Since Sarah and Emily got to take a trip to Paris France, just the two girls, James and I decided to take a trip as well, just the two boys. Henry, being less than 3-years-old when we left, is considered gender neutral by the Geneva Conventions and is therefore ineligible for any “all girls” or “all boys” events. Fortunately, he turned 3 on June 3rd, so this is all a moot point.
Anyway, James and I set our sights on Salzburg, the City of Music, birthplace to Mozart, and the namesake of the Salzach River. Salzburg is a stone’s throw from Munich, nestled between Innsbruck and Vienna, and within view of the Austrian Alps. It sustained a reasonable amount of damage during WWII, but, like many European cities, has retained or restored its altstadt (old town), around which it flourishes with modern architecture and pedestrian-friendly layouts.
James and I boarded a train from Bern on Friday afternoon, and by 8pm we were at our hotel in Salzburg. We stayed at a charming hotel in the altstadt right off of the Mozartplatz. Get used to seeing that name everywhere as Salzburg loves its native son. Nearly every cafe, platz, strasse, steg, and saal has a name associated with the famous composer. Even though Mozart gladly moved from Salzburg to Vienna, to get out from under the thumb of the Bishop of Salzburg, the town still holds tightly to his legacy.
We arrived a little bit late in the evening, but James and I were hungry so we took the bus to the Augustiner Bräustübl (beer hall), just on the outskirts of town. Augustiner is a kloster (monastery) that supports its religious mission with a vibrant brewery (not uncommon in Germanic lands). James was very excited to visit the beerhall. We went up to the shelves in front and both grabbed ceramic mugs. James filled his with water, and I filled mine with Augustiner’s flagship Märzen beer. We sat in the beerhall, two Schwab men, quaffed from our mugs and ate sausage. When it was too late for James to keep his eyes open any longer, we headed back to the hotel.
On Saturday, James and I woke to a delicious breakfast, and headed to the Museum der Moderne where there was an exhibit for kids about Monsters. We looked at the pictures, dressed up, went into a scary room, and looked at different artist renditions of monsters for an hour or so. Then we made our way from the museum, via Salzburg’s catacombs, to the Funicular that goes up to Salzburg’s fortress.
High above the cliff over Salzburg the fortress is now a museum and restaurant. We saw images from Salzburg’s Marionettetheater as well as lots of relics from the origins of the fortress all the way up to munitions from WWI. James loved seeing all of sights, but eventually we got tired and headed back down to the old town for lunch.
In the afternoon we headed to Mozart’s birthhouse where we walked around with approximately 1,576 asian tourists. Fortunately James’ hair has gotten dark enough that these tourists were not stopping us for pictures. After the Mozarthaus we went to dinner in the eastern part of the old town while bands played for a festival being thrown by the University of Salzburg.
In the evening, James and I boarded a bus to the outskirts of Salzburg in a town called Anif. Anif houses Schloss Hellbrunn, and the Salzburg Zoo. We took the tour of the “night zoo” where we saw brown bears, wolves, snow leopards, and flamingos eat before their bedtime. We also saw lots of frogs, turtles, red pandas, alpacas, tapirs, capuchin monkeys, capybaras, parrots, and so much more. The Salzburg zoo is reportedly the oldest zoo in the world, but, as James learned, does not house the oldest animals. It is a beautiful zoo with cliffs as the backdrop, and Alpine foothills across the other side. You can see why the Salzburg royalty would build their palace right next door.
Sunday James and I awoke later, ate breakfast, and made our way to the train station to head back to Switzerland. James got a few small commemorative items, and we got some famous Mozartkugeln for the rest of the family. It was nice to spend some time with my son, getting to spoil him a little bit on one hand, but getting to see him grow a little bit on the other.
See the gallery of our trip.
Posted from Münsingen, Canton of Bern, Switzerland.