Sunday, 18 May 2008

Austria: Salzburg

Salzburg, bet you never heard of it. Well, allow me to introduce you to some of the more famous and popular traits of such a lovely little city. Firstly, it's in Austria [that's Austria and not Australia!], it is the home town and birthplace of Mozart, and also the city where the musical "The sound of Music" was filmed! Ok, that's not so exciting, but Maïté [Maite Bouysse] and I decided to visit this place since it was on the border of Germany, quite close to us, and just to travel somewhere new together! I got border-checked on the train & realised that I forgot my passport, but everything turned out fine. We had one night and two days there and had to see the entire, hilly city that was surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains - quite an amazing sight. The city is adorned by baroque architecture including the many churches [which happen to be extremely noise when all their bells chime at the same time].

It is a German speaking city [more precisely Österreichisches Deutsch: Austrian German], and some of the major sights include: The Old Town of Salzburg [nominated World Heritage Site in 1996], The fortress Hohensalzburg on a hill dominating the old town, Mozart's Birthplace & Residence, The Giant chess board painted onto the ground, the Mirabell castle with the garden of the dwarves and the garden of the roses, and Getreidegasse — A long, narrow street with lots of shops, famous for the old-styled signs of profession outside each store!

Of Course, just as in Germany [and because it's so close to Germany], Beer AND Sausages are famous here! We had a nice pint of Austrian beer at a cellar & beer garden up on a mountain: The Stiegl Keller. Located at Festungsgasse 10, this Stiegl brewery restaurant serves traditional food and the famous Stiegl beer [a symbol of Salzburg city] right from the barrel.

On our way down from one of the magnificent viewpoints, I heard a girl behind us speaking about Finland! She was indeed Finnish and from Jyväskylä the student city in sweet old Finlandia! It made me feel a bit homesick, after being away from the country for a while. This just shows how much and how fast we get attached to a place. When I saw her for the third time in the city that day, I took it as a sign of fate, and decided to go speak to her, revealing that I am [or was] studying in Finland.

One of the funny things was that in all the tourist shops, there were these Mozart merchandise, like totally degrading the guy, he made such classy art and this is what he's become, a crummy plastic figurine or a picture on a cheap t-shirt. Let the guy rest in peace! They even go crazy about these Mozart chocolates or Mozartkugel; they're everywhere. Only in Salzburg you can buy the original chocolate "Mozart Balls". In 1890, confectioner Paul Fürst originated them in Salzburg. It's not enough to see him, and hear him, now u get to eat him! What's funnier is that there's these t-shirts saying "No kangaroos in Austria!" apparently a lot of people mix up Austria and Australia:

- "hey man I have just been to Austria!"
- "Really? Did you see any kangaroos?"

For more pictures see:

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