This is a gust post.
As is rightly said by St. Augustine, “The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page!” Travel destinations are one and many. A Google search will give you a list of the most sought-for tourist attractions in the world. In my personal opinion and experience as a backpacker however, exploring those country-sides and hopping on trains connecting smaller towns is a much more pleasant experience for those who wish to get a true tinge of the local culture and traditions. Trotting across Europe has by far been the best experience. The unparallel connectivity with the local rail network gives you the freedom to travel without having to plan really. One such destination that I stumbled upon struck a beautiful chord that makes me smile to this day! They don’t call it Mozart’s shrine for nothing! Comfortably nestled in Western Austria’s mountains lies the beautiful city of Salzburg where art and music lovers, lonely travelers and campers alike quench their thirst and return satisfied with whatever they came looking for, inner peace, a glimpse of the royal life and class walking hand in hand or splendid landscapes, all under one roof!
Salzburg is easily accessible by road and by Intercity and Eurocity rail services connecting it to all major cities like Berlin, Prague and Rome. Salzburg airport too houses international flights but if you wish to cut down on those added expenses, travelling by road or by train is much better. Besides the landscapes are so breathtaking that you won’t realize where all that time just flew by! Much of the old town is accessible by foot. For the rest of the city, buying single tickets for bus and tram rides in advance saves you some money. I was lucky enough to stay at a Youth Hostel where the caretaker had a heart bigger than his smile and he just gave away some free travel tickets!
One of the most ‘Must Visits’ includes Festung Hohensalzburg, the mighty fortress atop a cliff where you could spend a day digging, though history of course, in the Fortress Museum. Its grandeur and the view of the city from its top cannot and should not be missed. Next in line is Mozarts Geburtshaus, the great music icon’s birthplace. The house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 today showcases a museum that takes you through the work and life of this celebrated composer. Some of the famous exhibits include Mozart’s violin when he was a child, his clavichord and his portraits. It’s not ironic then that the bright yellow accorded to the museum makes it stand out, just like Mozart’s own work!
Also lies in the heart of the old town, the Residenz Palace. It strikes a sense of awe with every visitor as the architectural and decorative grandeur display the renaissance and the classical periods in its paintings and frescos! For those who wish to indulge in a more spiritual experience, the Salzburg Cathedral with its magnificent façade and the grand dome gives you a feeling of inner peace. For those interested in getting a glimpse of the local wildlife, the Salzburg Zoo at Anifer Landesstrasse houses both native and exotic animals. If you have children in your group, this could be a ‘natural’ choice. Craving for some unique experiences too? Slip into a mine suit and descend to the depths of the earth where you could visit a salt mine in a joyride on a train passing through those dark tunnels and bordering with neighboring Germany! All in all, a thoroughly fulfilling experience! And don’t you worry about wandering for as Tolkien puts it, “Not all those who wander are lost!” What better place than Salzburg to do that anyway?!
The author, Saroj Joshi, is a freelance writer and a professor at the Alliance Française.