Expat Magazine

Excursion to Salzburg

By Ellen @ElleninTurkey
I've been to Munich several times, but somehow it escaped my attention that Salzburg is little more than a stone's throw away.  I was thinking of taking the train there, but Phil offered to drive me and spend the day.
The drive through the mountains really did make me want to get out of the car and sing "the hills are alive with the sound of music", but I refrained.  The drive took about an hour and a half.  A little tip:  Austria charges an outrageous fee for use of their autobahns.  If you're only going to Salzburg you can avoid this by using side streets.  If you speak German, ask at any gas station; if not, bring a map.
Another tip:  Salzburg is one of the few European cities I've been to in which the train station is not near the town center ( or at least the old center, where you want to be).  Phil used his GPS to find the station, thinking it would be a good place to park, but then we had to take a bus to the Altstadt.  It wasn't far, but the modern part of the city didn't look too appealing.  We went directly to Getreidegasse, the main shopping street.

Excursion to Salzburg

Getreidegasse, Salzburg

There were many cute shops on this street, including one devoted exclusively to Easter eggs.

Excursion to Salzburg

Easter eggs on Getrieidegasse

Excursion to Salzburg

McDonald's golden arches, as I'd never seen them before

Of course, being the center of the old city and the most beautiful part of town, there had to be a McDonalds there.  At least the sign blended in with the rococo style:

Excursion to Salzburg

The house where Mozart was born

As musicians, Phil and I naturally had to go to Mozart's Geburtshouse  (the house of his birth).  It's pretty ordinary looking, but comfortably large inside. It's nice to see the little genius was raised in decent digs.  Now a museum, the house is filled with Mozart artifacts, including paintings of him and his family, a few manuscripts of his scores, and a clavichord.  There's also a Mozart Wohnhaus, where the composer lived as an adult, but we figured our pilgrimage was accomplished by a visit to the Geburtshaus.
Mozart's house is in a great location, just steps from Kapitelplatz.  The most striking thing about this Baroque square is the modern addition (in 2007) of a giant golden globe with a statue of a man standing on it.  This is Sphaere by German artist Stephan Balkenhol, and I've found a video of someone trying to explain what it means:

We found a nice place to eat  just off Getreidegasse called Goldene Ente (Golden Duck).  It was very traditional, with an old rustic room of wood and stone and waitresses in "Tracht" (traditional dresses).  They seemed to specialize in Austrian comfort food, with dumplings and potatoes figuring prominently.  Phil ordered a schnitzel which barely fit on the plate, and I ordered Spanferkel, roast suckling pig, which came with a delicious dumpling (like stuffing rolled into a ball) and sauerkraut.
I noticed the dessert everyone was eating, the Salzburger Nockerl, which looked like a giant meringue (it's supposed to look like the alps, I guess).  We were too full after our pork dinners for even this light and fluffy specialty, so we headed out to hike up to the castle.  There wasn't really anything to see in the castle, but it was a great place for views of the city.

Excursion to Salzburg

A view of Salzburg from the castle

After the hike, we were ready for coffee, and we came upon a branch of Demels, the famous Viennese pasty cafe.  Phil had some super-rich chocolate cake, but all I could manage was a custurd strudel, which was light and delicious.  The hard part was ordering the coffee; they had cappuccino, melange, latte and espresso, but there was no option for plain old coffee with milk.  I ordered the melange, but it seemed indistinguishable from a latte.
After our snack it was time to find the car (no small feat) and enjoy the drive back to Munich, where Phil's wife Doris greeted us with a totally superfluous Boef bourguignon.

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