Why didn’t I think the train wouldn’t be crowded? As passengers stood in the aisles during the two hour journey. I had arrived early, bagged a seat by the window so I could see the Northern Alps. For the bargain price of 25 euros a return ticket to Salzburg, unsurprisingly other tourists had the same idea.
A day in Salzburg, a city made famous, some might say by Mozart but I think because the SOM was filmed here. Would I have time to visit all the locations in four hours?
You can take a professional tour for around US$60, but I decided to do it myself with a tourist map and Trip Advisor. A thoughtful person has posted detailed information on where the locations are and how to get to them, just as well as Google Maps gives incorrect bus numbers.
First stop the Mirabel gardens where Maria and the children dance around the fountain and sing ‘Doh Ray Me’ on the steps. It’s a bit tricky to get a photo of the steps without people jumping up and down on them. Yes, some enthusiastic fans do relive the song. The hedge tunnel although looking a little sparse is still there. Yes, people did run through it singing to capture it on video.
A short walk led me over the bridge over the fast flowing Danube, and into the old city. The city was jampacked, out of all the places I’ve visited this by far, Salzburg had the most tourists. Camera clicked away at the brightly painted Mozart’s House.
As I wandered along, I saw several Austrians dressed in traditional dress. The men wore lederhosen and short jackets and the women dirndl dresses. Perhaps it was a national holiday? It didn’t appear to be, perhaps they enjoy wearing it. I don’t know, but I expected them to burst out in song with ‘Edelweiss’, at any minute.
I found the Residensplatz, this is the horse fountain where Maria dips her hand in as she leaves the abbey. Thankfully, there were fewer tourists here and no singing.
The cathedral was beautiful where Maria and Gaylord von Trappe married, but marred by the ever present Japanese talking loudly and taking selfies in front of the altar. As you exit a man sits in a kiosk hoping for a donation, which few tourists give.
A short walk leads to the cemetery, where the family hide behind the grave stones to escape the Nazis. The graves had beautiful colourful flowers growing over them, and the cemetery was immaculate.
Time for a quick lunch and back to the catch the train back to Munich. Would I recommend a DIY tour? Yes, it was fun and I liked going at my own pace, instead of following a tour guide. The main drawback was that I didn’t get to see the locations outside of Salzburg, but I understand the gazebo where Rolf and Liesel danced is on private property, and you have to take photos over a wall.
I can imagine how picturesque Salzburg would be in the winter with a light dusting of snow covering the buildings, but I think I’d enjoy this romantic city with someone special rather than alone.
Next time Vienna!