Some of our best memories are of Salzburg. When Audy and I were together in 1961, we met Dr. Maurice and Sue Faulkner, my music professor at UCSB, there, when they met Audy for the first time. We then went back when we were stationed in England…and then one time later on. It is a city that has not changed, and still has the charm that it had 40 years ago…so we were pleased to be there. We left the hotel at 8:45 am, after having a full breakfast buffet at the hotel which was included in the room plan (the European breakfast buffet, as it was in China…is everything you want from eggs to french toast to meats and cheeses to cereals and pastries)…walking over to the station where we caught a bus to the downtown area, for we wanted to go to the Dome (Cathedral) for the 10 am mass service. We got there a little early, so walked to the church and then around the area, which is all just below the massive castle on the hill overlooking the city…and which you see in all of the photographs of the city. We walked over to the St. Peters Church, and a service was going on…so we looked in the back, in probably was one of the prettiest churches we have ever seen. It was completely decorated with candles and ornaments…and it was just glorious. They were concluding their service, which was, again, part of the Christmas week services…thus the extensive decoration, and the final song was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty…” with the full filled church singing. Very touching and beautiful. We then walked back over to the Dome, and the service was going and this massive church was filled. We walked to the front and got a seat on the side…and enjoyed very much the service with the full organ, 2 oboes, and a bassoon accompanying the soloist and the small adult choir. Although they were using the smaller and newer organ, of which there are 4 in the church, the music was beautiful and carried so well in the big dome….we stayed for the entire service. A blessing!

We left and took the funicular (cable car) up the hill to the castle-fortress, which we both remembered, as we walked to the top back in 1961. At the castle we walked around to see the sights and the views of the city from the top…had a coffee at the little restaurant…saw the Marionette Museum..and enjoyed the clear weather, although colder. This is a true fortress, in that it guarded the city, and today it has been preserved and is still a landmark to behold. We walked down into the town…went to the Mirabelle Castle, where I got one of my best photos of Audy in ’61…and walked over to the Mozart Museum. This is very well done and goes through the real history of Mozart…what he did…where he did it… and some of the family history. This is a must for anyone that appreciates Mozart, for it clearly demonstrates with videos and photos the incredible life of this genius. The Mozart birth place is nearby, and most of Salzburg has been turned into these pedestrian shopping areas, including the old market square, the street where Mozart’s home was, etc. We got a feeling for this on Sunday, but then on Monday it was a huge crowd of people. On Sunday we found a great little Italian restaurant in one of these pedestrian areas and had a great lasagna meal…served by an Austrian that had lived for 2 years in LA. We went on over to the Marionette Theater in hopes of seeing the 4 PM show…but couldn’t get it so got tickets for the evening Marriage of Figaro by Mozart…by the Marionettes. Although we had hoped to see the earlier show of The Nutcracker at 4, it turned out better that we got to see the “Marriage” that evening. This is really an incredible performance, for these Marionettes are about 4 feet tall, and from the distance that we were at, after a few minutes you forget that they are on strings and look like real opera performers. They are so good, that they make hand motions with the music changes, etc. Just makes you think they are real in every respect. Very well done and very worthwhile to see. The music, of course, is great, for it comes out on some form of large Bose type speakers, so you think there is a live orchestra playing…a great show! We tried to find out a little more about the “puppeteers”…for they are true professionals, and all we could find was that this is what they do after years of preparation and rehearsal…true artists. The theater itself is a regular theater, seating about 300, and we were towards the back, for it was almost sold out…and so well done that you forget that you are not seeing a real opera by real actors and singers. Well worth it!

We left the theater about 9:45 PM…walked to take some night photos, etc..and back to the hotel at 10:30 PM. A great day in Salzburg. Unfortunately, Audy’s back is starting to act up, and this is when we decided that when we get back, we are going to get on a regular exercise program to help strengthen her back muscles. But we had a good night…and Audy slept in the next morning…as we had a slow day planned.


Zurich to Salzburg

A few years ago we were traveling in Europe….and, as usual, I try to keep a daily log…so here it is…talks a bit about the events of the day…

Zurich to Salzburg,  We set our alarm for 6 up and packed and left the hotel on the 7:40 am shuttle to the train station….carrying our luggage for the first time. A lot of thought, and some input from Carrie, had gone into our planning as to what we would take, and we ended up with one large pull-on suitcase, Audy’s green pull-on, and my black shoulder bag, which is used in China and it holds quite a lot. This worked well, for the only real weight was in the large pull on…and with its handles where they are, it is easy to move around. This morning was our first test…and it went well, as we got into the station to look for the Salzburg train. We got there a little early, so went into the mall area of the train station to their “Safeway”, which is called Micros, and got some bread, sandwiches, and drinks to be prepared for the long trip to Salzburg. These shopping areas are very clean and open, as my photos illustrate…and very easy to shop in, although Switzerland does not participate in the Eurodollar system, yet. We then went on up to the gate area, and encountered our first crowds, for this was the Saturday of the Christmas week, and a lot of travelers. We were hoping to get onto the Panorama car…but so were many others…and we decided on the regular first class car…which worked out best. The only difference in the cars is that the panorama cars have the higher windows…but it was crowded and loud…so we were happy 4 cars way in our “private area”. I say private, for the way the seats are configured, we usually had 4 seats for the 2 of us..and sometimes we had the additional 2 seats across the aisle…which gave us plenty of room to move about and go from side to side to see the sights…and make pictures…(I totaled out about 400 digital photos…so I was constantly moving from window to window), so the open areas served us well. At 9:50 AM, we left…and the train was late leaving, which is very unusual for these trains. Off we went heading for Innsbruck and Salzburg…and it was raining, which continued for the entire day. Still the trip east into the Austrian Alps was spectacular, and we did have periodic clearing along with rain and an occasional light snow. We were on an IR train, so once again, fast on most of the flat and straight areas…and slowing down as we went up into and along the mountainside. Again, spectacular. Along the way we passed through farmlands, rich and green valleys surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Alps. Something to see! We went through the small country of Liechtenstein, which is kind of 2 big mountains with 2 cities in the valley…and took us about 15 minutes to go the length of the country with 1 stop. From there we went into Innsbruck….known for the Olympics, of which some of the areas are still used. Reminded me of Aspen, CO, for the mountains surround the valley where the city is…ideal for the Olympics, but not terribly scenic at this time of the year with no snow. From Innsbruck, went up and over the Alps through the Ardhem Tunnel, and it was in this area as we went along the side of the mountain that we saw this bad accident on the road below..and as it turned out about a 15-mile back up in each direction….for there was a lot of traffic on this holiday weekend. Again, thankful that we were on the train. The track usually will go along the valley and follow the rivers, etc….but from time to time has to go along the sides of the mountains, and on a couple of occasions we were looking down about 1500 feet to the valley directly below. Quite exciting. As we came out of the Alps, the train would pick up speed, for we were still about 30 minutes behind…and a couple of times, it seemed like we were exceeding 120…we were “crankin”….but we made it to Salzburg at 4 PM…on schedule. We got directions to the Renaissance Hotel…and being 2 blocks from the train station, we walked over in the rain…and checked into this 5 star hotel. We walked around the area for awhile as we had been sitting all day…then had our first schnitzel at the hotel restaurant…and got to see our first Turkish wedding. About 1000 Turks in the hotel ballroom…all smoking, etc., but interesting. Got to bed at 10 PM after another full and interesting day.