The rain came at last!
It drizzled all the way from Obermmergau to Munich, then to Salzburg.
I didn’t have any plan for what to see/do in Salzburg. So after stowing away my luggage I went for a walk.
Just as the wind picked up, threatening to tear my umbrella apart and letting the cold rain lash on me, I chanced upon this cafe, known as the original maker of the Mozartkugel – a small ball shaped confection with marzipan, pistachio, hazelnut nougat and dark chocolate, named after the hometown composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Nowadays you can find Mozartkugel almost everywhere in Germany and Austria, but only those handmade exclusively at Fürst’s can be called “Original Salzburg Mozartkugeln”.
Seeking refuge from the rain, I stepped into Cafe Konditorei Fürst and ordered a cup of hot cocoa, a marzipan potato pastry, and of course, a Mozartkugel. What a disappointment that was! The potato pastry was dry and uninteresting. I’ve had better ones at Nielsen’s Pastries in Seattle. As it turned out Mozartkugel wasn’t my cup of tea either, handmade or not, it was overly sweet to my taste.
But wait, that’s not all…for a guy came, sat down at the table next to me, he ordered a slice of the Mozart Cake…It was love💖 at first sight! The cake looked creamy and moist. I swore that I shall be back the very next day to claim it mine.
Once the rain diminished, I resumed my amble, crossing the Salzach river and into Altstadt.
At the edge of the old town, I spotted a store selling plush toys.
If I were a kid, Steiff would be my favourite place on earth.
Next door, a window display filled with mugs of various themes.
The main drag of the Altstadt is a busy pedestrian street called Getreidegasse – the Grain Lane. It is a shopper’s (in my case, a window shopper’s) paradise.
Other than the big shops and restaurants on each side of the lane, competing with their elaborated wrought iron signs
McDonald’s and Zara, anyone?
There are “secret” passageways that lead to smaller and cuter shops, such as this one selling high-end Christmas ornaments.
Of course the most famous residence on Getreidegasse is Mozart’s Birthplace, at no. 9.
The greatest musical genius of all time was born here on 27 January 1756.
A statue of Mozart can be found nearby, at Mozartplatz.
Wlolfgang Amadeus Mozart was buried in Vienna. For a long time he was a Viennese composer in people’s memory. It was not until the 1830’s, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death, that the idea arose to honour the musician in his hometown of Salzburg.
On my way to Salzburg Cathedral, I noticed a plaque mounted on the wall of a church, “in somber rememberance” of the first public burning of books staged by the Hitler Youth, following the Nazi annexation of Austria, on Residenzplatz on April 30, 1938.
The quote on top was by German poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) who famously foretold the human tragedy stating “That was only a prelude — When you burn books, ultimately you will also burn people.”
The Salzburg Cathedral, built in the 17th century, is of early Baroque style. It was damaged in 1944, during WWII, when a bomb crashed through its central dome, and was restored by 1959.
The façade is made of Untersberg Marble. The four statues are: Apostles Peter and Paul holding a key and a sword, as well as Salzburg’s two patron saints, Rupert and Virgil, clasping a salt vessel and a model of the church. The two escutcheons at the top of the gable commemorate the two builders of the cathedral, Markus Sittikus and Paris Lodron. The Cathedral Square, with a statue of the Virgin Mary, forms the atrium – serving as the imposing backdrop for the performances of Jedermann during the Salzburg Festival as well as for the beloved Christmas Market. Source: Salzburg.info
Inside the cathedral finds a medieval bronze font with lions at its base, Mozart was baptized here on 28 January 1756, the day after his birth, as was Joseph Mohr, the Roman Catholic priest who wrote the lyrics for the Christmas carol “Silent Night!”.
The cathedral is home to a 4,000-pipe organ, with which Mozart supposedly played during his time here as an organist.
Upon exiting the cathedral, my attention was drawn to one of its bronze doors. I was expecting something similar to Lorenzo Gherbeti’s Gate of Paradise – instead this particular piece struck me as contemporary by design. And so it is. The three doors of the Salzburg Cathedral are the works of three different artists dated from 1956-1958. They each represents Charity, Faith and Hope.
The Door of Hope, as pictured above, was created by German sculptor Ewald Mataré. It depicts scenes of the Annunciation, with Angel Gabriel descending from the sky bringing the news to the Virgin Mary. The hand symbolizes God, the sun the Holy Spirit. The inscription next to Mary reads “IN TE SPERAMUS” – In You We Hope. Surrounded by enameled white blossoms finds the nativity scene and the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Mataré’s other works include the doors of the Church of Peace in Hiroshima as well as the Taubenbrunnen (pigeon fountain) in front of the Cologne Cathedral.
The church bell rang six, with that the night fell. I was in the neighborhood below the Hohensalzburg Fortress and followed my nose to a pub called Pauli Stubm. You wouldn’t know from the outside, but inside the place was packed with locals. All the tables were fully booked. I got a stool at the bar.
The food was fantastic. I ordered an organic home-brewed lager, my favourite beef consommé (by now) with a big liver dumpling and a local dish called Kasnock’n – homemade spätzle baked with speck and three types of cheese – Emmentaler, Bergkäse (mountain cheese from the alps region) and beer cheese – in a cast iron skillet. This reminded me of another dish called tartiflette from the French Alpine town of Chamonix, except in this case the use of spätzle adds more texture to the dish, crunchy but not chewy, and the variety of the cheese gave it a more profound flavour, the nuttiness from the mountain cheese for instance, all the while not as gooey as the French dish. It’s perfect for the cold weather in this region. The owner, with whom I chatted at the bar, was friendly and enjoyed a good conversation.
After dinner, with a happy, warmed-up stomach and drunken hands, I took a lovely stroll back to the hotel.
Along the way, I discovered this sculpture called Awilda by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, at Dietrichsruh.
Interestingly, it reminded me of another piece at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. They are the works of the same artist, four years apart.
Coming up next: Sightseeing in Salzburg