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Published: August 28th 2019
I enjoy a fabulous breakfast in this lovely, calm and luxurious B&B. The owners provide excellent service whilst being very laid back. I explain that I am here to explore Salzburg in just a few hours and they offer to lend me a bike. Although I enjoy cycling, I politely decline as I want to bob in and out of lots of places and having a bike would be a complication. I actually do know my way around Salzburg reasonably well unlike the other cities that I have visited on this trip. However I have never stayed here. I used to come here each week from Seefeld during the summer months, and always with a group of 30-50 people. So I am looking forward to a few hours here alone to do some exploring. Salzburg is the capital city of the State of Salzburg and is Austria’s fourth largest city. It is known for its Baroque architecture and is one of the best preserved cities north of the Alps with its 27 churches. It was listed in 1996 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was also the birthplace of Mozart.
The Villa Verdi B&B lies on Leopoldskronstrasse.
This leads to the Schloss Leopoldskron which was used in the Sound of Music film. Like many contemporaries I loved and still love this film (going to watch it again when I get home). Most of it was shot in and around Salzburg. Schloss Leopoldskron was used for the lakeside terrace scenes. It was a rococo castle on Leopoldskroner Teich, a small artificial lake on the southwest of Salzburg, but is now a hotel. The gazebo, used for Sixteen Going On Seventeen
used to stand in the grounds of Schloss Leopoldskron but constant trespassing resulted in it being moved and reconstructed in the ornamental gardens of Schloss Hellbrunn, towards the south of Salzburg.
The walk into Salzburg is lovely - along a path through a wide meadow with great views of the imposing fortress, Hohensalzburg. This overlooks the Old Town and is one of the largest castles in Europe. This path brings me into the city by way of Nonnberg, and i very quickly am at Nonnberg Abbey - another film location. It was there that Maria was a novice. I am now in the historic centre of the city, and as it is so compact, I
manage to see a large number of the main sights (although not all 27 churches!). I do see the Salzburg Cathedral, the Nonnberg Abbey, the Franciscan Church, Kajetanerkirche and St Peter’s Abbey and Cemetery. Aside from churches I visit the Mirabell Palace with its wide gardens and fountain (on the other side of the lovely river Salzach), Mozart’s House, Residenzplatz (square) and fountain, Mozartplatz, the Felsenreitschule (Rock Riding School), the Salzburg Glockenspiel, the Domquartier (Cathedral Quarter) and the bustling Getreidegasse with its upmarket shops (and some souvenir shops, selling the well-known chocolate Mozartskugeln (Mozart balls).
After all this I need a coffee, and anyway I am meeting Gabi, our local guide in Salzburg. We have arranged to meet for a quick coffee and chat in a cafe in Mozartplatz. She has a tour all day today so I know she won’t have much time. Nonetheless, it is useful to touch base with her. She has done a walking tour of Salzburg this morning, and later after lunch, she is taking her group to Kehlsteinhaus (the Eagle’s Nest). This is the only remnant of Hitelr’s Bergho retreat. Sadly, on this occasion I don’t have time to visit the
Eagles’ Nest. I went there years ago with my parents when they were visiting me one summer in Seefeld.
Many of the places I have seen today also figure in the Sound of Music: the music festival, at which the von Trapp family perform their disappearing act was filmed at the Rock Riding School, a 140-seat theatre built into what was a rock quarry for Archbishop John Ernst von Thun and used as his riding school. Now it is one of the sites of the Salzburg Festival. Several scenes are acted in Residenzplatz and fountain. Although a Hollywood studio set is used for the scene in which the von Trapps hide from the Nazis, it is clearly based on St Peter’s Graveyard. The Mirabell Gardens is where the children hop on a flight of stairs in the final part of Do-Re-Mi
. They dance past the Horse Bath during My Favourite Things.
This trip has reminded me several times of my first visit to Salzburg, when I came here with Reni and her lovely Mum, Edeltraut, who I always thought of as my second Mum. Most of my friends will know that she died suddenly
and tragically earlier this year. I had a big lump in my throat when I saw many of these iconic sites, as they reminded me of that very first trip, when she really did show me not just Salzburg but a huge amount of Austria. The most vivid memories are from Mirabell Gardens, where Reni, myself and her two brothers are all lined up in front of the Pegasus fountain, and from the Winkler Terrace. This is now the Museum of Modern Art. I know it better as the location for the photo of me with the pink gingham dress which is still on display in Mum’s lounge!!!!
Needless to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed my
few hours in Salzburg. I should love to return to this area sometime, perhaps staying a little bit out of the city, and doing lots of walking and cycling. But now it is time to head to Axams in the Tirol to visit another good friend, Sue. I catch the 15.56 train from Salzburg to Innsbruck, and hop onto the bus outside Innsbruck station that takes me up towards Axams. Sue is cooking supper and she has also invited
Marilyn, who lives in a nearby village. So it is lovely to be met off the bus by Marilyn and her husband, Pepe, and to be whisked up to Sue’s lovely house in Axams. We have a wonderful evening - eating and drinking on Sue’s terrace which has the most incredible views over the Inn Valley and back up the other side towards Seefeld.
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