Europe Week Eleven: Salzburg, Austria
THE HIIIIIILLS ARE ALIIIIIIIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUUUUUUSIC!
Guess what? My Sound of Music dreams finally came true! At the start of our mid-quarter week off, I left Italy and ventured to Austria - on my own! One of my study abroad goals was to travel alone, and what better city to geek out in than Salzburg, Austria, home to one of my all time beloved movies, The Sound of Music. I took a German night train (so much better than Italian trains) from Venice to Salzburg and arrived at 4 a.m. After checking into my Airbnb, I awaited daybreak as I prepped myself for three days of exciting solo travel in this beautiful city.
Let's start at the very beginning.
On the first day, I took The Original Sound of Music Tour with none other than fellow American tourists, and we sang our way through the beautiful countryside surrounding Salzburg (Hof, Gaisberg, Lake Mondsee), stopped to gasp at breathtaking views, and took pictures at the locations used in the making of the movie. Places pictured: Mirabell Gardens (Do-Re-Mi montage), Leopoldskron Palace (the lake behind the Von Trapp house), the Gazebo (from Sixteen Going on Seventeen) at Schloss Hellbrunn, and finally the wedding church at the lake-side town of Mondsee, where I enjoyed delicious apple strudel at Cafe Braun with some girls on the tour who also happened to be studying abroad.
The next two days, I explored Salzburg by foot, relying on my GPS, as I couldn't understand any German street signs and store window fronts . On the most enchanting of autumn mornings, I somehow wandered up to Monchsberg, one of the mountains bordering the city, where I hiked through magical golden forests and came across panoramic views of the town below. From there I strolled down to pedestrian and bike-friendly paths along the Salzach River and made my way back to Altstadt. It was Sunday afternoon, and families were outdoors, entertaining children and dogs at the playgrounds and enjoying the perfect weather. Everywhere I turned had a family-friendly small town vibe. The environment was so safe, clean, and heart-warming.
The following day, I continued to explore DomQuartier, Hohensalzburg Fortress (the audioguide tour is so cool!), and Mozart's childhood home-turned-museum in Old Town Salzburg. I learned that Salzburg was a Roman city, but has evolved to be more modern than Italian cities. Yet the outskirts of Salzburg remain wonderful lush untouched nature. I can't imagine a view more scenic or enchanting.
I loved my solo trip to Salzburg. Visiting in the autumn, you witness the trees come alive in a palette of red and golden perfection everywhere you look. The city is so well integrated into this natural environment, and there's nothing more charming than the laid-back family-oriented Austrian lifestyle, the relatively low tourist population, and the historical touch of Mozart and The Sound of Music everywhere in town.
Thanks, Salzburg, for making all my Sophia Von Trapp dreams come true. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.