STEPHEN SCOURFIELD in a town famed for a genius
Locals say there are three seasons in Salzburg — winter, construction season and music festival time. Certainly in July and August, the birthplace of Mozart is alive with sound of music.
Salzburg’s 150,000 inhabitants embrace the status that comes with being the place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 and it is, in my opinion, the best of the daytrip options offered by river cruising companies in this area. They bring visitors just over two hours by coach from Linz, a stop on the River Danube.
For those not attending festivals, September and October are good months to visit Salzburg, one of best conserved baroque architecture towns north of the Alps.
I walk through the Mirabell Gardens, which provide a colourful frame for Mirabell Palace, built in 1606. Geometrically designed and mythologically themed, Mirabell’s 15 gardeners still plant the flowers in the patterns that were used in the 17th century.
Crossing the footbridge over the Salzach River, I walk through to the old town to the place where Mozart was born, which is now a four-storey museum. Composing from the age of five, playing for the Salzburg court at the age of 17, Mozart composed 600 works before he died at the aged of 35.
There’s a funicular up the hill to Hohensalzburg Fortress, which stands directly over the town. It is said to be the biggest fully preserved castle in Central Europe, and one of few never captured by foreign forces. On a fine day, the view makes the cafes here one of the two stand-out spots for lunch (a salad and a soft Austrian pretzel with a view).
The other is just back down in town, not far away. St Peter Stiftskeller Das Restaurant was established in 803AD, is reputedly the oldest restaurant in Europe and still serves delicately thinned schnitzels and its famous Stiftskeller mixed grill.
Salzburg comes with a serve of music, leaking from shops, from buskers, and seemingly ingrained in the fairytale facades themselves. It is a magnet for fine musicians, and locals embrace their musical heritage.
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