While we are currently in Argentina, I can’t give the shaft to Salzburg by not sharing our experience in Mozart’s birthplace.
From country to city to town, we are always asking “Would we come back?” Salzburg is a resounding yes. Not only is the city our “perfect population” — 150,000 — it delivers on quaint feel with modern amenities. Visiting in January takes nerve. Perhaps it’s easy to join a Sound of Music tour the day of, but you’ll miss basking in the sun on wide stretches of green grass that meet up with the mountains surrounding Salzburg. There is a picnic lunch and a good book in my future, perhaps during the shoulder season.
We spent a brief four nights in a wonderfully eclectic apartment built into the stone mountain on Lindergasse. Of course, the refrigerator froze our food and a mildew problem was in full effect due to a burst pipe, but that is the life with Airbnb.
There’s much made of the American obsession with The Sound of Music…people will tell you haughtily that Austrians have never heard of the Von Trapp Family. Judging by the multiple two story tour buses with Julie Andrews blown up mug, I believe that time has passed. The kids and I cozied up one night to watch the movie and imagine my glee when they actually enjoyed it.
We did the tour with Panorama the next day and while entertaining, it makes for a long day. I recommend only doing it with a dozen obsessed, slightly inebriated fans who will unabashedly sing all of the songs as you drive. Our group was a bit reserved, whispering the songs quietly.
The Rick Steve’s walking tour was an easy way to explore the city. Rumor was of a thick snow and it eluded us so we could enjoy exploring the city on foot. The homage to Mozart is everywhere, understandably. There are numerous free concerts throughout the city, even in winter, but the creme de la creme is the summer Salzburg Festival, which is quite the opposite of free.
We of course partook in the local foods, both sweet and savory Tylorean style. Mozart Balls (yes) were on sale everywhere for obliging tourists…chocolate and pistachio truffles. We visited a few würstleständes for sausage sandwiches that we ate while shivering in the cold. Our best discovery was a date night evening in a cozy bar with simply the best cocktails we’d had in many months, small bites and great conversation with the other clientele. I complimented a gentleman on his scarf (clearly a replica of the U.S. flag) and he shared that he recently became engaged to a Californian and the scarf was a gift from his daughter.
There’s so much in Salzburg we didn’t do….Mozart’s house, the salt mines, the Hohensalzburg Fortress. All the more reason to go back!