Nom de Plumage

January 13, 2013


The first seasons gentle snow flakes touched and then melted just as quickly upon my face. Since the drop in temperature these past two months, I have anticipated this event. You must humour me a little here because I come from a country of heat and humidity. Snow is almost a rarity and found only in the mountains, far away. I stood outside my hostel and glorified in the cold and subtle caress of the delicate flakes – pure white. Although the snow and bitter cold can dampen ones mood, today I was going to revel the feeling and just enjoy the moment. But ask me in a couple of months time and I may have a completely different opinion.

The city of Salzburg, picturesque and perfect, is dominated by a fortress nestled high upon a hill. It dominates the city, powerful and ancient, it stands overlooking and protecting this little jewel. It is my first place to visit. A small, yet steep climb the driveway and you enter a beautiful courtyard. It is the season and therefore, not many tourists congregate. There was the opt of a cable car or steps, but I thought I should do the walk Maria from my favourite musical did. Next best thing! Within the castle, was several rooms, showcasing war memorabilia from the past, marionette puppets, stately rooms and torture equipment. But the highlight, was a tour behind the scenes – narrow stairs and passageways through rooms tucked out-of-sight – places of imprisonment and torture. Narrow stairs wind their way up a steep turret that leads out on a platform at the very top overlooking Salzburg. The view was absolutely stunning. Grey clouds lay heavy and with it, bitter cold winds that permeated  your clothes. The scene was mystic and magical and although I was cold, I could not help but enjoy the landscape before me and the weather that cast a beautiful blanket of snow and haze.

With the weather being so cold, I wanted a more heartier meal for lunch and trying to find something at a reasonable price, is no small feat. It is a city that caters mainly to tourists – hence the mark-up in price. So my best bet, was to get out of the main tourist precinct. It took some walking and searching, but in the end I found a wonderful little place in narrow cobblestone road on the other side of the river and it served some traditional and very filling Austrian food. When in Austria, you cannot pass by the fried golden chicken schnitzel, with caramelised mushrooms mixed with ham and fried crisp potato wedges. All washed down with a beer. Of course!

For dessert, I walked down to the river’s edge to an iconic institute – The Hotel Sacher – for the very cake it is famous for. There is a small shop on the side of the hotel that sells the cake, but take-away and no coffee, so I had to go inside the hotels restaurant if I wanted to experience the sweet sensation. I was not very comfortable with the idea because I am dressed very ordinary and felt very out-of-place. But at no time was I made to feel uncomfortable by the hotel staff or other guests. The restaurant itself is beautiful and what I loved most was all the old photo’s decorating the walls. Each told a wonderful story – royalty, famous citizens, family members of the hotel patron – elegant men and women dressed to perfection with all their glamour and style. There was so many that I spent the little time there just enjoying the by-gone days of the early twentieth century. My waiter was so elegant and very friendly and the experience  was enjoyable. Now what about that famous cake? It is iconic and well-known and replicated around the world and just maybe the legend is out-date or over-rated? The cake is a dry heavy chocolate cake, with the centre filled with apricot jam and coated with a rich chocolate topping. It is still delicious, although somewhat plain and dry. The coffee washed down the dry remnants and although not wholly disappointed, it was not as great as I expected. But one should always try it, nonetheless.

The most famous son of the city, is none other than Mozart or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. There are several museums dedicated to the musical master, but I chose the one where he was born and spent his early childhood years in. It is the house that nurtured and exposed this genius of music. Within each room, there are paintings of the family, manuscripts well-preserved, letters between family members and between Mozart and his future wife and musical instruments. All beautifully cared for and preserved, it is a time capsule of a man whose life was so tragically cut short and yet who created such masterpieces in such a short time.

With my final stroll through the Christmas Markets to buy some treats for later on, I slowly made my way back to ,y hostel for some warming up and preparation for my departure tomorrow.

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's compositions charact...

The Café's Interior

English: Old Town Salzburg across the Salzach ...

English: Old Town Salzburg across the Salzach river (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

The original Sachertorte, as served at Vienna'...

The original Sachertorte, as served at Vienna’s Hotel Sacher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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