Our trip took us from one end of Austria to the other and back. Salzburg is kind of in the middle and where we headed from Vienna after the ball/not waltz. I have no idea why I was so stuck on going to Salzburg; I knew nothing about it. (Side note: Thank you, Rosemary, for the Fodor’s. I read aloud from it more days than not!) It does not matter why, I guess, just that we went and it was incredible.
After a 3-hour drive from Vienna, we could not wait to walk around. And Salzburg is just perfect for that. There are two distinct parts of the city on both sides of the river, with wonderful alleys and passages and plazas to wander and discover. After about three hours and a fabulous late lunch, we went back to the hotel to rest for dinner–and woke up the next morning. We both slept for 12+ hours. Now, granted, we had stayed at the ball/not waltz the night before until after 1 AM, but still.
Part of the blissful sleep was the beds–so incredibly comfortable with the loveliest sheets and of course made in the European way with two puffs! The Hotel Auerspergis perfect; I would highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip that includes Salzburg. The breakfast buffet was just heavenly, and not just because there was a bottle of rosé on the side board!
Like Germany, Austria shuts down on Sunday. Most stores, except for the super touristy ones, are closed. So we wandered, considered the Museum of Modern Art, stumbled upon St. Peter’s Cemetery, and eventually decided to visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress.You can get there one of two ways–walk, or take the funicular. We opted for the ride up with a walk down.
I couldn’t decide if I was in a Monty Python movie or in Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings. In Monty Python’s favor, there was this: During a siege in 1525, the city was on the verge of running out of food, with only one ox remaining in the fortress. The town commander paraded that ox around the parapets to the enemy below, to prove that the people were not suffering from lack of food. During the night, the ox was washed, then painted black. After the ox was walked around the parapets again, the enemy was convinced that the townspeople would be able to survive a long time, and so they withdrew. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a lot of bull.
Wellness is a big deal in Austria (see “skinning”), despite the fact that everyone smokes. On the top floor of the hotel, there was a spa, with a sauna, steam and lounge. On the riser of the final step, the word SILENCE was written in beautiful lettering. The lounge was warm, with lovely chaises, blankets folded at the foot of each. There was water with lemon, bowls of fruit, magazines. There wasn’t anyone there to tell you what to do or how to behave. It was understood that you were there to relax and did not need to be instructed how.
Salzburg is all about the music after all, so we ended our amazing day with a concert at the Mirabell Palace and one of the weirdest things I have ever witnessed. I mean, I guess it wasn’t the WEIRDEST thing, but it has stayed with me. The young man who was serving as the MC, introducing the pianist and the program, had the oddest…not sure if it was OCD, a habit, a tic, but he was tracing something on his lips, over and over again. With his right hand he used his index finger; with his left it was index finger and thumb. He would switch from his right hand to his left by raising his left hand, then tap his palm with the right index finger and use the left hand to continue tracing. He primarily used his right hand. And he did this nearly continuously for the entire performance.
I could not stop watching. I wondered what he was writing. Was it a name? Was it the same words over and over? All I know is, there is a short story in there somewhere (if not an entire novel)!
I appreciate your reading; thank you so much for sharing this with me! Up next, a wonderful meeting in Vienna.