Following the Ghost of Mozart
Wednesday, July 28th, 2004: Salzburg, Austria
Prague to Salzburg: 399 kilometres
We seem to be following the ghost of Mozart: First in Prague, where he debuted many of his works and now onto Salzburg where he was born. Legend has it that Mozart didn’t like Salzburg that much but we find a storybook town just as Julie Andrews and the cast of the Sound of Music had left it: picturesque, clean and surrounded by those famous mountains. And with all the buzz and excitement of the Salzburg Festival, which has just opened. We are in the mountains, so the weather is crisp but sunny. Our drive has taken much longer than we expected today because of intense traffic and road construction. We telephone our B&B host Martin and low and behold, he is expecting us tomorrow! We wander around the town for an hour, to allow him to scramble for our arrival and we drop our bags off and walk into town for some dinner and a glimpse of the town as the sun is setting. Martin lives very close to the river and we have a tree canopied walk to and from the town center, only 10 minutes away.
“Schnitzel with noodles and crisp apple strudel”
We wander around the squares and across the Salzach River, which is quite high, singing the many and various songs from the Sound of Music, trying to pick out the different locales from the movie in the gathering dusk. No one takes any notice of us as we sing. The locals must be quite used to this. The over-whelming abundance of Sound of Music tours, expeditions and other outings make a lot of money for the town. There is even a Sound of Music dinner theatre that performs year round. They will cater to your corporate function, business meeting or what have you. They add carols for their Christmas show. In the summer, they have a “cocktail show” at 5:15. The menu? “Schnitzel with noodles and crisp apple strudel”. Even I am horrified at this prospect.
Shopkeepers and Tired Waiters Closing Up for the Night
There is a lot of music scheduled for the Festival and we consider purchasing tickets for one of the performances. But this will all have to wait until tomorrow when we can get a better look at the town in the daylight. We wander the labyrinth of the old town practically alone, shopkeepers and tired waiters closing up for the night and the odd group of kids hooting it up on a Wednesday night. This seems to be a town of music and, strangely enough, plastic surgeons. For every reference to Mozart or music there is a surgeon’s sign hanging from a Baroque building, advertising their expertise.
We traverse the river over the Mozart pedestrian bridge, heading for home and as we round the corner the moon, almost in its full glory, peeks out from behind the clouds just behind the fantastic Festung Hohensalzburg, the castle, high on the hill above town.