Ah, Salzburg! The trip from Munchen became more exciting as we crossed the border into Osterreich on our way to a city my father frequently talked of. As a child I often looked at his set of 1924 Karl Reisenbichler drawings of this city of Mozart's birth. As we toured Salzburg on foot, I tried to imagine if we were walking in the very streets that the 157th inf. regt. GIs traversed in search of beerhalls! I know they were given a concert by the Wiener Philharmoniker. Many however,such as my father, who preferred country-western, left the concert in search of adventure! (One of my primary goals is to attend the New Year's Konzert by this great orchestra in Wien, and clap in the New Year to the Radetzki March!)
Beverly frequently talked of Salzburg also--especially when The Sound Of Music was presented on TV! She visited most of the sites in which Maria and the Von Trapp kids frolicked in the film, including the covered walkways around the outside of Mirabell Gardens. As with many places in Europe, fantasies, legends and tales seem to emanate from the stones!
As we wandered, saw Mozart's house, his wife's and father's graves, and crossed the Salzach toward the castle to the strains of music from the very excellent street musicians, many probably university students, something began to happen to me. It may have started as I tried to fathom the concept that Salzburg was old by American standards when Wolfgang was a schoolboy here!
I have listened to (as well as played) much "classical" music. Believe me, I have a comprehensive repretoire. Nothing, however, prepared me for what I experienced in Salzburg. As we entered the Dom Platz (where the German troops marched under myriad Nazi flags in The Sound Of Music), an extraordinarily-good guitarist was playing what sounded like Bach. It was a truly cathartic spiritual--yet rational--experience in which I understood, for the first time really, at some trancendental level beyond mere musical appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment what the term "classical" meant. I can still feel the essence of the experience through my 8 mm hi fi video soundtrack of the event!
It's difficult to explain but during our cog train trip up to the castle (which was a lift in Beverly's day) I felt somehow changed; perhaps God allowed me to feel like an Austrian. Or, perhaps I was a victim of my own maudlin romanticism which I so willingly subjected myself to. Whatever, the "reason" doesn't matter: the Weisbier at the burg biergarten had an especially wonderful taste and the sight of the distant Alps in the sunny haze was especially beautiful! Then the cog train broke and we had to walk down! But Salzburg's spell was not entirely broken; in true Austrian spirit our fare was refunded!
MAIN, EUROPE, LONDON, BERLIN, PARIS, AMSTERDAM, BRUGES, MUNCHEN, NURNBERG, GARMISCH