Mozart’s birth place in passing. A bright yellow building tucked in a crowded street. Very ordinary looking, not that birth places of extraordinary people need to be extraordinary too. Lunch time was near and we were famished as usual. The only thing I remember about the food was the lip-smacking apple strudle!
Our last stop in Salzburg was the Hohensalzburg fortress. Up on a hill top, this place gives an amazing view of the city. We took the audio guide, but all we did was stare out of the windows and the rooftops. Dragged our feet a bit. There was a creepy torture room and a quirky museum, which woke us up a bit. The chastity belt had Robin’s attention. 😀
With that fortress, we were spent completely. So much for a breather! Walked back to the hostel and thanked our stars for the comfy bar in there. Like I said before, the good thing about travelling is always the people you meet. In Salzburg, we met Allison and Bao. Friends from Australia, travelling together on a really long Euro trip. All Allison was carrying was just one small backpack! We were very inclined to hide our massive bags. With some people, it takes all of five minutes to get comfy and chatting. These were the some people. 🙂 Spent quite a few fun hours with them (Bao spent a lot of quality time snoozing :)) and realized we would be crossing paths again in Rome. Same dates and the same hostel. 🙂
So, that’s how a day in Salzburg was spent. We boarded the overnight train to Venice. The bags were getting heavier by the day. The days were speeding by. We tucked ourselves in the sleeper bunks and chugged away to the city of canals.