when my mom bought plane tickets to come visit and i was brainstorming of a great place to go with the three of us, it didn’t take long to think: SALZBURG! a city whose beauty rivals that of paris? palaces, fortresses, and gardens against the backdrop of the alps? yes, yes yes! this is the kind of place that i thought would be perfect right after the holidays. and it only takes three and a half hours to get to from budejovice. 3.5 HRS. people, this is blowing my mind that i can get to somewhere this cool in such a short amount of time. oh, europe!
it’s incredible how the landscape changes from the south bohemian fields and forests, to the lower austrian mostly flat landscapes to that of the salzkammergut with striking mountains rising up from the sides of picturesque blue lakes.
i didn’t expect to love salzburg. but the way it was dressed up for christmas…. and the unexpected mountainous landscape…. the riverside promenades and fun cobblestoney lanes…. it won me over. i thought it would be like mini-paris, but even more touristy. which it kind of was, but that didn’t bother me at all. it’s quite a fascinating city when you consider the history… from the avoidance of the plague in the 14th century (due to ahead-of-its-time street sanitation practices) to the decisive ruling by the prince archbishops of the hapsburg empire, it’s fortress that scared away would-be invaders (besides napoleon, but not much harm was done), and of course– the real life story of the von trapp family from the sound of music.
they say you need to take a “sound of music” tour when in salzburg. and whoever they are is right. even if you are only a mild fan of the movie (alex has never seen it!), the tour was extremely enjoyable. the company picked us up at our lovely hotel and took us around salzburg before cruising to the lake district not so far to the east. in mondsee, we snacked on topfenstrudel with coffee and peeked inside the mondsee church, where maria and the captain were married (in the movie, in real life they were married in salzburg proper). mondsee (moon lake) was a glorious sight to behold on a sunny but foggy december afternoon.
in front of the famous gazebo from “sixteen going on seventeen”
mondsee church, where maria & the captain where married in the film
salzburg makes such a fantastic holiday getaway. the amount of christmas trees, wreaths, lights, and decor still up two days after christmas was just right with me.
on the first night we climbed the monchberg hill to the fortress and were granted cheap entry as the museums and fortress would close in one hour. i totally recommend the walk up and down opposed to riding the festungsbahn (which is fine, but the ride takes literally thirty-seconds) because of all the photo opportunities that present themselves on the way.
the salzburgdom (cathedral) was incredible, and i don’t say this about a lot of cathedrals and churches. they don’t call salzburg “the rome of the north” for nothing! the city was actually ruled for awhile by the cousin of the famed italian medici family, which explains a lot of the art and architecture style that has been so influenced by the italian renaissance. to see the dome and the frescoes (constructed in milan) alone are worth a visit.
the food scene is most excellent: ate as much seafood as possible and mom tried a lot of traditional austrian food (which is actually really great!) like bauernschmaus (way too meaty for me, but it’s epic and looks good in a photo, below) and kase’knockerl (read: cheese, meat, dumpling). the local stiegl bier is delicious, especially the dunkel variety! i ate a mozart ball (chocolate) in the mozart geburthaus (birthplace) which is conveniently located on getridegasse, a famous shopping street. and now i feel a strong need to re-watch both amadeus and of course, the sound of music to see all of the filming locations that i visited.