Jan 30, 2016

Salzburg, do not look so much inward

The rail bridge over Salzach river in Salzburg,
banks of which are perfect for cycling and running.

A view from Salzburg from the castle.

Located on the Western part of Austria, close to Bavaria of Germany, the picturesque Salzburg is surrounded by mountains and two low hills Kapuzinerberg and Monchsberg. It has a charming old town that is a UNESCO site. Although heavily damaged during the Second World War one can see many buildings have been renovated yet still baring dates from middle ages. As a city-state, Salzburg joined the Austro-Hungarian empire, only 200 years ago. It seems to have changed hands and was annexed by Germany during the World War. 

Views from the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg.

Salz is the German word for salt and it not only gave its name to the city but also to the river running through it, Salzach. Austrians call salt "the white gold" as it, other minerals and water energy seem to have contributed to the wealth of the city and the region for centuries. Fairly easy to get around on foot, one can still take a mini tour which includes the Hellbrunn Palace outside the city. When you cross to the other side of Salzach you can visit the amazing cathedral (Fransizkaner Kirche) and go up to the castle which allows you to see the city as well as the surrounding region. Once up there, you can take a walk to the Modern Museum or reach it via a finucular system. 

The building where Mozart was born is yellow,
the color of Kaiser's, Salzburg.

A view from the Von Karajan's house with his stick
in the hand, Salzburg.

Salzburg was ruled for a long time by arch bishops who happened to be good diplomats avoiding war and thriving on trade and music. The city indeed is the birth place for many musicians, most famous of which are Mozart and the famous conductor Herbert Von KarajanThe birth and later houses of Mozart are clearly marked and the latter is today also a museum. A few hundred metres away from the Karajan house is an interactive sculpture of Marina Abramovic who dedicated her work to Mozart's spirit. At this site, you should sit down on the chair; close your eyes; look inwards and lose track of time, as instructed. And if you wish to enjoy cafe and cake where Mozart and Karajan did, head to Cafe Tomaselli close to the cathedral in the old market. It is the oldest Austrian cafe and it shows! Right acrosss it, is Cafe Fürst the founder of the Mozart Kugeln (famous chocolates). Another good option for café is at the Mozart Museum. The ingredients of these cakes are so excellent, they fill you without being heavy or burning your stomach. Salzburg is also famous for Restaurant Ikarus a Michelin starred restaurant but hard to book. So we had a wonderful meal at Alter Fuchs in the old city. Just enjoy your Schnitzel with Riesling! 

View from Cafe Konditorei Fürst, Salzburg.

The cake lady (Kuchendame) at Café Tomaselli
must be paid separately for the cakes.

Salzburg is a pretty two day get away destination on your way to Hallstatt in the summer or to Zell am See if you are into skiing. Despite all this wealth and music though, there is something dark here or maybe generally in Central Europe. Maybe it is the pessimism emanating from Peter Handke quotes at the Modern Art Museum or it is the weather. Or maybe it is me, having spent eight of my teen years in an Austrian high school damaged my relationship with Austria. Still, at a time when there are sixty million refugees worldwide, an unprecedented number, you have a town so inward looking, its three star hotel reception closes at 6 PM! Austria should wake up to the miserable reality the world is living in and start sharing its wealth with people who risk so much only to start a new life. Indeed, there is so much room in this 200.000 people town. And apparently jobs too, to keep receptions open day and night.                    

Stolpersteine dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust,
after Germany they are also in Austria. 

A view from Zell am See, Austria.
Quotes from Handke on glass doors: "Some couples never get together"
and "only romantics achieve anyhting".