Rebecca, VOX staffer, has been taking us along her family summer odyssey. Before landing in Munich, Germany, she wrote about a sneak-peek backstage at the Tony-winning Broadway hit “Hamilton” in New York City. Her first stop was in Washington, D.C. Now she takes us across a European border…
If you haven’t already guessed, our next stop on our odyssey was Salzburg, Austria, the city where Mozart grew up. The city is nestled in the middle of a valley in the Alps and is built in a two-level building structure. One part of the city is on top of the mountain surrounding the inner part, which is in the valley below. By the end of our walk around the inner city we were so tired, a walk up the mountain to the other part of Salzburg, where the large fortresses are, was a thought that made our legs exhausted.
At first, the city seemed small and quiet. There was not a lot of hustle and bustle in the streets like in Munich, so it was a little bit of a shock. In a way it felt like a very intimate neighborhood. All of my thoughts changed as we went deeper into the city, past the monastery and many bakeries. There, many people and tourists were sitting in cafes, taking pictures with their native sausages and pretzels, or taking a picture by the house where Mozart grew up.
Music was in the air as local bands set up stages for performing around the plazas. We discovered we were really hungry, so we bought some sausages at a stand to eat for lunch. I ordered the Currywurst, a grilled sausage sprinkled with curry, which is very popular in Austria. It was surprisingly delicious.
After taking a quick picture by the Mozart house — there was an extremely long line of tourists wanting to see the house — we crossed the pedestrian bridge over the river that borders the city. We sat on a bench and gazed at the beautiful city. If you look hard enough you can see the bouncing Mozart souvenirs, hanging in the shop windows. All was peaceful and quiet until my brothers had the brilliant idea of rolling around in the grass near the riverbank.
An incoming thunderstorm loomed over us. We ran across streets and past many houses to outrun the storm. We stopped in front of a huge house to catch our breath and realized it was actually a castle called the Schloss Mirabel, built in 1606. We entered the courtyard and saw the most beautiful garden. It had statues of unicorns and Pegasuses — and roses organized by color, along with different color flowers planted on in spirals and shapes.
My 5-year-old self marveled at the simple beauty of the garden. It sucks that you cannot photograph smell because it was unforgettable. The roses gave off such a scent that pleased all of your senses. It was better than any Bath and Body Works perfume you could buy.
Walking in the fairytale-like garden, we seemed to not notice how the rain had caught up to us. My parents and brothers sought shelter under a huge tree, while I sat on a bench in the garden with little drops of rain falling on my head, taking in the natural beauty of the flowers and the stone statues. The small shower soon ceased, and we started heading toward our car. We were exhausted from our day’s journey.
What I found funny and intriguing about Salzburg was that there was not a building in the whole city that did not have the word Mozart on it. The status and tourist industry is based off the great composer: Mozart souvenirs, Mozart music playing in shops, Mozart statues, and even museums dedicated to Mozart. Also, since we were in the Alps region where the musical “The Sound of Music” takes place, the only plays and puppet shows (since Saltsburg has a famous marionette theatre) was “The Sound of Music.” I’m sure the residents are very tired of hearing “Doe a deer” every time they go to the theatre, or maybe they really enjoy hearing just this musical.
With an unsure beginning and a beautiful ending, our trip to Salzburg was a success. As we drove back to Munich where our apartment was, I got so excited for the next city in our travels. It is considered one of the most romantic cities in the world that starts with a “p” (but it’s not Paris).