While still in Munich during last year’s April vacances with my parents, we made a day trip over to Salzburg, a well-known city in Austria famous for two things: the birthplace of the musical wunderkind Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the location of The Sound of Music (as I’m writing this, the opening scene of the lush Alps with Julie Andrews singing her heart out enters my mind). Although it would be a country’s hop away from where we were, it was manageable for at least a one-day visit.
That said, we got up bright and early to catch the 7h15 train over to Salzburg. It would be close to a two-hour ride and interestingly enough, we had to get off at one of the in-between stops to walk over to a different train compartment: apparently, trains can *literally* split off into two directions at a conjunction, with one going one way and the other going another. I’d never experienced anything like this before, which was mind-boggling, but all the same, we transferred over to a different part of the train, bound for Budapest (with Salzburg being a stop along the way). It was a good thing that one of the passengers on board told us (we’d heard the announcement on the train, but it was in German, and we didn’t know the language), or else we would have accidentally gone to Bologna, Italy!
In any case, we arrived in Salzburg around 9h00, and from the train station headed over to the Mirabell Palace, a 17th-century palace whose history is unfortunately overshadowed by the fact that it was one of the filming locations of The Sound of Music (again, the endless loop of “Do-Re-Mi” plays in my head). While the palace was not very large, the small garden surrounding it was home to a few brightly-color tulips who weren’t awake it, looking more so like multi-colored banana peppers. I found them very cute!
Next, we passed by Mozart’s Residence, a home-turned-museum in which the eponymous composer had grown up in. We’d opted not to pay for it, instead choosing to cross the bridge over the Inn river and making our way to Mozart’s Birthplace, where I decided to pay for the visit- considering that I’d grown up listening to and playing some of his pieces on the piano and violin, it was very appropriate that I paid tribute to the king of classical music by visiting his humble abode. It was a small museum, housing some original manuscripts of Mozart’s opuses, furniture, and other relics from back then. All proved quite interesting, even though I probably spent no more than one hour inside.
We wandered around the historic city center, which was mainly a cluster of narrow streets, visiting a couple of churches before popping into a place for lunch not too far from Mozart’s Birthplace; the restaurant-cafe itself was quite fancy, with old, antique seats and a lovely view outside of the historic center below (it was on the second floor). The food itself was sub-par, but cheaply so: I got sausage and mashed potatoes, and for dessert shared with my family what is known as the “Salzburger nockerl,” which is essentially a soufflé local to the city itself, topped with powdered sugar and raspberry sauce on the side. From the images that I’d seen outside of the restaurant, I’d assumed it was some kind of bread, but instead it turned out to be super light and airy, with the taste of *slightly-cooked* eggs from the whipped meringue that it was made out of. I’m personally not a huge fan of meringue or soufflé dishes, but I was glad to have tried out a distinctive local dish.
We spent the rest of our time in Salzburg at the Hofhensalzburg Castle, situated on one of the highest hills in town and is considered one of the largest, best-preserved castles in Europe. While there probably was a way to get there by public transportation, we opted to hike up from the bottom of the city center: it went well until the final stretch up to the entrance of the castle, which was probably one of the steepest inclines I’ve done, to the point that my knees were aching like crazy, along with my calves! Even my parents, who are avid travelers, were struggling to get to the top.
Eventually, we made it to the entrance, though, and paid the admission fee to enter and explore the castle. Although much of the rooms and chambers inside were bare and empty, the atmosphere definitely recalled back to the Middle Ages when the castle itself was first built: cold, dark, and echoing.
There was also a vantage point at the top of the castle from which we could get excellent views of the lush, green Austrian landscape, along with the Alps in the background. It was probably the highlight of the visit, as I kept shuttering photo after photo of the same place, trying to capture the beauty of it all. Alas, photos don’t always do justice to the reality of things, but the closer, the better!
Around 15h00, we left the castle, descending the steep slope to check out a few more churches before heading over to the train station to take the train back to Munich. We left around 16h00, arriving back at the Hauptbahnhof around 18h30. We got some sandwiches at the station as dinner before returning to our hotel to eat and rest up for the remainder of the day. We were tired, but happy with the day well-spent.
Overall, Salzburg turned out to be pleasant, if not somewhat underwhelming visit. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find that there was a lot to do there. Granted, it’s a small city, and I suppose sometimes it’s good to have an easygoing day trip, rather than constantly having to rush from place to place elsewhere. Salzburg was definitely easygoing, and now I can say that I’ve been there!
More adventures from Munich to come- next up: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany!