Spent much of the early morning in the hotel today. It was cold out (47 degrees) and raining. And we had a reservation for a Walking Tour of the city at 11 am. Yes, you read that right. A walking tour. In the rain. In the cold. Thank goodness Rick Steves highly recommended – and Sherry bought for us – rain ponchos.
By the way, can I tell you how much we appreciate this hotel – The Hofwirt? Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than a hostel . . . but it does include breakfast and all the coffee you can drink from an expresso machine in the common dining room. Best of all, the coffee is fresh ground and made by the cup. Always fresh and always hot!
OK, so we left the hotel at around 10:15 and headed to the meeting spot for the Tour. We got there a bit early and walked along the Salzach River for a bit, waiting for Leo (our guide for the Tour). Leo turned out to be one of those young men (probably in his mid-late 20’s) who started traveling the world and just stayed in Salzburg. He arrived on his bike and the rain didn’t phase him one bit!
Unlike the tour in Vienna, we covered lots of ground today. And got pretty wet. And cold. BUT . . . we were able to see some incredible sights of the city – and got lots of historical info about the Sound of Music, especially from a German/Austrian point of view. Who knew that most Germans have never heard of – let alone seen the movie!
When I posted the picture of the shopping area, I didn’t realize the significance of the incredibly beautiful signs. In the Middle Ages, most people weren’t able to read, so how would they know which shop to find, say – umbrellas? or clothing? or beer? or a hamburger? The signs became incredibly important in letting folks know what was in the shop below it! Because they were so important, the City was adamant about maintaining the identity of the past. When Macdonald’s wanted to blast their bright yellow Macker’s sign, they were adamant about NO! Mackers had to comply with the current sign protocol and thus adopted their “M” inside an old beer garden sign! So, MacDonald’s likely has their most iconic sign here in Salzburg!
What’s interesting about the Mozart statue is that, according to Leo, this looks nothing like Mozart. He was short, and had a terribly pockmarked face from smallpox. Nothing like this really, really good-looking dude. In fact, this “Mozart” apparently looks just like the Beethoven of Vienna! How funny is that?
Speaking of Mozart, almost as famous as him are what are called Mozart Balls. Not where your mind goes automatically, but Chocolate covered marzipan. Each of the balls costs about $1.75 for a 1″ round piece of candy. We did eat one, but it wasn’t special enough to go back for seconds.
The last photo is of the front of the Salzburg Cathedral. It was originally constructed in 774 and after several renovations and catastrophes, construction of this current building began in 1614 and complete in 1628. Damaged in WWII, final restoration was complete in 1959. Thus the three dates on the entry gates! It’s hard not to get ho-hum abut all this magnificent architectural beauty, but it’s everywhere we look! It never ends!