After an amazing stay in Vienna I was quite prepared to not be amazed by any other city I visited because I thought I literally had seen the ‘best of the best’.
But oh! I was so wrong and in for a very pleasant surprise.
I reached Salzburg around 10.30 am in the morning. From Vienna the city is just 2 hours away and hence the journey with the wonderful landscape all around passes by in a blink.
Once I was in Salzburg station, I referred to the pre-loaded directions to my hostel which happened to be just a 7 minute walk. With a 25 kg backpack its always nice to have the shortest distance possible to cover.
Once at the hostel- A&O Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, I was told that there were still few hours to go before I would be allotted my room and since I was staying in Salzburg only for one night, I decided not to waste any time and thus to store my luggage and to head out to explore the city.
The lady at the reception helped me with the city map and guided me on how to best explore the city. Since Salzburg is a very small city, one can cover a lot of the city on foot itself. Since I had the whole day to myself, I decided to walk it out.
10 minutes into the walk and I knew I had made the right decision. What an amazing, scenic, clean city Salzburg was. I was walking by the Salzach river and was thoroughly enjoying the view and many times found myself sitting on benches looking at small families, couples, friends or a single person and their dog playing and enjoying on the banks of the river. The sky was bluest of the blue and so was the river water. It was a pleasure being here at this moment and I couldn’t have been happier.
I must have walked for around 20 minutes when I came across the ‘locks bridge’. The name of this bridge is because it is believed that if you wish for something on the bridge and put a lock on the railing then your dreams will come true. Thus, you will find many locks on this bridge, a proof of how long this legend has been believed for.
The river also divides the city in two parts- Old and New Salzburg. I was till now walking in the old town, but with the crossing of the locks bridge, I had now stepped into the new part of the town. This part of the town is where you will find- Mozarts birthplace, Hohensalzburg Castle, Mozart-Wohnhaus, Salzburg Cathedral, shopping streets etc.
I started walking towards the busy lanes and came across multiple shops with clothes, mementos, restaurants etc.
At once I saw a lot of people gathered looking at a building and clicking pictures. I came in view of what they were looking, and saw a yellow house. Immediately I recognised it as Mozarts birthplace and though I didn’t venture in, but in case you are keen to explore the home a bit more, the tickets can be bought the entry for a tour of the house which had now got converted into a museum.
I decided to get something to eat as I was starving by now and had a picture in my mind; of the kind of place I wanted to eat in. Since it was chilly, I wanted to sit out in the sun and munch on a wholesome meal. No sandwiches or breads today please.
Shortly I found just the exact place hidden in a corner. Lucky for me they have a lunch menu which had a starter, main course and even a dessert at a decent price. I ordered for the same and sat back to take in the surroundings. So calm and peaceful.
Soon my quinoa with veggies was served along with braised chicken leg and I attacked it like a monster. It was so yummm…Am salivating just writing about it.
I spent some time catching up on my mails and messages after my lunch was over and then decided to start walking towards the palace to check the place out.
The crowd seemed to be so relaxed in the streets and everyone seemed to be in no rush to be anywhere and, so I followed the pace and took my time looking around.
Soon I saw a signage saying tickets and I assumed it was the counter to get the tickets for the Hohensalzburg palace. It was only after I had bought my tickets that I realised that this was for the tour of the festival halls also called Grosses Festspielhaus. This place was originally the princely stables but was later converted to host operas. As soon as you enter the door once can find beautiful paintings on the wall. These paintings were saved by the students of art at the time of war and later reinstated and reworked back into the building.
There are in all 3 stages with different seating capacities and each stage has held several opera performances over the years. The massiveness of these halls and stages can leave one in awe. The best part about these tours is that it is an exclusive group preview and hence the whole 2000 plus seater hall is all to ourselves.
We even got to see the backstage for the last hall. The amount of work which a production house needs to go through can be glimpsed at when spending time in the backstage. Kudos to the team which held carnivals every year in this location.
After the visit which lasted for over an hour, I found myself standing outside on the street which showed directions of the palace to the left. I started walking towards that direction and soon found myself standing near the cable way which was one of the two ways to get up to the palace grounds. The other way was to walk it up, which I really wouldn’t have minded except that I was running out of time as the palace museum would shut off in the next hour.
I thus bought myself tickets to the palace which by the way is actually quite on a height and from there went straight to the line where the tour would start from. This tour like Schonbrunn Palace was a self-guided audio tour and one had to just walk around and press the number to get a description of that particular place. The best part of this tour was the visit to the top of the Palace which gave a 360 degree view of the whole city. The view is to die for…Looked like a painting. I must have clicked like some zillion pictures, but the true beauty only got captured through my eyes and I tucked it in my fav memories folder for my old age.
The other parts of the tour covered torcher area for captives, reigns of various kings, Granary, golden chamber, cistern etc. Since the time for the tour is restricted one must be quick and move along with the group.
The tour came to an end after 45 minutes post which I headed out to take in another view of the city from this height. It was already almost 4 in the evening and I still had a lot to see and do. After a quick walk around the fort, I headed down the slopes to the main city where I wanted to see the Salzburg Cathedral. The cathedral was very beautiful and held some amazing pieces of art and sculptures. I took a quick 15 min tour around the cathedral and then decided to have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. This is my favourite thing to do when travelling. Sitting by a nice café preferably out in the open and sipping my coffee with cake.
I had read about Café Tomaselli and decided to head there. Thankfully they had an open sitting area as well and I went and found myself a table. I had a nice quiet time and enjoyed my high tea(read coffee) while contemplating what I wanted to do next.
Seeing the city map, I realised that the Mirabell Gardens was on my way back to the hostel and so it would be perfect to stop and explore the famous Sound of Music Park. The famous movie was shot right in this park and there are several tour companies which get groups of people to this tourist spot.
Looking at the map, I found my way to the Mirabell Gardens and had a nice long walk around trying to recollect which scene of the movie was shot and where. I did manage to hear some bits of an ongoing tour and got more clarity on the fuzzy recollections of a movie I had seen almost 2 decades back.
It was almost getting dark by this time and I was getting hungry. I started walking towards my hostel and stopped enroute for an early dinner.
My plan was to sleep earlier than usual as I had a morning train to Munich where I would be attending the world famous Oktoberfest. I was super excited about the same and I knew I would be exhausting all my energies roaming around the whole of next day and thus wanted to get as much rest as possible before.
That’s all about this fab, cute, dainty, scenic town called Salzburg. Keep reading on to know about my fantastic experiences in Munich.