CACA UK, Cultural Trip to ….. SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
We recently took advantage of a cheap UK winter-sports flight to sample some classic European culture in a delightful mountain setting. You can get to Salzburg in under 2 hours from Manchester airport and land close enough to be in the city in 20 minutes. Packed with mediaeval architecture, often built into the huge rocky outcrops that dominate the centre, and peppered with elegant baroque and art nouveau details the city is small but has plenty to feast the eye. The fortress is the main attraction, perched above the river and accessed by a funicular railway. The horse and trap are a typical Austrian way to tour the city, but on foot there are pedestrianised streets and endless curious alleyways to take you to hidden cafes, shops and scenic squares. We were lucky to arrive in snow which complemented the pastel shades of the buildings perfectly. It doesn’t take you long to realise the Mozart was the city’s most iconic resident, exploited by shops, cafes, bars and chocolatiers – the Mozartkugeln is a golden ball that contains a chocolate truffle filled with praline and marzipan.
If you’re lucky your hotel may leave one on your pillow, but you can buy single ones for €0.69 at the supermarket checkout! There are concerts around the city in various beautiful locations, Figaro (a modern version) was playing at the main theatre, if that’s your thing then ask at the tourist information and you won’t be disappointed. There are two modern art galleries, palaces, gardens (though not so interesting in snow), Mozart’s birthplace,
Mozart’s home and numerous smaller museums to visit. If you want to visit the hinterland then there are tours from the city that will take you to Konigsee, Berchtesgaden, The Eagle’s Nest (Hitler’s WW11 meeting place only open after 15th May) and Salt-mines in the Bavarian Alps a 45 minute ride away; The Sound of Music tour takes you east of the city to lakes and smaller mountains. And finally for prices not out of place in a provincial UK town you can feast upon locally brewed beers (a visit to the Augustiner Brewery is a must), passable Austrian white wine and delightful cakes and pastries. Vegetarians are catered for but the staple Austrian fayre of Schnitzel, cheese noodles, dumplings, goulash, bratwurst, Kaiserschmarrn, Sacher Torte, Salzburger Nockerl is available everywhere; Japanese, Indian, Italian and Chinese restaurants are around too if you’re missing home food! Finally a few words on etiquette: cafes are usually waiter service, many will only take cash, round your bill up to include a tip, while most workers speak English use Danke (thank you) and Bitte (please) to show willing!