It was time to leave.

We woke up early that morning so that we wouldn’t miss the one train stopping in Dorfgastein. It was sad putting everything back into our bags knowing that we probably wouldn’t be back for a very long time, if ever. However, there was also excitement in the air, because we would be traveling back to Wien and our host families would be there waiting for us.

The plan was to travel to Salzburg and spend the day there. After Salzburg we would then, finally, make our way to Wien.

Although the train was nothing exciting we did get to pass by Hohenwerfen Castle. A few scenes in The Sound of Music were shot at this castle.

Now, if you like The Sounds of Music, Salzburg is the place to go. As soon as we started walking away from the train station we were informed that the mountains in front of us were the ones that the real Von Trapp family crossed. They are also the mountains that separate Salzburg from Germany.

Our main destination in Salzburg was the old part of town, so we had to travel through some of the newer areas to cross the Salzach, the main river that runs through Salzburg. On our way there we glimpsed, for a brief second, one of the houses that Mozart spent some of his life in.

We crossed through Maribell Gardens, which were amazing and had a great view of the castle on the hill above Salzburg, called Hohensalzburg Castle. The garden around Maribel was very long with designs in the grass created from flowers and impressive statues of men and women in twisting poses. There were a lot of weddings taking place both in the gardens and inside the palace.

The statue below was one of my favorite, because of it’s elegance and modern feel, but it also fit well into the scenery of the garden and looked out over both Maribell Gardens and Hohensalzburg Castle.

The gardens were very large and long. One section on the right had a fountain, some flowers and then it turned into a tunnel of trees that provided shade from the blistering sun. The garden on the left and hidden behind the palace was wide open with multiple statues decorating each side and a fountain in the middle that lined up perfectly between all the statues, the garden and the Hohensalzburg Castle.

A pegasus statue in the middle of the gardens, overlooking Hohensalzburg Castle.

For a few minutes we were able to go inside the large baroque style palace. Inside it had high arching ceilings and a stairway with banisters decorated with cherubs. Some of the weddings were being held in the upper floors of the buildings.

The ceiling at the entrance to the castle.

A closer look at the detail on the ceiling.

The bridge we used to cross the Salzach was covered in padlocks of all different shapes and sizes. They are meant to keep love alive and once a couple writes on the lock and then secures it to the bridge, they throw the key into the river so that their love can never be broken. In some sections of the bridge the entire fence was obscured by locks.

Once we crossed the bridge we were in the older part of the town and immediately came upon the most crowded street in all of Salzburg. Getreidegasse is known for its cute shops and impressive signs. Long ago the signs out front use to hold pictures that informed people of what exactly the shop sold. There are still a few signs like that now, but mostly they just say the name of the business or shop. Most of the shops were more for tourists and also very expensive, but we were able to find a place that sold a scoop of ice cream for one Euro. Although the street was crowded, I especially liked this part of the town, because there were secret alleyways that looked like shops, but were actually shortcuts to the other streets and the farmer’s market.

Now, if McDonalds looked this fancy in America, I might actually eat something there.

One of the more creative sings along the street.

Along this same shopping street is also the house where Mozart was born. He lived on the third floor. Now, its a fantastic museum with paintings, pianos, and actual documents from Mozart.

It’s hard to imagine what the street would have looked like when Mozart was around, definitely not so crowded, but in general it seemed like the city had preserved his house pretty well. Although Mozart often talked about leaving his boring life in Salzburg for something more, just going back through his past and seeing all of Salzburg made it easy to see where he got his inspiration from. Out his back door he had the towering churches, a giant castle, and the market place full of people.

The picture below was one of the only pictures I was allowed to take while inside. The apartment had rooms on the side where I’m standing and then it went down a long passageway that was open to a small courtyard below. It then continued into another two rooms that looked out over the farmer’s market.

After the museum we headed towards some of the churches. There were a lot of churches in the area and quite a few that I can’t remember the names of, but one of the more dramatic ones was Dom zu Salzburg. The outside was impressive with huge white and black statues of saints, inside was even more so.

Going inside churches like the Dom zu Salzburg always floors me. I can’t even fathom how someone could think up such tiny intricate details and make them three dimensional and as large as possible. I could have stayed and stared at a single spot on the ceiling for hours if we hadn’t been on a schedule. The wonder of it all is what makes me really love and appreciate architecture.

This particular part of the ceiling wasn’t even in the main room, it was off to the side.

Just off to the side of Dom zu Salzburg is Residenzplatz. It’s a huge open square with a large fountain in the center that was not only beautiful, but great for cooling off. Although there was nothing there the day we visited, Residenzplatz is the main place for events in Salzburg.

The fountain.

Just for kicks and because who doesn’t like to be a tourist sometimes, Annika, Ari and I took a ride on a carriage with the famous Haflinger horses from Austria. They took us to all the different attractions around the area and it made for a nice break from walking.

Before heading back to the train station we made our way over to the elevator to get a better view of the city. The elevator shaft runs straight up through the natural stone wall that protects part of Salzburg. It took us up to the top where there is a museum and also a restuarant, but most importantly a beautiful view of Salzburg and the Hohensalzburg Castle. The castle was placed up on the hill not only to protect the city, but also to act as a toll station.

After a full day of walking, we headed back to the station to catch the 6:00 train to Vienna. It was a smooth ride until we got closer to Vienna and were informed that the station’s communication system was not functioning. After that announcement it was a mad dash to the underground to get on the next tram and head over to the Westbahnhof ourselves.

Luckily, our families were still waiting for us and we all got in taxis and headed to our new homes.