The Retirees go Abroad – Old Town Salzburg Austria

You may remember a little movie called “the Sound of Music” and that most of the movie is set in Salzburg and that most of it was shot in Salzburg. Well even though there is no organised tour you can visit some of the sights where famous scenes were shot. Like the pavilion at Schloss Hellbrun, the fountain in Residenz Square, the cemetery at St Peters and a few other sights. Well I can give you the fountain and the Duomo of Salzburg, the cemetery at St Peters but not the Pavilion as we were too tired and wet for reasons I will explain. I have also included a shot of a large ball with a figure on top for which I can give no explanation.

St Peter’s Cemetery is where the Von Trapp family hid from the Brown Shirts after their performance. It is a beautiful cemetery with some unusual aspects like its gated tombs to the chapel built into the rock wall and the gardens in the graves themselves.

Hohensalzburg Castle sits directly above the city and was the place of power and protection for the Prince Bishops of Salzburg. Although it has the oldest working funicular (originally powered by horses) it is now used for delivery of goods whilst a modern funicular give visitors access to the castle.

After arriving in the castle grounds, we made our way to the courtyard via one of the well heads and via the keep passing a marionette theatre which included the Von Trapps.  The keep was made up of a square tower not much like the fortified keeps of English castles. In the courtyard was a quaint church and a display on the changes to the castle over time. We also saw the old funicular as it is today still used to cart goods in and out of the castle.

In the state rooms we did not see much of the life of the bishops but rather a military museum. However the doors and door jambs were remarkable with the jambs made in marble. There were a number of tiled stoves (apparently Salzburg was a leader in these when they were popular) and one section of wall where during recent remodelling they found that a much earlier wall had been bricked in and they have left it open for visitors to see the earlier construction.

Other displays included medieval weapons and armour, a chapel, a kitchen and musical instruments. The kitchen had a quaint exhaust system for fouled water. A purpose built hole in the wall.

We were also able to get a view of the monastery we had visited previously or at least a little part of the walls and watch towers.After the castle we visited the Bendictine Monastery where Mother Superior sang “Climb Every Mountain” but photo opportunities were limited.

Then off to catch the bus (that bus pass came in very handy) to Schloss Hellbrun and the Folk Museum. This is a palace without a bedroom. The Bishop for whom it was built only wanted a day residence and he wanted to have fun so it is filled with water traps for his guests and todays visitors. If you visit don’t expect to stay dry. There are many little water operated dioramas including one that ends with a fountain on its audience.

Our visit to the folk museum was a bit of an afterthought – after we had walked in the opposite direction. It turned out to be a short version of the trek to the Ice Caves without a cable car and perhaps not worth the effort. Here are the photos for you to decide.

As we were leaving Schloss Hellbrun I noticed this lovely line of flowers with the colours lined to create a dazzling display. After leaving the palace of trick fountains and long walks, we finished the day by visiting the Mozart Steg – the final place of residence for Mozart in Salzburg. Well talk about disappointing. There seemed to be more about things that were not Mozart and we found out when we visited Mozart’s home where he grew up that all the good stuff was over there. Anyway this is what the front door to his last home in Salzburg looks like.

The Retirees go Abroad – the Devils Bridge and the village of Sillico

Today we set out to see some of the smaller villages around Lucca. First port of call was Borgo a Mozzano which is best known for Ponte della Maddalena also called “del Diavolo” (Devil’s Bridge). The Devil’s Bridge is located about one kilometre north of the town. According to the historical notices beside the bridge it was first built to provide the Lombards with safe passage through their territories avoiding conflict with other tribes of the area. Then the present day bridge with its extraordinary engineering was commissioned by Countess Mathilde di Canossa in or around 1500. The bridge’s majestic structure attracts thousands of tourists every year.

The legend/myth about the bridge is that when the bridge was being built the devil said to the people of the village that he would enable the bridge to be built if he could have the first soul to cross the bridge. This troubled the Mayor until an old farmer said go ahead with the bridge I will give up the first soul. The bridge was built and the farmer told everyone to stay clear while he coaxed his pig to cross the bridge. The devil was so irate he threw himself off the bridge and never returned.

After spending an idyllic hour eating a picnic lunch under the trees near the bridge we pushed on to find a hot water spring Pra del Lama shown on our map. We searched high and low to find this spring even to the point where we were confronted with a track along the spine of a hill which I think even the Romans rejected. But we lived to tell the tale. Instead we ended up in Sillico (I think we were silly co), a pretty village on the peak of a hill/mountain where we got some great photos.

The Retirees go Abroad – Verona Overnight

David and Veronica are now on their way to Rome and we head north to Salzburg in Austria. We have broken the trip into two parts – Lucca to Verona and Verona to Salzburg. We are hoping that we will get away from the heat for a while.

Travelling north through the heart of Italy we saw much the same scenery that abounded in Tuscany and it did not get much cooler. As it was an overnight we stayed in the Best Western CTC Verona. Tommy got terribly confused and took us miles from our destination but eventually we arrived. Quickly we unpacked and drove into the old town of Verona principally to see the balcony from which Juliette received those immortal words “Juliette, Juliette wherefore art thou Juliette”.

We found the parking station and walked through the old gate and ran smack into a Roman Amphitheatre. Verona has managed to preserve this historic part of its Roman history and today uses it for less violent activities. Presently they are preparing the stage for an Egyptian themed production.

Kerry was indisposed when I heard drums chants and whistles outside the arena. Maybe they have caught a Christian or two for the lions I thought but no it was a protest of some sort – most boring. We then headed into the streets of old Verona in search of a Shakespearean experience. Past dress shops and shoe shops and bag shops – hard work I can tell you until we saw the sign. There in front of us was a Japanese bus tour – they had found Juliette’s balcony.

We could not leave it there we had to find Romeo’s pad. Back into the street armed with a tourism map marked with all the sights, we found the Palace, Palazzo della Ragione, the Palais of Justice, the old city well, a church with grand tombs around it and a Square dedicated to a famous French writer whose name I have forgotten. Almost at our wits end we found it – a most unimposing place and no Japanese tour thronging to photograph it. In fact to our surprise, the current resident suddenly appeared – no not Romeo but who knows maybe a Capulette?

Verona was a surprising city with its pretty building its markets and the mobile market stands, its three wheeled eco cleaning utilities, and it’s pretty women. Dinner was a shared pizza in the shadow of the Roman Arena before going home with the prettiest woman.