Sometimes, spontaneous decisions lead to the best experiences, as I found out when I decided to visit Salzburg on a whim last summer. After a cold night’s rain, a brilliant summer day was dawning over Munich’s rooftops. The leaves were polished and shining and when I looked out the window everything seemed to whisper to me: come out, this is the ideal day for a trip. On the spur of the moment, I decided to take the train to Salzburg which I hadn’t visited in a long time. Salzburg and a crisp summer day are just too enticing to be missed.
An hour later I was at Munich’s Hauptbahnhof (train station) and soon after boarded the EC to Salzburg. The trip takes less than two hours and leads one through the wonderful countryside of the Priengau, passing by the Chiemsee, historical Traunstein, and other towns which would be well worth a stop, but not on this occasion.
It’s an open border between Germany and Austria which means nobody comes and looks at your passport. You don’t even notice that you are in another country except for the switch of server on your cell phone.
Salzburg’s Hauptbahnhof is undergoing major construction which will last for some time and is, therefore, a bit tedious to negotiate. Just follow the small signs which point you in the direction of the city center. From there you can’t go wrong; it’s a straight run towards the Salzach River with her many bridges that take you across into the historical part of Salzburg.
On the right is the entrance to one of the most beautiful places in Salzburg, the Mirabell Garten. It’s one of the most famous baroque gardens in Europe, reshaped by Franz Anton Danreiter. The park features artful paths, fountains, statues, and balustrades. And the park famously made an appearance in the movie, The Sound of Music, where Fräulein Maria and the Trapp children slid down a balustrade.
As I entered the gardens, I was pleasantly surprised: a wedding was in full swing. Who doesn’t adore seeing a happy couple in their great outfits, surrounded by their joyful guests in the most perfect setting imaginable. And the crowning glory; all participants were emersed in brilliant sunshine while a horse drawn carriage was waiting to whiz the couple away. I silently sent them my best wishes.
Somehow the wedding had put me into a festive spirit too. As I strolled the streets of Salzburg and again approached the Salzach River, the Hotel Sacher caught my eye. I just couldn’t resist a stop at the legendary hotel. I took a seat in the café and sampled a Sacher Torte with Einspänner (coffee with milk). You can either sit outside on the terrace facing the river or, as I did, inside, because I just love the traditional atmosphere. It seems that time has stood still since Salzburg’s poets, journalists, writers and other celebrities stopped by on a daily basis to see and be seen. It is all documented by the ‘Wall of Fame’ with its many signed photographs, lending a further touch of glamour to this place.
Salzburg and Mozart go hand in hand, so I visited the composer’s birth house and the place were he lived in his early years, both small museums today with period furniture and many memorabilia. Listen closely and you may hear the strains of Die Zauberflöte (the magic flute) if only in your imagination. And you can’t possibly leave Salzburg without buying a box of Mozartkugeln (Mozart Bon bons). I never did find out why the candies are named for Mozart, but I can assure you they are delicious and a delightful way to finish a memorable day.
Written by Inka Piegsa-Quischotte for EuropeUpClose.com