The Hills are Alive…


Oh, I really do love Salzburg! It’s a lovely city, very walkable, and we had a beautiful, bright, sunshiny day for our visit.

The Pegasus Fountain in Mirabell Gardens

We started our day with the “Mozart and More” tour. Mozart was born in Salzburg, and much of the tourism trade in the city focuses on his life. Our tour guide, Gunther, was very knowledgeable and since we were the only people in the group, he was able to tailor the tour to our interests. Gunther studied languages and literature in college (Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish) and he speaks English quite well. He also studied two years to get his tour guide license.

As we drove around Salzburg we got a lesson about the role of the Catholic Church and the Reformation in Salzburg’s history and Mozart’s life. Salzburg has 40 churches and I was surprised to learn that only one of them is Lutheran. When Gunther learned we were interested in music, he showed us Grosses Festspielhaus (the opera house), checked their schedule, and found that the Brussels Philharmonic was touring Austria and giving a concert at the opera house tonight. He even helped us buy tickets. The tour ended at the Mozart Residence (now a museum) where we were left on our own to explore. The museum contained some instruments, letters, manuscripts, and portraits, but the best thing about it was the music that played during each segment of the audio tour.

Church where the wedding scene was filmed.

In the afternoon, we boarded a bus for the Sound of Music Sing Along Tour. We knew this was just tourist schlock when we booked it, but it was a lot of fun. The bus took us to all the sites where filming took place for the 1965 movie with Julie Andrews. Along the way, they played the songs and we all sang. I don’t know if it would have been as much fun in bad weather, but it was a glorious day and a very relaxing way to spend our afternoon.

In the eventing, we went to hear the Brussels Philharmonic. This was a bonus because we hadn’t expected to get tickets for it. The program included Guillaume Connesson’s Flammenschrift (a modern work I had never heard of), a Lalo cello concerto with an excellent soloist (our third cello program this month, but there’s always room for cello!), excerpts from Prokofiev‘s Cinderella, and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Paul, not so much – something about the trombones he didn’t like, and he didn’t feel the orchestra supported the soloist in the Lalo well, but his taste is much more discerning than mine.

I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to Salzburg tomorrow. This is one city I would love to return to if I ever get an opportunity.