Tag: Austria

The Traveling Genealogist: Part 2 – Salzburg, Austria

View of Salzburg from the Salzach river. Originally built in 1077, the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress can be seen on the hill towering above the city.

Leaving Berlin on October 6th, we hopped a plane to Salzburg, Austria, the next stop on our 2018 trip. Michael had reserved four days in this charming little city located on the banks of the Salzach river. Although I have no genealogical ties to Salzburg (that I know of), it felt like a step back in time to my original Tyrolean heritage. As you may remember from previous posts, Trentino was part of the Austrian Tyrol for many centuries and the culture of Austria certainly influenced our ancestors in many ways.

So quaint and picturesque, I fell in love with Salzburg the very minute we stepped onto its cobblestone streets. Shop windows displayed traditional Tyrolean woolen jackets, leather lederhosen and dirndl dresses. Rows of cuckoo clocks patiently ticked away in another store window. At a third shop intricate beer steins and green felt Tyrolean hats beckoned. Restaurants were decorated in knotty pine paneling with carved wooden chairs selling mugs of beer, plates of sausages, and scrumptious apple streusel. 

On our first afternoon we asked for a recommendation to a traditional beer garden. After a bit of walking, we found ourselves at a lovely garden located away from the usual tourist area. My husband ordered a frosty mug of beer and I imbibed in a local Riesling. A few tables away a small wedding party celebrated their afternoon nuptials. Dressed in stunning Tyrolean couture, they laughed and toasted each other. The men wore smartly tailored jackets with knee-length leather pants; the women were in beautiful pastel and white dirndle dresses carrying small nosegays with their hair coiffed in braids and pinned to frame their faces. A memorable afternoon indeed!

Stately Mirabell Gardens

If you are a fan of “The Sound of Music” you’ll remember the original story of Maria and the Von Trapp family took place in Salzburg. Although the movie is somewhat fictionalized, it does embody the spirit of the real-life Maria. Filmed in and around Salzburg, it was great fun searching out the original sites pictured in the movie. We climbed the steep stairs to reach the Abbey of Nonnberg (the oldest continuously existing nunnery in the world dating back to the year 715). The original Maria was a novice at Nonnberg and she was married in the abbey church. It is a rather simple, dark church, nothing like the grand cathedral pictured in the movie. We also walked through the beautiful Mirabell Gardens pictured in “Do Re Mi” and photographed the Pegasus Fountain from the same musical number where the children danced along the edge. Tourists who visit Salzburg often book a “Sound of Music Tour” that buses you around to each location in the film. But we found it much more fun exploring on foot and discovering the sites for ourselves.

The church at Nonnberg Abbey where the real-life Maria was married.

When we arrived home in November I had to watch the movie again. The film is now 52 years old, but Salzburg hasn’t changed much and I could easily point out many sites we had visited.

Michael and I spent many happy hours trekking over the hills surrounding the city (remember – The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music!), photographing sites of interest, strolling the river promenade and enjoying a city of heritage and culture, the birthplace of Mozart. What a wonderful way to spend four days in Austria!

Next stop: Bolzano, Italy!

(Note: click on photos to see a larger view.)

 

When was the last time you saw The Sound of Music? I recommend purchasing or renting the 50th Anniversary Edition. The entire extra hour at the end is an interview with Julie Andrews! She visits Salzburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary, sharing memories and photos from the original filming. I absolutely loved it!

Here’s the Amazon link: The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary Edition

 

If you missed the first part of The Traveling Genealogist series, read:
Part 1 – London, Berlin and a Cousin Coincidence!