DAY 13 in Salzburg, Austria:
I didn’t wake up feeling the best but the sunrise did a good job at making me feel somewhat close to my best. I managed to eat again this morning, so that was a good thing.
On this day, we travelled to Salzburg, where we were going to spend the day visiting most of The Sound of Music‘s filming locations. Salzburg, an Austrian city on the German border, is known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace and the setting for the film “The Sound of Music”. In December 1962, the original script for the stage musical was reviewed, the sequence of songs was rearranged, and a work designed for the stage was transformed into a film that could use the camera to emphasise action and mood, opening the story up to the beautiful locations of Salzburg and the Austrian Alps.
The city is divided by the Salzach River, with medieval and baroque buildings of the pedestrian Altstadt (Old City) on its left bank, and 19th century Neustadt (New City) on the right.
We started in the 19th century Neustadt, where we saw the beautiful Mirabell Palace and Gardens, the famous spectacled gnome which the children in TSOM patted, the just-as-famous pegasus fountain and Marina Abramovic’s Spirit of Mozart, an “interactive sculpture” consisting of an ensemble of chairs occupying and extending into space. The stainless-steel installation represents an invitation and a challenge, to sit quietly and contemplate – and this in the midst of traffic and the hectic, pulsating bustle of the city.
From then on, we moved on to bustling little markets, the oldest cafe in Salzburg, and to my favourite fountain (Residenzbrunnen) (water spouts from the horses’ nostrils!) in the middle of Residenz Square (Residenzplatz), before seeking shade and timeless beauty in the Salzburg Cathedral.
Right out of a bookshop’s window display, I spotted ‘Der Struwwelpeter’. I let out a little squeal — this was my childhood! It is a German children’s book by Heinrich Hoffmann, comprising of ten illustrated and rhymed stories, each of which demonstrates the disastrous consequences of misbehaviour in an exaggerated way. Rather gruesome at times, but I loved it.
**Here is the English version of ‘Der Struwwelpeter’ if You fancy a read. 🙂
Miriam and I decided to give a funicular ride up to Hohensalzburg Fortress a miss because of its exorbitant prices and decided to head to Leopoldskron Castle (Schloss Leopoldskron) instead. Up a slope, down a slope and through a patch of meadow, we walked. The grass went up to our shins and the paths were so narrow, we found ourselves in the way of frantically beeping cyclists going about their day.
Upon reaching Leopoldskron, Miriam spotted a swing where we found our childlike selves — Benutzung der Schaukel auf eigene Gefahr! — took shots of the famous grinning horses and tried to stop a
mischievous hungry cat from making a frightened mouse its meal.
‘No no no! Bad cat! Shoo shoooo!’
We couldn’t bear to stay to see what would happen to the mouse, so we left. We moved on to an area where we found (and ate) wild strawberries and where Miriam tried her utmost best to get stung by stinging nettles (because she couldn’t seem to get stung by any stinging nettles back in Cambridge. She sure did get stung, but thankfully found doc leaves to heal the sting.
“The importance of breathing need hardly be stressed. It provides the oxygen for the metabolic processes; literally, it supports the fires of life. But breath as “pneuma” is also the spirit or soul. We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. By our breathing, we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss.” ― Alexander Lowen,
On the way back, we took a detour — okay fine, I admit… I led us to a wrong turn — to Mozart Square (Mozartplatz), where we saw the Mozart Statue (Mozart Denkmal) by Ludwig Schwanthaler, before crossing over the Mozart Footbridge (Mozartsteg), which was the filming location of the arched stone bridge sequence during the “Do-Re-Me” song in The Sound of Music.
A group of boys walked by us, when one said, “Helloooo…”, and another said, “… it’s me…” The thing that made the situation so hilarious was the straight faces they kept! We threw our heads back in laughter ahha! We then headed, still giggling, towards an alleyway that had both Billa and SPAR (grocery stores), and since we had time on our hands, we decided to conduct an experiment: Is Billa or SPAR the better grocery store?
We concluded that SPAR was better. Why? Because it had Vegan Halbbitter (half bitter) Rittersport! 😛
That evening, we settled into a really cosy hostel — my favourite hostel to date, quality- and cleanliness-wise >> Meininger << — and were having müsli dinners topped with the Rittersport we bought when Lauren Young from North California walked into the room. She had just come back from a tough hike with 2 otherAmerican girls and was dead beat. She told us that she was going to travel for a total of 3 months and that right then, she was at her 2-month mark.
Lauren asked Miriam and I what we had planned for Day 14 of our trip — a picnic where the Von Trapp children had their picnic! and a visit to the world’s largest ice caves!! — and asked us if she could join us, to which we said ‘Yes!’ (She was travelling alone and spent the past 2 months joining others for their plans. Cool, hey?)
Hayley Worseley from Perth, Australia, walked in next. She moved over from the UK (she’s a British) as a young girl and grew up as a true blue Australian. She said things like ‘No dramas‘, ‘That’s hectic!‘ and ‘Far out!’ to mean ‘No problem’, ‘That’s insane!’ and ‘No way!’ respectively. She told us about the amazing Busabout ‘tour’ she was on, that we should definitely Miracles From Heaven, and that she was at the 5.5-month mark of her 8 months in Europe!
A Korean girl (I didn’t manage to catch her name) came in last to complete our ‘squad’. She didn’t talk very much, which initially led us to think that she wasn’t interested in socialising, but we found out later that evening that she spoke very little English. We ‘conversed’ with sign language! I wondered how she got around Salzburg with only speaking Korean…
On this day, I ended my journal with, “Miriam just voice-messaged her father, asking him what the doodoodoo song is.”
Miriam, did You ever find out what that song was?