Monday, 15 October 2007

Today we got up and drove to Salzburg. We told ourselves we would treat this city like a long layover, since we get up the next morning and get on a train to Venice. This was hard to do after looking in the guidebook at all the fun things to do in this city. We stayed in a hotel that was a couple blocks from the train, and not a very beautiful part of the town, but the rooms were fine and they were willing to make breakfast for us the next morning at 6:15, so we couldn’t complain.

We had to part with Fia Theresa this afternoon. The kids all gave her one last sit, lamenting that we were leaving her with all sorts of crumbs and Nate’s “machomp” (a Pokémon toy) lost forever in the depths of the seats, swallowed up by old Fia. She was a good car, faithful and true for more than 2000 miles, even if she did look ridiculous.

There were two things I wanted to do in Salzburg, one was visit all the Sound of Music sights, the other was visit Mozart’s residence. We had to pick one, so we went for Mozart. On the way we got some lunch and settled on a park bench in a nearby park. The kids ran up and down the hill (racing of course), and then we discovered a playground with a magnificent slide. It was really long, covered, and slick. At the top of the tower there was Mozart music playing, and we got some great video footage of the kids and Clay shooting out, some of them landing flat on their booty at the bottom.

We found Mozart’s residence but were fairly disappointed. We heard a lot of Mozart’s music, saw some old pianos, lots of pictures, and some old music scores. The audio guide was long and tedious but I only learned a few things. Mozart had a sister that was musical, too, and their father took the two of them all over the world, showing off his child prodigies and gaining audiences with all sorts of royalty. Salzburg, which calls itself Mozart’s home, was actually not enjoyed by Mozart, who felt stifled by his patron and went out on his own when older to try to do things his own way. He got to shoot guns at targets inside the house when he was a kid. That’s about it.

After Mozart, we walked into the main city and enjoyed discovering the historic Salzburg. Coolest of all was discovering the cemetery which Sound of Music modeled their climatic cemetery scene at the end of the movie. It was cool in its own right, most of the graves had iron crosses instead of headstones since it was cheaper, and “residents” only rent their plots. Every ten years a bill is sent to the ancestors. If they don’t pay, the grave occupant gets the boot, making room for somebody else. Above the cemetery are little windows in the hills, places where hermits once lived. These looked really cool and it would have been fun to climb the hills and explore.

We made it back to the hotel fairly early, in preparation for getting up at 5:30AM to pack up and leave. No complaints from the kids, everyone was pretty tired and ready for bed. A whole new country in the morning, we’re ready for Italy and all its charm (and gelato).