Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Salzburg II

I took the overnight train from Zurich to Salzburg and arrived at 4am which is not fun. It was freezing cold and obviously pitch dark which made finding my hostel a little interesting. After arriving at the hostel they told me I could not check in until 10am (even though I made a special request for early checkin and ending up sleeping in the "chill lounge" until it was time to check in.
I've already been to Salzburg albeit for 2 hours in June in the freezing cold and rain. This time I at least had some sunshine (even if it isn't warm) and got to see the sights for a little longer this time around. I still love the gardens of Schloss Mirabell and they look spectacular in the sunshine. Something I seemed to have missed last time was the unicorns at the gates and the weird creatures on the flowerpots.

Walking in Old Town I explored the various platzs with an actual tourbook and discovered a few cool things. The statue of Mary in the courtyard of the Cathedral actually lines up perfectly with the church to look like the angels are crowning her.

The platz behind the cathedral was a giant chess set and board painted on the ground for people to play. The fountain there (which was used for horse bathing like modern day carwashing) has a sign saying something like "The prince built me" but the designer captialised the roman numerals that when added together are the year the fountain was built.

Walking through St Peters Cemetery that the Sound of Music's graveyard was modelled on I came across some really interesting tombstones. Another quirky fact: In Austria gravesites are rented in 10 year cycles, every ten years a rent bill is sent out and if the family doesn't pay the remains are destroyed.

My final destination was Hohensalzburg Fortress (festung) atop Festungsberg. There is a tour within the fortress with an audio-guide that was fairly decent. The main reason for taking the tour was in fact the viewing platform at the top of the tower with a 360 degree view of Salzburg. From here I could see Schloss Leopoldskron (Salzburg Global Seminar) that we attended in June.

The penultimate destination on my journey is Linz and I am going purely for the Arts Electronica Centre with its 3D virtual reality CAVE. Hopefully it lives up the hype on the website (and yes I know this is a VERY geeky reason to stop in a town).

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