Oliver has been asking to visit Salzburg since the day he found out Mozart was born there, so a couple weeks ago we decided to plan a trip! We stayed in Salzburg for five days, and lucked out with a pretty great airbnb apartment that was near the train station and just a short walk from the Mirabell Gardens. The weather was chilly and wet, but we really loved our visit to this beautiful, musical city. Enjoy our post – Elora and Oliver are helping narrate the trip. They add a lot of fun details that I would have forgotten.
We made the trip with one backpack for each person, meaning with the cold weather forecast we each wore a sweater or sweatshirt and a coat, hats, scarves, and warm shoes, and then brought only the bare essentials for the week. The first day was so beautiful and warm that I ended up trying to tie sweatshirts and coats around the kids’ waists, but mostly I carried a lot of jackets. I hoped that the weather forecast would just be wrong the rest of the week too.
We spent our first day wandering about. We walked up the big mountain near our apartment, the Kapuzinerberg, and loved exploring the forest there and also seeing a monument to Mozart at the top of the hill. There used to be a little wooden house where Mozart wrote “The Magic Flute”, but the house was later moved and this monument was placed there instead. I think Elora would have lived in the forest the whole trip if we would have let her. She even found a nice hollow log to live in.
The kids loved the “locker bridge” as they dubbed it and even though it was usually farther to cross the river on this bridge than the main bridge, we always walked over to this pedestrian bridge so the kids could enjoy looking at all the locks. The kids told me they were looking for Salazar Slytherin’s locket from Harry Potter. It became a fun game and we enjoyed finding all the different kinds of locks people put on there. My favorite was the fish lock pictured above. It may have been the kids’ favorite part of the trip. Maybe next time we come to Salzburg we will have to lock a family lock on the bridge.
We found the house that Joseph Mohr, who wrote the words to “Silent Night”, was born, found some cool fountains where the kids played “The Catcher Game” – an interesting form of tag they created, picked flowers, explored cool rock walls and fortifications all over the hills, and just took it all in that first day!
We spent some time in St. Peter’s cemetary, which is just beautiful. The kids had a fun time making funny faces in every single photo we tried to take. Must have been late in the day! We went inside the catacombs which are built right into the mountain. There are carved stone tunnels and caves, many of which were made by water and later enlarged. There are chapels in the caves, one of which was dedicated in 1178. We also saw the burial place of Nannerl Mozart, Wolfgang Mozart’s sister. This was one of my favorite places we visited. Michael Haydn’s grave was also there. Oliver thought that was neat because we saw a performance of the Vienna Boy’s Choir that featured music by Michael Haydn.
The next day we went to the Festung Hohensalzburg fortress on the hill. It is a whole lot of walking and stairs to get to the top, but look how amazing these fortress walls are! Construction began in 1077 (I still can’t wrap my head around historical buildings this old that are still standing) and was added onto over the years through the 1600s. The fortress was never taken by force, although it was surrendered to French troops during the Napoleonic wars.
The fortress was so fun for all of us. It is huge – like a whole town inside of big stone walls. We loved walking through all the big gates and passageways and there were beautiful views of the city.
We toured parts of the castle which was really neat. On one part of the tour, Marion looked out a tiny window and saw a beautiful bird that looked like a hawk. This was her favorite part of the tour and she stayed there a long time. We also saw a cool old bull organ that was used to wake everyone up in the morning and to tell them when it was time to sleep. It has over 200 pipes and was originally built in 1502. There were also lots of cannons and cool courtyards that made me want to live in a fortress.
As part of the tour we got to go to the top of a really high watchtower. Oliver and James had epic battles at the top and Elora listened to the audio guide which told her lots of stories about the legends of the neighboring mountains. Marion is scared of heights, but for some reason, she was so excited to be on a watchtower that she forgot to be afraid until the last picture 🙂
There was a little marionette museum which was very cool and it had a skeleton in it to represent the ghost of the Archbishop who was thrown in prison and held captive until he died. Legends say his spirit still lives in the fortress. He made people mad by arguing over the price of salt from the nearby salt mines. We got to see the prison and torture rooms on a tour, but he probably held in a nicer room near the prince’s quarters. As part of our trip we purchased awesome swords and halberds for the kids. I think Chris would have bought many more toy weapons if I was not there to be the voice of reason. We took the funicular train down the mountain, which was really fun! Then there was a small museum about the funicular train which opened in 1892 as a water balance funicular. There was a lot of information about the water sources in the mountain that was interesting. There was also a love grotto with a natural spring where legend says if you kiss in the love grotto your love will be everlasting. Oliver says Mom and Dad’s love is already everlasting, but better safe than sorry 🙂 (Oliver wants me to type smiley faces).
My friend told me we had to go to Cafe Fürst to try the original Mozart Kugeln candy. They were delicious. Oliver and Elora really like the gold wrapped Mirabell brand, which is fine with me because they are way cheaper. More super expensive, but amazing kugeln for me. The adventures will continue in another post, as we have tons of pictures of our super Salzburg adventure!