Everyone woke up early on our first morning in Austria. I guess we are still adjusting to the time difference between Singapore and Europe. Aunt May built a snowman at 6am in the morning.
It will be a long day today. We have decided to send the full day in Salzburg City Centre, utilizing our 24 hours Salzburg Card today. The Salzburg Card basically gets you free and fast entrance to all of Salzburg’s tourist attractions and museums. Additionally, you will be able to ride all public transportation in the city for free as well!
After breakfast, since transport is covered by the Salzburg Pass, we head to bus stop and took a bus to town.
Our first stop is to historic Nonnberg Abbey (Stift Nonnberg), which is situated up a hill. We alighted from the bus at the side of the hill and make our walk towards Nonnberg Abbey.
Walking on crisp snowflake and inhaling the cold air early in the morning was refreshing. It was an easy stroll towards Nonnberg Abbey which sits on the side of Festungsberg hill.
Along the way, we found many distractions for photo opportunity.
The stroll towards Nonnberg Abbey was relaxing, until we reached the the stairways and start climbing the steps of Nonnbergstiege, or via a narrow lane from Nonntal.
Everyone was panting pretty badly when we reached the top of the hill. The only one that is smiling and enjoying his walk up the hill was Jaydon. Once we reached the top of the hill, sitting above the city, there it was, the historic Nonnberg Abbey (Stift Nonnberg)
Nonnberg Abbey is a small Benedictine monastery sitting just at the side of Festungsberg hill. The main reason why we are here is because of Sound of Music.
In the Sound of Music, this is the Abbey where Maria stays. Iconic scene in the show includes Maria leaving the abbey while wondering “What will this day be like?”, the nuns talking about Maria, the children coming to visit, and the Nazis on the hunt for the Von Trapps during their escape.
The next stop we are heading to is the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Hohensalzburg Fortress is enthroned on the Festungsberg, high above the rooftops of the Baroque historical district. You can see the Fortress at the background of Nonnberg Abbey in the following photo.
To reach to Hohensalzburg Fortress, we could either 1) walk up to the fortress or 2) walk down and take the funicular railway from town. We chose funicular railway as the climbing the steps of Nonnbergstiege is still fresh in our memory.
As we walked towards the funicular stop, we had a bird eye view of the Salzburg City.
From the base of Festungsberg, right at the edge of Salzburg city, we took the funicular railway to Hohensalzburg Fortress which is at the top of Festungsberg.
Thanks to the FestungsBahn, making your way up to Hohensalzburg Fortress couldn’t be easier! In just 54 seconds, this modern funicular transports brings you up to the fortress.
The Salzburg Card grant us access to most of the grounds and rooms in Hohensalzburg Fortress.
The panoramas from up there are one-of-a-kind, treating visitors to fantastic views of Salzburg City and the neighboring mountains.
From the top of Hohensalzburg Fortress, you could see the entire Salzburg city on all sides.
On one side, you could see the city of Salzburg. On the other side, you could see the vast plane of land and the countryside.
If you look down, you could see the whole fortress from the top tower of the fortress.
After the visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress, we took the FestungsBahn down the hill. Next to the FestungsBahn station was St Peter’s Cemetery.
The cemetery of St. Peter’s is one of the world’s most beautiful and oldest cemeteries. The reason we are here is because St Peter’s Cemetery is a famous backdrop for the “The Sound of Music”. Near the end of the Sound of Music movie, the Von Trapps hide from flashlight wielding Nazis behind tombs in the cemetery of the Nonnburg Convent. The Nonnburg cemetery is extremely small and modest, so as the producers turned to the cemetery at Saint Peter’s Church for inspiration to build the set in Hollywood.
There is a charming small Saint Margaret’s Chapel in the middle of the cemetery.
The most unusual thing about Saint Peter’s cemetery, I read was that you do not buy the plots, but instead rent them. Relatives of the dead must pay rent for the plot every 10 years and must also be the caretakers. If your family doesn’t pay your rent, they toss your body out. This method does help ensure that every rod iron headstone you see will have an abundance of fresh flowers.
It was a quick walk from the Saint Peter’s cemetery to the Cathedral square (“Domplatz”), where there is a unique sculpture of a man standing atop a giant gold globe.
As mid-day approaches, we decided to head back to Christmas Market for our lunch.
After lunch, we walked towards Getreidegasse (Old street of Salzburg). As in most Europe city, horse carriage can be found everywhere for tourist to ride on.
The Getreidegasse is the bustling heart of Salzburg’s Old City, Aside from an array of international fashion chains, the Getreidegasse also charms passers-by with its traditional inns and unique businesses steeped in history. A particular highlight of this street are its ornamental and often quite elaborate guild signs protruding from the building facades, high above pedestrians’ heads.
One certain house in the Getreidegasse always draws particular attention: No. 9, the house in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. We went in to take a look at it but it was not too interesting for someone who has not a history buff nor a classical music lover.
Walking to the end of Getreidegasse, we brought Jaydon for some kids fun in the Museum of Natural History and Technology. The Haus der Natur in Salzburg is one of the biggest magnets for the general public in the city. Roaming through the museum, visitors discover the most fascinating aspects of Mother Nature. Right at the entrance, giant dinosaurs show us what the world must have looked like millions of years ago. And only a few steps away, a view out into the endless universe gives us insights into milestones of space travel.
Connected to Haus der Natur was the Science Center. Here, visitors – big and small – can experiment to their hearts’ content. Generate electricity with the help of turbines, fly through the room on a floating platform, or build a bridge and then try it out for yourself. The Science Center is 100 percent interactive.
Another place we wanted to go was theThe Museum der Moderne which is located on the Mönchsberg, high above the rooftops of Salzburg’s Old City. We read on review that this is the best view of Salzburg. Too bad for us, we do not have enough time to head up the the Museum.
Everyone was getting tired and decided to head back to our lodge, while me and Mary had to pick up our rental car from Salzburg Airport (It was a Saturday and the only rental open on that day is the airport). We catch a bus from city to the airport. To catch the bus, we had to walk along the river and cross the bridge to the other side of Salzburg.
We walked towards Mirabell Palace and cut across the ground of the palace. Exiting the ground, we found another Christmas Market at Mirabellplatz.
We brought some Pretzel and some mosaic chocolate (real) from a stall across Mirabellplatz, before catching our 30 mins bus ride to the airport.
We picked up our car in the airport before heading back to our lodge for our home cooked dinner.