Austria: Salzburg Fortress Hohensalzburg

Travel Date : 15th -16th June 2013

Location: Salzburg State, Austria

{ This is a continuation of the First Post on Salzburg }

Fortress Hohensalzburg 

Official Website

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Fortress Hohensalzburg ( Festung Hohensalzburg ) is prominent. Stepping into the Salzburg Old Town, you would see it perched on top of the mountain majestically.

After exiting the Salzburg Dom, we have to walk across a huge square with this unique structure as the centre piece. In between the columns of the building, there were musicians playing music, artists drawing caricature or displaying their landscape art. In the square itself, there were stalls selling all the souvenirs of Salzburg. We eventually got a shot glass and a model of Salzburg, featuring Fortress Hohensalzburg.

Funicular Ride

We purchased the tickets for the ride up the funicular, a cable railway in which the car looks like a tram. It was to be our first time with Dar on it so we were quite excited. As they have certain timing, we waited for a while before we could board. Meanwhile, Dar looked at the model of the trains and dreamt that he could have them…

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We got into the funicular and Dar was a bit apprehensive, holding onto the railings. At the start, it did give a strong jolt before moving so we have to hold on just in case. After that, it was rather smooth and fast. We had a bird’s-eye view of the entire Salzburg area. So cool!

We reached the castle very soon and got to a viewing area where we could just stand and look at the entire cityscape below. Someone asked us to help take a picture so we asked him to take one too and he was quite good, like that Japanese lady at Neuschwanstein Castle. We were really thankful for that. (There were several times when people just took pictures of the three of us without any background information…no use when we need to show where it was taken).

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It was time for exploration after we finished looking at the cityscape. The first thing we always look for when we are in a new place is the MAP. It showed that we need to follow a route by going towards the tower. Therefore, we headed towards it. Dar was most excited because of the stairs.

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Marionette Museum

We walked up and entered the Marionette Museum. The place was quite small and a number of people were in it so we have to observe each display fast or we would be blocking others. There was a wall with information on the brief history of the creator of the Marionettes. As the room was dimly lit, it did feel a bit eerie to walk in it with the lifeless figures staring back at us. They were quite big puppets and my favourites were the ones in court dress (Below: the third pic) That’s Mozart playing the piano.

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Fortress Cannons 

Exiting the museum, we walked along another section of the fortress and found a cannon. It was how the fortress was guarded during those days. We told Dar some information about cannons and why they are placed like that.

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Another gallery room featured models of the castle and the bullets were on display. I found it interesting to view the inside of the bullets.

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Military Displays

We walked through several sections of the fortress which mostly consists of exhibits of military stuff. Occasionally, we would point the facts out to Dar and tell him in simple terms. We are not really fans of such stuff as we prefer cultural things and thus found the exhibits rather dry. Or maybe like what Vin mentioned, “After Neuschwanstein Castle, every other castle seems to pale in comparison.”

However, we perked up on entering this last area showing the ‘instruments of torture’. Not that we are sadists but we feel for those suffering under these instruments, especially THAT seat. Vin noticed that the centre piece was tilted at an angle to ‘add-on’ to the spikes. How agonizing!

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It took us about 45 minutes to walk through the entire fortress area with exhibits. We were dead beat after that as by this point, we had done a lot of walking tours.

It was a hot afternoon and the sun was scorching. We walked out into the huge compound and sat on a bench under a tree, just enjoying the rest.

Dar noticed these building blocks and wanted to build his own castle under the hot sun and did so for a while. Unfortunately, a little girl came and snatched away his blocks when he was half-way through. I don’t understand why certain kids like to snatch. No parental guidance? There were plenty of blocks around but she have to destroy his painstakingly half-built towers and keep them in her arms. Nope. She didn’t attempt to build anything but just held onto the blocks and grab as many as she could. Her parent was standing there nonchalant. We intervened by taking Dar away since he couldn’t play anymore.

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Waterworks

We then took the funicular down and pleasantly found a little waterworks area while exiting the Bahn. The device showed how the buckets were drawing water from the pond and got transferred to another point, recycling it. A pair of mandarin ducks were swimming in it and Dar had fun watching them. The water splashes bought some respite from the hot sun and we went into an informative gallery showing how water was delivered and the tools they used in historical times. Some of the figures and objects in the landscape exhibits were moving. Quite well-made!

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Opening Hours: 9:00 -19:00
Entrance Fee: Adults (11 Euro) & Children Below 6 yrs old (Free)
Includes: Entrance to three museums and funicular ride up and down.

 Mozart Square

We can’t visit Salzburg without going to take a look at Mozart’s House, where he was born. Unfortunately, we walked to a wrong place and gave up on finding it.

Instead, we strolled along the streets to look at the highly commercial shops and found a LOT of shops selling Mozart’s chocolates. We got curious and bought one small box to try (Very expensive!). It was with a special centre but popping one into our mouth, it melted quite fast and tasted just like normal chocolates. Couldn’t tell the difference much! Anyway, the packaging was quite nice. We kept it as a souvenir.

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The Square was nice with a fountain and a statue of Mozart. We took some pictures here and decide to head back towards our hotel. It was nearly evening and places of attraction were closed for the day. We tried exploring other parts but our legs were giving way as we had walked for almost the entire day.

Here’s some other pictures we took:

Dinner was settled in Burger King along the busy street we crossed just now. Dar enjoyed sitting and observing the trams passing by.

[ Mozart’s House & Salzach River ]

After dinner, we decided to try Mozart’s House again, found it and took a picture of it. We hadn’t plan to visit it before coming to Salzburg so we didn’t know it was named, “Mozart Geburtshaus” (info site). It was painted bright yellow among all the greyish buildings with the name in shining gold.

As we strolled along the banks of the Salzach river, we decided to head to a bridge. Many people were standing there and we wanted to experience it too. We were rather surprised to see a huge number of ‘love-locks’ on the fences and said, “No wonder we saw these locks sold in shops just now.”

It seemed like a ‘tradition’ in Europe to do that. They had names of lovers on each lock to signify their love is locked forever and nobody can separate them. Key was probably thrown into the river. ^_^ Standing on the bridge and watching the sun set, it really felt quite romantic. The quaint landscape around us enhanced the atmosphere. Maybe some proposals were even done on this bridge.

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We headed back towards our hotel which was on the other side of the bridge away from the Old Town Area.

After a moment of discussion, we walked towards the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof instead and purchased train tickets for tomorrow’s trip. I regretted after that because we GOT LOST again!!! I really can’t believe we took the wrong path again after exiting the train station, making the same mistake twice. I thought we both nailed it but we still made a wrong turn.

Yes, we have the city map with us but it was not much use when small roads or certain pedestrian paths were not shown. We ended up walking into deeper streets with tall buildings surrounding us. It was a quiet area. There was no one around. We were still calm and waited for someone to pass by. Fortunately, we encountered a friendly couple and they pointed us down a road. We were many, many streets away!

In the end, we wasted so much time just returning back to the hotel. All we wanted was to sleep and tackle another full day of tour at Hallstatt tomorrow.

[ Location ]

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{Next : Our Visit to Hallstatt Salt Mines }