June 13, 2014

Salzburg, Austria

Jun 2010

Remember these kids?  A teenager who politely asks whether she can have her first champagne (only to be said no); a lad who thinks he is grown up but is still afraid of thunderstorms; a girl who plays pranks on unsuspecting maids; a prim and proper boy who wants to learn the Laendler dance; an even younger girl with a book in her hand all the time; a seven year old who loves pink; and the tiny tot who wonders why she is always the last. 
 
We all grew up with Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl.  More importantly we all grew up with the songs they were singing.  And then our children grew up with them. 
 
One would have thought the whole of the world and the wives would be familiar with “Sound of Music”.
 
Not the cab drivers of Salzburg.  Most of them have not heard of the movie.  Those who did were annoyed that their precious town is popular for wrong reasons.  (“A few English speaking people, especially old ones, alone rave about this movie.  Most Germans and Austrians come to this town for Mozart and the music festival”).
 
Despite being dismissed as uncivilized, we relentlessly pursued and located one cab driver who loved the movie and was enthusiastic about taking us to all the places we have seen a hundred times on flat screens.
 
One has to start where the children start enthralling us: at the Mirabel gardens where they bicycle and understand that “When you know the notes to sing, you can sing almost anything”.  
 
Mirabel Gardens
 
Do you remember the young Captain discovering a few urchins up in the trees singing “Doe a deer, a female deer” and then discovering with shock that they are his disciplined children left in the custody of a seemingly indisciplined new governess?  That too was at Mirabel gardens.
 
Mirabel Gardens
 
We wanted to see the von Trapp home.  We had to visit several places to put it all together in our mind. 
 
Schloss Frohnburg provided the frontage where Maria “tumbles in” with her Spanish guitar and a recommendation letter from the Abbey who saw the recommendation as a way out after wondering aloud “How to solve a problem like Maria”.
 
Schloss Frohnburg
 
Leopoldskron provided   the terrace overlooking the lake where the children row and sing an out of tune “Doe, a deer, a female deer” and get wet in their playclothes made out of discarded drapes under the tutelage of an irresponsible Maria.
 
Leopoldskron from the Lake
 
Leopoldskron terrace overlooking the lake
 
Schloss Mirabel provided the backyard.
 
Schloss Mirabel
 
Schloss Mirabel
 
Schloss Hellbrunn had the glass pavilion where Liesl celebrates her first love (“Darling sixteen, going on seventeen….)
 
Schloss Hellbrunn Glass Pavilion
 
 We had to see the Nonnberg Abbey where the children rush to persuade Maria to come back.
 
Nonnberg Abbey
 
However, the cab drivers were right.  Salzburg is a lot more than “Sound of Music”.   Salzburg was right at the edge of two fault lines:  One, Bavarian and Austrian culture.  Two, Catholic and Protestant faiths.
 
It was the religious divide that triggered the first exodus of the town’s residents.  Archbishop Firmian issued an edict in early XVIII century to Salzburg citizens seeking them to recant protestant faith or quit the town.  About 20,000 of the town’s residents left town refusing to convert to Catholic faith.
 
Political divide triggered the next and more famous exodus of von Trapps when Nazis occupied Salsburg (and Austria).
 
The Old Town preserves its heritage with nice looking buildings around narrow pedestrian streets all overlooked by Getreidegasse church and Hohensalzburg castle.
 
Old Town
 
Getreidegasse Church
 
Hohensalzburg Castle
 
The town center, though a few centuries old, is impressive with the Glockenspiel Residenz Square giving the space to admire the beauty of the Salzburg Cathedral.
 
Glockenspiel Residenz Square
 
Square seen from inside Salzburg Cathedral
 
Salzburg may have given Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to the World.  I would still remember it for silly little stuff like "raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings and a few of my other favorite things!"

1 comment:

  1. Salzburg..Salzburg..Salzburg..where did I hear this? It rings a bell. Now you put it in place. But still something is missing. Yep..Mozart. Thank you TrS. And the pictures too are damned good. Especially "Leopoldskron from the Lake" with the duck(?) in the waters. Was Maria irresponsible or was she irrepressible ?

    ReplyDelete