So after a morning of more excitement than I had bargained for, by 8.30 am I was safely ensconced in my bus to Salzburg, made some friends & even managed to put on a smile. Whew!!
The journey was about 5.5 hrs long & I alternated between reliving events of that morning, reading, snoozing or gazing idly at the passing Czech/Austrian countryside.
By 1.25 pm, exactly on schedule, the bus pulled into Salzburg giving first glimpses of what I’d like to term as a ‘Boutique City’.
Here’s a little brief about the city to begin with.
The town is located on the site of the former Roman settlement of Iuvavum. Salzburg was founded as an episcopal see in 696 and became a seat of the archbishop in 798. Its main sources of income were salt extraction and trade and, at times, gold mining. The fortress of Hohensalzburg, one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe, dates from the 11th century. In the 17th century, Salzburg became a centre of the Counter-Reformation, where monasteries and numerous Baroque churches were built.
Salzburg’s historic centre is thus renowned for its Baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps, with 27 churches. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The city has three universities and a large population of students. Tourists also visit Salzburg to tour the historic centre and the scenic Alpine surroundings. Salzburg was the birthplace of the 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Because of its history, culture, and attractions, Salzburg has been labeled Austria’s “most inspiring city”.
The bus deposited me somewhere near the Salzach river which basically divides the city in two halves. Activating googlemaps on my phone I tried to find my way to the YOHO International Youth Hostel but the directions being in German failed me. A shopkeeper was only able to offer limited help & guided me across the river pointing me in the rough direction in which I should travel. Ok, Dogom Dogo (Step By Step)!
That’s when I stumbled on to the Makartsteg bridge, more popularly known as the ‘Love Locks Bridge’. The bridge fence had thousands of padlocks locked to it by couples to symbolise & immortalise their love & as a good omen.
So winding my way through neatly manicured gardens, flowering trees & magnificent buildings I finally found the hostel I was booked in. As always, check-in took just a few minutes, I was briefly explained the hostel policies, given my locker access card & guided in the direction of my dorm room.
After claiming my bed & dumping my big rucksack in the room I was quickly out on the street. Hunger pangs!! By now I had grabbed a local map from the hostel reception & coupled with old & rusted but still doable navigational skills I felt much better prepared to take on the unfamiliar territory.
The city streets were beautiful, almost like doll sets!
Here’s some more Salzburg trivia that I picked up somewhere on a display window.
Map in hand, I found my way to my first point of interest, the erstwhile residence of Mozart.
From 1773 to 1787, the Mozarts lived at the so-called “Dance Master’s House”, standing on today’s Makartplatz. The spacious eight-room apartment on the first floor is now home to a museum.
This is different from Mozart’s birthplace across the river which I was to visit subsequently.
I wandered down to the river & got a great view of what lay beyond.
It was a much needed sunny European afternoon & people were out making full use of the warmth, enjoying the idyllic, gradual pace of life at Salzburg.
The bridge was bustling with people & looked fascinating with the thousands of locks tied to it’s rails.
I soon found myself on the other side of the river at Mozart’s birthplace. The area was teeming with tourists, quite unlike Mozart’s later residence which boasted of only a few curious visitors.
Mozart’s Geburtshaus was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at No. 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria. The Mozart family resided on the third floor from 1747 to 1773. Mozart himself was born here on 27 January 1756. He was the seventh child of Leopold Mozart, who was a musician of the Salzburg Royal Chamber.
Now a museum, Mozart’s birthplace introduces visitors to the early life of the composer, his first musical instruments, his friends, and his passionate interest in opera. The third floor exhibits Mozart’s childhood violin as well as portraits, documents, and early editions of his music, and the second floor is devoted to Mozart’s interest in opera and includes the clavichord on which he composed The Magic Flute. The structure is owned by the Mozart Foundation.
I now decided to walk along the river to take in the surroundings & was rewarded with some pretty sights.
A bakery shop had an interesting display.
With this I ambled back to my hostel for a cup of tea at the community kitchen, freshening up & getting dressed (a tad more appropriately ;)) for the upcoming evening concert at the Mirabell Palace. Yess 🙂
I had managed to grab this ticket at the last moment on Viator for a pricey sum but every paisa of it turned out to be a paisa well spent!
But first a little about the palace itself.
Mirabell Palace (German: Schloss Mirabell) is a historic building in the city of Salzburg, Austria. The palace with its gardens is a listed cultural heritage monument and part of the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I was there ahead of schedule. With wonder in my eyes I slowly ascended the stairs of the palace.
The Marble Hall was situated on the first floor of the palace.
The Marble Hall of Mirabell Palace is the venue of the “Salzburg Palace Concerts” (German: Salzburger Schlosskonzerte), directed by Luz Leskowitz. It is also a popular location for weddings.
The hall soon filled up, the artists arrived, took a bow, were introduced & the concert began. It turned out to be the one of the best 1.5 hrs of music that I’ve ever heard! I was spellbounded, enthralled, if these are the correct adjectives to describe the feeling! The passion, vigour & absolute cohesion with which the group played left everyone wanting more.
Use of cameras was not allowed once the concert began. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a little keepsake video (ok others were shooting too!).
Time passed shortly & the concert ended to a standing ovation & many encores. Now truly satisfied at the events of Day 1 in Salzburg I exited the palace, grabbed a quick dinner & walked back to my hostel. Tomorrow promised to be an even more exciting day 🙂