Salzburg, the City of Mozart
August 12, 2014
We left our Fussen accommodations and boarded an 8 a.m. train for Salzburg. After a short stop in Munich, we arrived around noon in Austria’s fourth largest city of 150,000 residents. Right outside the train station, we conveniently jumped on a bus, which took us within walking distance of our lodging.
After we checked in, we were off to explore the city of Mozart and the “Sound of Music”. We began by walking over one of the several bridges that crossed the brown rushing waters of the Salzach River. The city was filled with excitement and music. It was the height of the Salzburg Music Festival, which ran from late July to the end of August.
Dan led us on a tour through Old Town Salzburg, which included a climb to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The fortress, which sat atop Monchsberg Mountain, was built in 1077 and was the largest, fully preserved fortress in central Europe. It served as a fortification, a military barracks, prison and temporary residence of the prince archbishops for many years. Now the fortress is open to the public year round and serves as an impressive setting for concerts and city events.
We started our journey to the fortress by riding the Monchsberg lift (elevator) 1700 feet straight up through mountain rock. When the doors opened at the top, the panoramic view of the city was magnificent. We hiked along paved wooded paths that passed by an abbey, villas, and green meadows dotted with farmhouses. Medieval city walls, dating back to1470 escorted us to Hohensalzburg Fortress.
The fortress courtyard was huge and served as the main square for some 1,000 medieval residents. It was where they set up shop and sold their goods making the fortress a self-sufficient community. We walked around the grounds and explored the fortress chapel. Our most memorable experience was our climb up the Reck watchtower to the highest point of the fortress. From this vantage point, on one side we could see a magnificent view of the Alps and on the other side a great panoramic view of Salzburg.
When our fortress tour was over, instead of hiking back to the city we rode down on the funicular (cable) railway. We reached Old Town and walked by several Salzburg Music Festival venues. We saw everything from performing artists on street corners to concerts shown on large open-air screens. In Residence Square, we spotted several horse carriages where beautiful stallions standing all in a row waited to show off their charming city. After admiring them, Kevin treated us to a horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic city center. It was a great way to end our busy day.