Salzburg

Hotel Lasserhof was more generous with breakfast than with the dimensions of our bathroom. Unusually for hotels in my experience, it had a separate bathroom (shower and basin but no bath) and toilet. Both provided tests of agility if we attempted any activity beyond brushing our teeth. Undressing and dressing required both creativity in deciding where to attempt to position various body parts and flexibility to achieve those positions. Breakfast, on the other hand, included a selection of juices, cereals, yoghurts, breads, jams, cold meats, cheeses, eggs and bacon, topped off with tea or coffee. If any guest went hungry it could not have been for want of choice.

After breakfast and a final clean up, at about 9:00 am we headed out onto the streets to explore Salzburg. Majella was keen to head for the Alt Stadt (old town) but I was also interested in seeing if we could get up the Kapuzinerberg via a passage that I had noted in our search for dinner the previous evening. We set off across town by a different route than we had taken the night before, planning to see some more of the local streets and came out on Linzergasse above Sebastiankirche and the music store that Joel had noticed last night. The shop did not open on Sunday so he was restricted to window shopping but he managed to catch a photograph of the display of instruments. We wandered down the street, checking out the windows, until we came to the passage that was marked on our map as the start of the path up the hill. There was no gate or other impediment to access, so we decided to see how far up we could get, reasoning that it would be better to walk in the relative cool of the morning than later, in the full heat of the day.

We started our day in Salzburg with a walk to the Franzisken Schloss at the top of the Kapuzinerberg, a mountain adjacent to the city, so named for the Capuchin monastery that sits just above the entrance to the network of paths on the mountain.

The path led off steeply up the hill and, after about 100 metres, around a corner and on up around another corner. For the first few hundred metres steps ran alongside. We had gone some way up and around the first corner when I realised that the periodic small shelters with statues were actually the Stations of the Cross. Performing the ritual in this location would certainly add a sense of struggle. Beyond the crucifixion at the top of the third stretch we moved off to what appeared to be a lookout to the right. It provided a good view across the river to Salzburg castle on top of another mountain with the old city spread out before us.

There was also a sign indicating that we could walk to the Franziskischlössl which it claimed to be about 1.5 km distant. According to the map, the path seemed to follow round the ramparts and seemed likely to offer views along the way. Majella thought it looked a reasonable proposition and, being still well short of my regular morning exercise, I agreed. We took off down what was little better than a goat track with a sign we understood to warn against attempting it in winter or wet weather. As we set off down the track we noticed a woman sitting on the ground to our left, looking the worse for wear. As we passed the first of the little guard houses along the ramparts we saw her bed roll. Evidently she was living there and, as we found further along the track, was not alone in finding shelter in the various structures along the old fortification.

The track wound down and, mostly, up, with the wall and view over the city on our right and forest to the left. It was sometimes hard going and occasionally the track was largely overgrown with grass, berry bushes, and nettles. We kept on for what it seemed must be more than the advertised 1.5 km, resting as we needed, and eventually came out onto a sealed roadway. When it forked we took the right fork, thinking that was what the map suggested was the way to the top but found it led to a series of private houses perched on the hillside with commanding views of the surrounding area. We backtracked and took the other path which eventually led us to the top of the mountain (636 m) and Franziskischlössl which was now operating as a cafe. We had coffee, and Coke for Joel, there before making our way back down the mountain. This time we took the road and steps down the other side – a much easier journey. Near where we had started that section of the journey we paused to look at the monastery church and then headed down to the foot of the mountain, along the Steingasse that followed the base of the mountain below where we had walked, and across a bridge to the Alt Stadt, near the Salzburg Dom. By this time it was about 11:00 am.

The area around the Dom was busy with preparations for the European Cup final to be played that night in Vienna between Germany and Spain. A good part of old Salzburg, including the cathedral square was to be part of the Fan Zone, and Majella was keen to be part of the action. Joel seemed to share some of her enthusiasm but I was not fussed about standing in a large crowd to watch a game in which I had no real interest. We wandered on through the old city, looking at the shops that lined the narrow streets and their traditional signs. Those were elaborate constructions that hung out over the street. Joel was especially taken by the McDonalds sign which had their characteristic ‘M’ embedded in the centre of an otherwise traditional Salzburg design.

Majella was determined that we should enjoy some high culture so a visit to Mozart’s birth house was in order. We bought the combination ticket for the birth house and family home on the other side of the river. The birth house has been set up as a somewhat quirky museum celebrating the life and times of Mozart. All of the displays in the various rooms were informative but many were symbolic rather than directly representational. The last but one room on the main floor had a dark blue floor with lighted holes representing the night sky and on the ceiling a plaster relief of Salzburg as it was in the time of Mozart. The walls were decorated with images of the major churches of Salzburg hung upside down. The intent was to indicate how Mozart turned the world upside down through his unconventional genius. We spent an hour or so wandering through the various displays before heading back to the square to find lunch.

After lunch we headed back across the river to visit the museum display in what had been the Mozart family home. This comprised a more conventional series of displays supported by audio commentary on handheld players. Again we spent most of an hour looking at exhibits and listening to a combination of commentary and music by Mozart. By the time we finished with the museum it was close to 4:00 pm and we headed back to the hotel to rest up in preparation for the evening.

Around 6:30 pm we walked out again via the Mirabell Gardens and across the river to the old town. Majella headed directly to the Fan Zone to check out arrangements there but, because the game was not to begin until 8:00 pm, we decided to eat first. Joel had not developed a taste for Austrian food so we finished up in another Italian place where he had a pizza, Majella had a salad, and I had pasta. From there we wandered back to the Fan Zone where Majella and Joel went in to experience the atmosphere and I went for 30 minutes or so of peace by the river at sunset. We met up again outside the Fan Zone after they had had their little taste and headed back to the hotel, expecting to watch the game on television. We did but Joel and Majella did not last until the end and, though I was awake, I managed to see some of the celebration without knowing the result when Majella woke to ask.