Friday, February 4, 2011

...And having a marvelous time!

Salzburg! Our second weekend in Austria was spent in the city of Mozart- the city of winding streets, lovely fountains, chocolate shops, Baroque churches, and of course, the Sound of Music. We celebrated Mass in the St. Francis Church with Archbishop of Salzburg, who is Professor Maria Wolter's uncle. My music group had the honor of singing for Mass. It was very cold in the church- I did not realize how cold until we began the opening hymn and could see our breath coming out in puffs.

The great fortress, called the Hohersalzburg, sits on a mountain looking over the city. Looking up, you can see it from wherever you are in Salzburg. After Mass, my friends and I climbed the steep way to the castle, pausing now and again to snap pictures of the view. Inside the main wall of the fortress, we wandered through the wide passageways, the winding tunnels, climbed the steep steps, looked over the parapets...our tour was peppered with spontaneous Lord of the Rings quotes from Brian (“They will break upon this fortress like water upon rock!”), and songs from the Sound of Music- that was me and Caroline, of course.

The castle of Salzburg

On our way back into town, we passed though the ancient cemetery of St. Peter's Abbey. This was the model for the cemetery in which the von Trapp family hides in The Sound of Music. There is a little chapel there. Wanting to say some quick prayers before dinner, we slipped inside. It was very small and dark- but the alter, adorned with shining gold, glimmered in the light of the candles. We prayed quietly- and suddenly the side doors of the chapel were flung open, and a tall, elderly priest strode up the aisle, genuflected, and began a German rosary. Elderly Salzburgers streamed into the chapel, wrapped in their winter coats, until a dozen people were present.

I inwardly thanked the Frau for teaching me the Our Father and Hail Mary in German- I was able to say the rosary with them. I imagine they were happy to hear my youthful voice join their voices. It was beautiful. After the rosary, the priest said the Benediction, and then we sang a few German hymns. I feel like we stumbled into their reality: they probably gather at five o'clock every day to pray the Rosary in that tiny chapel in the ancient cemetery, and there we were by complete chance- five college kids from the States. Well, I guess it wasn't chance- God intended for it to happen.

At the end of the day, we went to the famous Augustinerkeller. Inside, we discovered where all the Salzburgers our age were- we had hardly seen any college aged people all day- they were at the brewery, of course. We got there only forty-five minutes before closing, but it was long enough to grab a mug, rinse it out at the fountain (an old custom), and enjoy. The beer and the company were excellent.

We then walked to the Schloss Mirabell for a chamber concert. A chamber concert in Salzburg! The palace was dazzling- as was the music. We listened to Mozart's Duet for Violin and Viola in D-Major, and violin duets from his “The Magic Flute” and “Don Giovanni”. The violinist was an elderly, pleasant-looking gentleman who played more deftly and fluently than any violinist I have ever seen. That concluded our first day in Salzburg.


  1. what a perfect day!! Oh my goodness!! :)

  2. Oh, it sounds lovely! That's so neat that you got to say the rosary in German :-) I want to go back with you!!!!!