Roadtrip in Austria (part 1): New year’s in Salzburg

[Here is a map of all the locations we visited in this trip. ]

Salzburg is a classy city in west Austria, extremely close to the border with Germany and Munich, with a view of the Eastern Alps. If the word ‘Salz’ rings a bell, you guessed correctly. Today we will talk about the ‘Fortress of Salt’, which is famous in the public as the birthplace of the musical genius himself, Mozart. His birth-house as well as his residency are still preserved and serve as museums.

The upper part of the sky is dominated by the castle Hohensalzburg, the city is a fortress after all. If you are lazy walking all the way up, there is a cable rail to accommodate you, although I recommend mustering the courage and hike the few meters to the top. You can see the castle from anywhere in the old city or even enjoy the view from the other side of the river.

Ah, what a river, Salzach, a floating road that promoted the salt trade which brought glory to this city. Among the bridges that connect the two parts of the city, there is one dedicated to Mozart and one with handrails covered with love lockets (Makarsteg).

The New Year’s celebrations took place in the central square, the Residenz. Even though we were prepared for no show, since the locals informed us that the city decided against fireworks this year for environmental reasons, in the end there were some. Locals were shooting their own fireworks from the riverbanks or terraces. When the clock stroke midnight, a city-organized firework display lit up the sky. Some people where enjoying Gluhwein in the cold, while others started dancing Walz.

Similarly to all respectable cities, apart from a river, Salzburg also has a cathedral, the Dom zu Salzburg. Horse carriages are abundant around the Dom. On you way to the University and the old city, one can see the Siegmundstunnel (the strong guy from Norse mythology) opening the way through a steep block of rock that seems like it appeared out of thin air. If you like horses, Marstallschwemme with a fountain with a horse statue and a handful of horse murals, is the place to be. On the way to the music halls, there is an adorable staircase with a snake made of stone wrapped around it.

Did you notice a giant golden globe (3g lol – silly joke) on the picture above and wonder what it is? It is an art installation by Stephan Balkenhol [info] consisting of two parts; ‘Sphaera’, with a man standing on the giant golden globe in the center of the square, and ‘Woman in the Rock’, tiny and hidden in a wall. The works try to generate emotions and promote expression through their contrasting form.

If at any point you get hungry while wandering about, fear not! There are stalls here and there offering brezen (or pretzel) and sausages, with a variety of flavors. If you care more classy, you can always opt for ‘Mozart’ chocolates.

Next on the route is Schloss Mirabell (Mirabell palace). It was built by an archbishop as a loving nest for him and his mistress. It was also here, where king Otto of Greece was born in the 19th century. The palace has gardens, a greenhouse and a concert hall in the upper floor.

Overall, Salzburg is a great city to be lazy in. While the rococo and baroque old buildings are admirable, the city has a lot to offer in terms of style

Bored of the city? A dozen of lakes are surrounding Salzburg from all side. While there, try to visit some of them e.g. Mondsee, Fuschl, Wolfgangsee, Attersee, Traunsee. This time, we stopped at Mondsee and Wolfgangsee.

On my next post, I will guide you around Korea’s favorite Austrian lake; Hallstatt and its lake of the same name. Cheers!

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