Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trip to Salzburg

When we knew we were coming to Europe, and especially southern Germany, I immediately put Salzburg on our list of places to visit and there was nothing that was going to change my mind.  Like many of the 300,000 tourists yearly, I also wanted to go because of the Sound of Music.  Most come for the film, but I wanted to go because that was actually the home of the real von Trapp family.  That's not all that Salzburg has to offer, and it's a remarkably beautiful city.  We caught a quick glimpse as we passed through on our train home from Vienna a month ago and were instantly struck by the Alpine views.  It's also the birthplace and home of Mozart, so it's often called, The City of Music.

As you can see from the map above, Salzburg is right on the border with Germany.  It's a little over an hour train ride from Munich, and took us almost four hours by train from Stuttgart.  It sits right at the northern edge of the Austrian Alps.

Although, we don't get the American holidays over here, it just so happened that Pentecost fell this weekend, which would give us Monday off anyway.  That made it the perfect three day weekend to visit Salzburg.  We arrived around 1PM, dropped off our bags at the hotel, and headed out to explore the city.  The one thing that I didn't like about Salzburg compared to the other places we've traveled, is that they only have bus transit.  It's much slower than train travel, and much harder to stand while holding a stroller still. 

The bus dropped us off  downtown and we first grabbed some ice cream.  There's a big joke that if it's sunny out, the Germans (or in this case Austrians) have ice cream.  Even when it's cold out, if the sun is shining, they've got ice cream (even in their winter coats).  We decided to follow suit since it was a pretty warm day.  Along the Salzach River, there were tents set up, so we decided to take a stroll and look around.  It was similar to what you'd see at a craft fair, etc., so we had fun looking at all the stalls.  There were many things we'd love to have, but the question always arose, "How would we get that home?"  We did end up getting Brady a really great wooden sword and shield.  The wooden toys are amazing here, but usually pretty pricey, so it was a steal to get both for only 21 Euros.  At the end of the tents, I turned around and took a shot back at the city.  You can see in the picture above the beautiful city with the fortress sitting up high.

The Salzburger Dom (or Salzburg Cathedral in English) from the side.  It's a 17th century baroque cathedral and was the site of Mozart's baptism.  Salzburg was an independent church state until 1811.  It contains hundreds of Catholic churches and only one Protestant church.

The Salzburger Dom from the front.

We walked inside to take a peek and guess who we ran into?  The Reese family!  It was not entire coincidence.  They had been in Vienna the days before and we both knew we'd be in Salzburg at the same time.  We were in the process of texting back and forth to figure out where the others were, when we just happened to run into them.  Salzburg's not a huge city, with a population of only 150,000.  As you can see, both Sam and Brady were happy to see each other again.  Brady kept asking where the baby was the day after they left our house.

A look inside the Salzburger Dom.

One of the main attractions in Salzburg is the Hohensalzburg Fortress.  We took an incline up (how very Pittsburgher of us).  I'll have to take Brady on the incline when we get home.

A view of the city from the walls of the fortress.

A family shot above Salzburg.  Getting the whole family in one shot is a great perk of traveling with friends.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress, is considered a castle and happens to be one of the largest medieval castles in the world.  Since Salzburg was an independent church state, it was created for the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg.  Initial construction began all the way back in 1077.  Entrance to the fortress included several attractions, starting with the marionette museum (below).

Brady and Ainsley as part of the von Trapp family.

I don't think this one could have turned out any better ;)

Sound of Music marionettes.

Tom had some marionettes at home, so he was able to operate the one they had out with ease.  Both Brady and Ainsley got a kick out of it.

Next up was the fortress tour.  It included an audio guide, and they had a special narrative for kids, so Brady walked around listening to what it had to say.

Inside the torture chamber.

Gorgeous Alpine views.

A look down into the fortress walls from the very top.

Brady with Salzburg in the background.

The Reese family checking out the view.

Scale model of the fortress.

Like two peas in a pod.

The guys decided to stay outside with the kids (minus Sam who was asleep in the carrier on Bethany's back), while Bethany and I scoped out the private chambers of the prince-archbishops

The details in this room were just incredible.  The amount of gold reminded you that the Catholic church is never hurting for funds.

A gorgeous stove.

When we came out, we found the guys watching the kids climb an old cemented stack of canonballs.

After the fortress, we decided to scope out the souvenir shops and the boys all waited outside.

Buddies ;)  It would be so great if they make it back to Michigan as well, since all the kids have a great time together.

Ainsley testing her skills as a photographer.  She did pretty well since her subjects aren't the easiest to get looking in the same direction.

Bethany and I on the lock bridge.

Mozart's residence.

Mozart's birthplace.

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