Well we were only in Salzburg for about of a total of 52hrs (including sleep time) but we fit in as much as we could in that time. Currently sitting on the train to Seefeld where we will be having a lovely 4 nights over Christmas. Out the window is mountain peak after mountain peak, some with snow and the sun is setting (although it is only 4.30pm) leaving streaks of pink amongst the clouds.
On Saturday morning, we caught a 7am train out of Budapest. It was a 5hr journey to Salzburg and the train was packed. Lucky we had reservations because some without were standing for a long part of the trip. After arriving in Salzburg, it was a 400m walk to our accommodation, another family run Pension who have been in business since 1898. We chose it because of it's proximity to the station and also the cost. Similar accommodation's in the city centre were double the price. It was only about a 10-15min walk to the old town and once we activated our Salzburg Card we were able to get a bus back and forth anyway. What a deal that card was. We bought a 48hr pass for 31euros and it gave us free public transport plus entry fee to all these different attractions in the city. Definitely worth the money if ever in the city.
After dropping our gear off in our room we walked into the city and stopped at the markets to get some lunch. One of the most popular stands was one selling chicken nuggets, wings and chips, fries or wedges. Had to join the queue, funnily enough the box the food was served in had McCains on it. We visited the Panorama Museum which houses a panorama painted of Salzburg back in 1829. It had a 3D feeling to it and mum couldn't look at it for long as she felt she was falling. There was also a display of other cities the painter had visited and it was cool when I recognised over half of them as places I had been in the world.
We then decided to visit the Dom Museum & Residenz, a little unsure of what it was but it was included in our card so we thought why not. It was one of those places every time you turned a corner there was something different and every time you thought you were finished, there was something else to see. The museum had lots of items related to the church obviously and lots of paintings too. You also got to go into where the organ was and get a birds eye view of the chuch in front of you. The museum led into the Residenz where Prince Archbishops lived over the years. The rooms weren't as fancy as ones we have seen previously so we went through them with a quick trot, also aware of closing time. Didn't want to get locked in. We did get to go out onto a terrace which gave a great view over the markets, which were packed. Saturday night before Christmas, this was the place to be. Just before we got back to the lockers a security guard was coming around to lock up.
We braved the markets for a little bit but not much new from what we had seen previously. What we did see was the Christ Child come out and wave to the crowd (a pretty young lady dressed up in gold, with 4 other young girls). They spoke in German, waved, blew some kisses and left so not really sure what it meant. Still stuffed from our late lunch we headed home early and had a quiet night in.
Sunday morning I slept in for the first time. I haven't been sleeping the best and even Saturday night tossed and turned. I finally fell into a deep sleep around 5am so even thought mum was awake at 7am she let me sleep, not waking till 9.15am. By the time we had breakfast and got ready it was close to 11am. On exiting, mum said I didn't see those mountains yesterday. I said it was because they weren't covered in snow yesterday. There was a good dump of snow overnight up higher. We decided to catch the bus out of town and get the cable car up Untersberg Mountain. It was about a 25min bus ride there and the cable car took about 15min to climb up to the top which is about 1800m above sea level. The snow was so fresh and powdery. Got to throw a few snowballs. We met a young family on the bus also from Sydney and their mum had shoes on with not the best grip so couldn't go very far from the entrance. We offered for the young boys to walk a little further with us and I encouraged them to throw snowballs at mum. Was a great 45mins up there, even better it was included in our card. Hoping this is what we may get over Christmas.
Caught the cable car back down and back on the bus to Schloss Hellbrunn where we had been told were the best markets in the area. It was built as a Prince Archbishop to show off his importance. They also have a garden full of trick fountains but unfortunately closed due to being winter. We found a while ago the fountains are all shut down and covered during winter because they can't put anti freeze in the water to stop it freezing. The palace was also closed but the markets were lovely. Decorated Christmas trees everywhere, other decorations around, not as crowded and a lovely choice of items. We bought quite a few items here. Probably the most at any market we have been too. Our extra bag is now full!!!
Had some lunch, a local hot dog and a baked potato with sour cream, chives and salmon. Something a little different but pretty good. They also had a good kids area where they could bake some gingerbread, pony rides, etc. Glad we made it here although the wallet did take a battering, got some nice gifts here.
Back into the city and we headed to the funicular up to the Fortress - Festung Hohensalzburg. It's a 900year old fortress built on a cliff top high above Salzburg. Had some great views of the city. It was initially built in 1077 but was expanded over the years to become what it is today. Another one of those places we were unsure of what was here but we just started wandering and we found a museum, State rooms, Marionette theatre, and the inner rooms. Luckily on Advent weekends it is open later so we were able to fit it all in. Took some photos of the city all lit up, hoping they are OK.
It was then time to actually have a sit down dinner instead of one on the go. Unsure of where the restaurants were, we walked until we came across the first one - Pizza and Pasta Kitchen. It wasn't too bad, it was nice to get off our feet and just relax. After dinner we went for a little walk down an area we hadn't been previously and then crossed the river across one of those bridges that has become full of padlocks of people declaring their love.
This morning was time to do the cheesy, but all important Sound of Music tour. It was something we were always going to do. I can remember watching the movie as a child, usually on a Friday night. This tour has been going for over 40years and today, a Monday just before Christmas they had 2 full bus loads of tourists still wanting to do it. We drove past the Nonnberg Abbey (my only disappointment is that we didn't have time to walk up to the gates ourselves in the time we had in Salzburg). We headed to Schloss Leopoldskron which is where the lake scenes were filmed. As our guide said to those on the tour that had been dragged onto it, she hoped they came away with an appreciation of how the film was made. For example, the lake scene was shot at 2 different houses over 3 miles apart. Any scenes looking towards the lake were filmed here, any scenes looking at the back of the house from the lake was filmed at the other location. We drove by the house that was used as the Von Trapp estate but unable to get out. At Schloss Hellbrunn (yes, where we were yesterday) is the Gazebo that was used for the film (exterior shot anyway). We did see it yesterday. All interior shots were filmed in Hollywood (except for the church).
We then had a 1hr drive towards Mondsee, through the Lake District which was beautiful. The sun was again out today which made it rather glary. On the way, the meadow was pointed out where the opening scenes were shot (not within walking distance of the Abbey as per the movie). At Mondsee is the church that was used for the wedding of Maria and the Captain. No churches in Salzburg would allow them to film inside (even though there is 42 Catholic churches). We are going to have to watch the movie again to put it all together with what we saw today.
Back to Salzburg and we finished at Mirabell Gardens where the Do-Re-Me scene was filmed with the fountain and steps and alley lined with trees. The only down side of today's tour, is most of the people did not get into the spirit of things and sing along to the soundtrack that was played in the bus.
We spent our last hour in Salzburg having a quick visit through two of Mozart's houses. The one where he was born and the one the family moved to when he was about 18. Like most people back then, he really didn't make his fortune until after his death. Apparently the symbolic painting of him in a red coat and white wig is now worth about 5 billion - not the painting itself but the image. Crazy.
And that was our stay in Salzburg. We always knew we didn't have enough time here but we did what we could in the time we had.