Europe 2012: Day 80, Salzburg


Bouncing Mozarts!
(Salzburg, Austria)

Saturday, 8/25/12

Woke at 9am.   It is raining, but I am not complaining!

We were back at our favorite breakfast spot, the coffee shop at the mall.   I have my coffee and nut roll.  My DH is smug with his super healthy nectarines.  Here we plan our day.   Yesterday we indulged in my love of the movie “The Sound of Music”, today we will indulge in my DH’s love of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  If there is anything to be said or learned about Mozart, Salzburg is the place to say it and learn it.

My favorite table at the coffee shop in the mall across the street.

I don’t think that there is a person alive who has not heard at least one Mozart tune (even if you think you haven’t, I bet you have).  Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era.  He showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood.  At the age of five, he was already competent on keyboard and violin and performed before European royalty.   Much of Mozart’s success can be traced back to the guidance of his father who paid enough attention to him to recognize his extraordinary talent.   Leopold would say “Mozart, go practice your violin!” instead of “Mozart, go milk the cows!” — no one becomes famous from milking cows, you know.    And Mozart is famous!

One of many stores in Salzburg that sell nothing but Mozart Balls (a chocolate candy with an marzipan center).

Shameless merchandising!
(But my DH loves these things!)

Our first stop was Mozart’s Residence, not that far from our hotel.  Mozart’s Residence was reconstructed after being destroyed during World War II and was opened to the public in 1996.  The website states, “the biographies of the family members and the authentic impressions of everyday family life fill the house to this day with their spirit and allow visitors to experience Mozart anew.”   And it does!  Sorry, no pictures were allowed in the museum.   Just as well, hand-written letters don’t show off well in photos anyway.

Mozart’s Residence (Salzburg, Austria)

Next stop is Mozart’s Birthplace, just across the river over the crowded bridge.   This house in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on the January 27, 1756 is now one of the most frequently visited museums in the world.  You guessed it, no pictures were allowed in this museum either.   Just as well, hand-written letters and empty rooms do not make interesting pictures.  But we liked the museum anyway and learned a lot about how the Mozart family lived during the time of Austrian royalty.   After all, playing for the king was the best job in town at the time.

Mozart’s Birthplace (Salzburg, Austria)

The crowd in front of Mozart’s Birthplace. (Salzburg, Austria)

After Mozart’s Birthplace, we decide to wander around to check out what is happening at the music festival.  I don’t know if I mentioned this but, the  Salzburg Music Festival (yes, the same festival mentioned in “The Sound of Music” where the Trapp Family Singers performed before fleeing to Switzerland)  was in full force during our visit here in Salzburg.   Tickets to all the main events were sold out months ago so we take advantage of anything free — like the movies in the Central Plaza.  On our way to the Central Plaza, we bump into our Canadian friends! We last saw them three days ago in St. Japok’s Church in Rothenburg.  They have been to two other cities along the Romantic Road since.   They tell us of their problems with the BMW rental car, their problems with the GPS system, and a mixup in a hotel reservations.   However, they are still in good spirits and claim to have taken over 3000 pictures since their arrival in Germany less than a week ago.   By this time, I figure I have taken 2000 pictures in just under eleven weeks — I feel so inadequate.

Today the movie in the Central Plaza is the Italian Operatic version of “Cinderella”.   I don’t understand a word of it but the screen is huge, the sound is good, and the neon costumes are fabulous!    My DH gets bored with the show and decides to take off on his own for a while.

The performance theater in front of the Salzburg Cathedral.

Free movie of the italian opera “Cinderella”. (Salzburg, Austria)

My DH meets me back at the plaza an hour later, just as it starts to rain.   Since we were close by, we decide to stop at the St. Peters Archabbey and take some pictures:

St. Peters Archabbey. (Salzburg, Austria)]

The altar in the St. Peters Archabbey. (Salzburg, Austria)

The organ in the St. Peters Archabbey. (Salzburg, Austria)

The ceiling in the St. Peters Archabbey. (Salzburg, Austria)

The wonderful arches and paintings of the St. Peters Archabbey in Salzburg, Austria.

Around 6pm, we head back to the hotel to check email before our Mozart Dinner Concert at 8pm.

Mozart Dinner Concert at Stiftskeller is one of many dinner concert offering in Salzburg.  This one was rated pretty high on TripAdvisor but all seem to suffer from the same problem — poor food and too many tourist talking and taking pictures during the performance.   But let me ask you — what is a tourist supposed to do at these events?   Think about it, you saved all year to take a fabulous vacation in an expensive locale — do you not take pictures to remember the moment?    Well, I didn’t.  Even though the dining room is gorgeous,  the lighting is pretty poor and I believe it is rude to flash a camera in the eyes of the performers — who were very good by the way.  Click on the links to see better pictures than I could ever take.  Here is what the flyer said about the program:

  • MUSIC PROGRAMME:  Singers and strings of the “Amadeus Consort Salzburg” perform arias and duettos from “Don Giovanni“, “Le Nozze di Figaro“ and “The Magic Flute“ as well as instrumental works like the serenade “A little night music“. You will enjoy a lively and scenic performance. The Dinner is served during concert breaks.
  • THE BAROQUE HALL — is a part of Stiftskeller St. Peter, first mentioned in 803 and famous for being the oldest restaurant in Europe. In 1789 at St. Peter church Mozart’s c-minor mass was first performed. Moreover the Mozart family used to dine at St. Peter. In 1783 “Nannerl” Mozart (Wolfgang’s sister) wrote in her diary: “…had lunch at St. Peter…made music”.
  • THE DINNER is carefully prepared according to recipes of the 18th century. We serve white Cream Soup with rosemary-quark-dumpling, Breast of roasted capon on top of portwineglace with potato-pumpkin dumpling, semolina strudel and vegetables (sometimes from Pater Prior´s garden). The dessert is a Semi-frozen parfait of honey.

We were seated at a table with two other couples.   One couple was from Brazil (they must have been on their honeymoon because they were very lovely-dovey if you catch my drift).   The other couple were from the Ukraine and were traveling with a friend from London.  The gentleman from London and my DH hit it off — he was a child psychologist and they immediately got into a discussion of self-help books.      Unfortunately, the Londoner started asking questions about the American elections and we answered them.  This led to a discussion of American foreign policy, which led to a brief lecture from our Ukrainian friend on how bad President Bush was.   Fortunately, the music started and other international incident was avoided.  The evening ended on a happy note!

When we left the concert, it was raining.   We caught a cab and were back at the hotel around midnight.   It was a nice day of all things Mozart!   We have two more days here and it seems like we have already done it all — oh, but there is more…

Quote for the day:   “Don’t talk politics, okay?” — Anna to DH

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