no matter where you go, there you are

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen good-bye

After Nonnberg, we wandered down the rest of the hillside back into the Domkirche plaza and Residenzplatz. There was an amazing statue of what looked like a dementor from Harry Potter. It was really uncanny so I snapped a photo.

Our next stop was the Festspielhaus, the 3-theater complex that is most known for housing the Salzburg Festival.

the beautiful ceiling the lobby
The outdoor theater, the Felsenreitschule (Rocky Riding School) is only used once a year during the festival in the summer, bringing the largest number of tourists to the city during the year. The Salzburg Festival is where the VonTrapp family is stuck performing as the Nazi's catch them trying to leave their house. The rest of the year it is mostly covered with a temporary roof and is a highlight on the complex's tour.

The Festpielhaus only holds a tour of the theaters 3 times a day so it was impertinent that we made it to the building by 2PM for that tour. Our group was small, only 6 of us which was very nice and the guide was very informative about the entire complex. Being a theater nerd, I loved being able to stand on the stage amongst the large sets they had for one of the Operas and see how it all operated. Really cool.

And standing in the outdoor complex where they shot the festival portion of The Sound of Music wasn't too bad either. Once the tour was complete, I ran around the side of the building to see the exit and roadway that Herr Zeller drives up on to deliver Max a message about the Captain not replying to his summons. In 45 years it really hadn't changed whatsoever.

The day was slowly coming to an end, but we still had a couple more Sound of Music stops before heading to Vienna. On our way to the Monschberg Elevator was the Pferdeschwemme, a very old royal trough built in 1695 where prize horses were watered and cared for. Since this fountain was also covered, it dawned that it must be a winter custom to protect the fountains in winter, and it wasn't just because of the Christmas Markets in the Residenzplatz that the other fountains were also covered. Surrounding this horse fountain are large, gorgeous frescoes of prize horses. The Pferdeschwemme was used as a shooting location in The Sound of Music in the sequence leading up to Do-Re-Mi when Maria and the children are discovering Salzburg for the first time together.

Last, but not least, Anne and I made it to our last tourist and movie sight of the day, the Monschberg Elevator. The elevator is just that, an elevator that brings you up through the solid rock of the hillside to the Museum der Moderne (which we didn't go into) and various walking paths along the hill. And if I remember correctly, you can walk all the way to the Fortress along those paths. While the view would have been worth it even if I didn't have ulterior motives for wanting to go up to the top, I totally did. The overlook outside the elevator exit was where Maria explains to the children about mixing up notes and replacing words with those notes to make music. They've definitely done some sort of reconstruction since the steps are not built the same as they were in 1964, but it was a deja-vu experience, being up there. The view of the city hadn't changed a bit.

reall crowded shopping street
I wanted to explore a little more so I took a short walk down the path and they had old stone walls of a fort or something, so I got to walk through that which was neat. At the point where I decided to stop there was another great view of the Untersberg. While I wish I had one more day to take the bus and then gondola to the top of the mountain, there wasn't enough time to see it all. And I missed its opening by a week, so it wouldn't have mattered in the long run. Either way, I will return to Salzburg one day, hopefully in the spring or summer where I can go into the mountains and see Edelweiss, see Residenzplatz without Chrismas Markets, explore the area surrounding the Old City, visit the real VonTrapp home and not rush through everything. One perk of winter, I will say though, is smaller crowds.

I admired he view for a few minutes but then turned and headed back to Anne who was waiting for me by the elevator. With one last chance to admire the beautiful and old city that Salzburg was, Anne let me have a few more moments before we headed down the elevator, through the old city, back through the Mirabell gardens, picked up our bags at the hostel and boarded the train for Vienna.

one last image of Mirabell Gardens

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