A Concert in Salzburg

Monday we moved on to Salzburg for a day. We bought tickets online for a little classical concert, because that’s what happens in Salzburg. Getting there was a bit stressful: an accident caused the tracks to be closed in front of our train. Everyone got off the train, and hoped for buses to Vienna. We took the first bus which went only just past the closure; a train there took us to Vienna. And amazingly, we were able to stuff into another train to Salzburg that left 10 minutes later. I have no idea what happened to everyone else on the Budapest train.

During this whole fiasco, we kept wondering if we would miss the concert we’d paid for. But we got there just in time to take a cab to the hotel and walk to the concert and not miss any of it. A dazzling Greek violinist and a respectable Greek pianist played Mozart (required in Salzburg), Beethoven, Franck, and Ravel. They all sounded as you would expect (you can tell it’s Beethoven if it would fit in A Clockwork Orange), except that the Ravel was Tzigane, a wild violin fantasy nothing like the Ravel I was used to. After the show, we had excellent food off a late-night pub menu at Zum fidelin Affen.

Tuesday, we walked around in the church downtown, and decided to get a 24-hour Salzburg Card, which unlike other cities’ cards offering discounts, provided “free” admission to all the major attractions. We worked hard and got our money’s worth. The Salzburg Museum had an exhibit of Lois Renner, a photographer who builds sets not unlike David LaChapelle, but without beautiful or famous people. The ad for it featured The Barberini Faun sitting at a weight machine. The museum also had extensive exhibits about the history of the city. The adjacent Panorama Museum has a cylindrical mural of the town. The Mozart Birthplace had a tour examining Mozart’s entire life. History has recorded every night of his life, where he slept. Even though there were relatively few such nights, it’s still an OC achievement.

By then everything was closing, so before dark we went to the Mirabell Gardens and hunted down a collection of dwarf statues we’d seen a picture of, and had well-recommended Korean food at the nearby Hibiskus, followed by a dessert which was not a Torte at the Sacher Hotel. (It was a Savarin and it was fine. Everybody else in the lobby where we ate was standing up wearing suits and drinking champagne and getting canap├ęs off of platters passed around. It is a measure of the good manners of the staff of the Sacher Hotel, that they made no effort to get rid of us.)

Wednesday we completed the 24 hours of our card with a visit to The Fortress, ascending on its funicular. The funicular has been around for hundreds of years, powered originally by a horse powered mill-like wheel. It was your basic castle tour, including a small military museum. We walked back into town and saw a small art museum featuring William Kentridge, a South African artist who we’d seen works of at SFMoMA. He’d been in town designing the sets for a production of the opera Wozzeck.

The card timed out, and we stopped at a cemetery behind the church of St. Sebastian with elaborate mausolea on our way to retrieve our luggage and proceed to Munich. Paracelsus is buried there.