Salzburg, the Salt City

Many wonderful things have been said about Salzburg, and I shan’t repeat them except to say that what I’ve heard have been true thus far. Small population of 150,000.  Hometown of Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus and also Christian Doppler. City sights were one of a kind – the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the funicular ride up there was quite spectacular. The main street of Getriedgasse, and market squares in the old town were always colourful and lively, and had foodcarts with a great variety of sausages to choose from.

What I was also in Salzburg to do was to see all things related to The Sound of Music. It was my first musical and what kickstarted my fondness for them, and so there is some sentimental attachment to TSoM. The guide we had from Panorama Tours (Peter, and driver Andy) was hilarious. He kept us entertained with tales, myths & truths and somewhat cheesy jokes of TSoM through the journey, and played for us the soundtrack as well as a documentary-styled video. I was happily humming along to the music on the longer drives, and finding everything interesting cos I’m a fan. SJ was OMG-ing and groaning when he was not trying to nap it away. I was listening to the soundtrack over and over at home to prep myself up for the tour. Poor fella was subject to TSoM assault before we left for the trip and during the trip! Talk about brainwash. He was sufficiently familiar that he was yodelling, perhaps out of frustration, by the end of it.  See this for a summary of the tour we took: http://www.panoramatours.com/salzburg-The-Original-Sound-of-Music-Tour-EN.aspx

We did a tour with Panorama to the Bavarian Salt Mines too. This was super fun. We got dressed in miners’ clothing and had to enter the deeper levels by slide. We sat on a pair of wooden panels at about a 45 degree incline,  tilted our backs, lifted our arms and legs and went Wheeee!!! into the darkness below. You come to a stop automatically cos it flattens out at the end, but there’s no one to stop you from sliding off and landing on your butt if you work up enough momentum. Those wooden panels are a sorry excuse for a slide, but that’s what made it so much more fun since I had doubts about safety. Heh. It was interesting how they drilled for salty rocks and created huge, dense salt lakes (like mini versions of the Dead Sea) to extract salt.  Closer to the end, we crossed a quiet, mirror lake via boat within the cave – reminded me of a scene from the Phantom of the Opera! They leave you with a sample of the salt they produce too. Click this link for more: http://www.panoramatours.com/salzburg-Bavarian-Mountains-and-Salt-Mines-EN.aspx

On our way back, we passed the towns of Berchtesgaden, Mondsee and St Gilgen. St Gilgen in particular was absolutely picturesque with Wolfgang See framed against the Austrian Alps. The hills were definitely alive there.  🙂

[First published: 19 July 2011]

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