Today, it occurred to me that I’ve grown accustomed to small glasses in France and that large volumes of liquid aren’t necessary because the bread is fresh and the meat isn’t overcooked, so you aren’t washing it down. I ordered a 0.5L sparkling apple juice (they add sparkling water to juice here and in Germany) and I couldn’t finish it!
Since Festung Hohensalzburg was the top-rated attraction in the city, I headed up first thing in the morning. Of course, this is where Google Maps failed me again! I put in the address for the funicular to the top . . . and it took me to the TOP of it, meaning I climbed up that hill on the left to reach the fortress!
Of course, I had some gorgeous views on the 15-20 minute hike up, so I didn’t mind so much.
Once you reach the top, there’s a lot of outdoor space that you can wander around to see the views and just a few random things to see, like the remnants of an old fireplace. Note: You need a ticket to access this space also.
Most of the tour shows little about how the fortress would have once looked and it’s virtually empty – it’s more about having you walk all over while it tells you about the history of the city and stages of building the fortress. From what I understood, Salzburg was an independent area until 1263, when Bavaria conferred protection. Upon the King’s death, Austria was controlled by the Habsburgs, but Salzburg didn’t break away from Bavaria until 1328. In 1481, Salzburg was officially granted free city status. The city was able to maintain this status in part due to the wealth from salt. Salt? Yes, salt, which was the primary way to preserve food before refrigeration. The fortress was able to withstand attack and the salt provided ample dried food, so the fortress never fell by force.
You can even see the remnants of the old city walls still on the adjacent hill across the river.
There were many things to see in the museums that are in another building on the grounds, but I personally found the tiny discussion of Roman ruins most interesting. The fortress was built on top of an original Roman settlement and there is brief mention of this history and the ongoing work to discover what was left behind.
It was then time for a little Mozart! I had picked his birthplace as my one “Mozart” option, so after taking the funicular down, I walked to his birthplace nearby. This is when I learned that the Salzburg Pass works as a ticket in some places, so I was allowed to skip the ticket line and enter right away. The house takes about an hour and includes a lot of information on his parents, sister, wife and children. It’s pretty comprehensive and I enjoyed it – it’s well worth a visit if you want to learn more about Mozart. I took this photo of him as a young prodigy before I realized photos weren’t allowed. They even have things, like a lock of his hair!
Contrary to popular belief, Mozart’s family wasn’t poor and would have been more middle class. The house had several rooms, including a living room, kitchen, bedroom, etc. This is representative of what there living room would have been like. It’s a screen shot from their app, which is quite useful because you can use it when the wall is too crowded to read (and for languages other than German and English, which are the only two languages used).
To wrap up my Mozart time, I went into the Salzburger Dom to see the organ from around 1700 that Mozart used to play.
It was a really lovely Cathedral though and had everything – ornate carving, paintings, pipes and the twilight sky blue was perfect.
Between Mozart’s house and the Cathedral, I stopped in at the Salzburg Museum since I had time. It proved that what people like is based on personal preference because this was my favorite of the historical museums (out of it, DomQuartier and Festung). The history felt disjointed for me before, but this really laid it out from early-on to before it joined Austria. 1800-1803 France; 1803-1805 Habsbergs; 1805-1809 Austria (not sure how this differs from Habsburgs?); 1809-1810 France; 1810-1816 Bavaria and then permanently part of Austria since 1816.
I left my phone in the pocket of my coat by accident, so no photos of the museum, but it was really well done and interactive! There was a theme to each floor, from the history of the city to old folktales and myths about Salzburg vs. reality. Another area explored the historical appeal of the city throughout the ages with paintings and various other depictions, then discussed the pros and cons of the changing tourism scene in Salzburg (basically, they’d like to increase tourism outside of the Salzburg Festival, but limit negative side effects). There was also an area with old musical instruments and recordings you could listen to of how they’d sound. I think it’s one that kids would actually enjoy even. It was attached to the panorama museum, which is really just an old panorama painting of the city (really cool to see) and a few small paintings from the same era, when people would paint a city and travel with it so others could see parts of the world they’d never be able to visit!
I ended my day by walking the shopping area, which Austrians also appear to visit in the evenings (although they could have all been tourists honestly). I mistakenly crossed the bridge to where the bus had dropped me off on a one-way street and had to turn around, but what a view from that mistake!