23.06.2011 - 23.06.2011 17 °C
The breakfast this hostel offers in the mornings for free! is fantastic value. We paid 6 euros each for this same buffet in Berlin! We woke up still tired from the days before. We drank a few cups of coffee and relaxed. We planned what we’d do this grey day knowing the skies would open any minute. What we did not anticipate was a holiday Thursday, it was Corpus Christi.
St. Margaret's Chapel
We left the hostel with a list of things to see. We started wandering through old town and found ourselves starting at a new/old working waterwheel. A baker in the building’s basement had decided to have a waterwheel (re)installed. It actually generates the energy to grind the grain inside. It was installed in 2005. Very cool, I wish I had one. One right turn later and we were inside the graveyard of St. Peter’s. Here is thought to have been the site of a graveyard since around the year 700. It was left for abandonment in 1878 until 1930 when new burials were granted. Many of the tombstones we saw were from the last 30 or so years. The graveyard is the most beautiful I have ever seen. Flowers and plants decorate every tomb with a bounty of colour and texture. The most common flower we saw was the pansy, because it’s name means ‘thoughts’. If I must ever be buried please do this to my grave. (grow things on it) St. Margaret’s Chapel stands in the middle of the yard. On the front of the building in large numbers is inscribed ‘1491’ the year it was rebuilt.
We left the graveyard, where the scene in the Sound of Music the von Trapp’s are hiding behind tombstones was filmed and went into St. Peter’s Abbey. This is the oldest existing monastery in the German speaking countries (so Germany and Austria?) and was first started in 696. However, there has been remains found of walls dating back to the 5th century! It was a brilliant church and had the most interesting decorations, 18th century baroque style leaves and vines adorning the entire ceiling painted in a pale green on white walls. Gorgeous.
After this visit we peaked our heads in the Salzburg Cathedral, where mass was happening (1st clue!) We walked up a hill with panoramic views of the city and walked back down the other side. We ended up quite lost and very far out of the way. We found our way back using tunnels carved underneath a hill (a rock) to Universitatsplatz where we watched 5 young boys playing (very enthusiasticly) traditional folk music. There was dancing and clapping, the crowd was having a great time. We walked down Getreidgasse (the street with all the signs) and finally to lunch where we had delicious food and two Mozartkugel from the authentic Paul Furst (at 1 euro a piece!!) the only confectioner still making them by hand. Hopefully we save enough to share when we get home!
We cross the river in search of a grocery store to buy said Mozartkugel at a far better price. It was closed on a Thursday (2nd clue!) which alerted us to the fact that it must be a holiday. We stepped inside the next hotel we saw and asked. Indeed it was, later I figured out that Austria has 13 holidays in a year, 3 of which are in June this year! (There was a holiday when we were in Vienna too.) So annoying! Nevertheless, we found Mirabellgarten and sat down for a rest.
While we were sitting, a very large group of Indian men came through the courtyard following a female tour guide. A few of them broke off, one second I was watching two of them holding hands as they walked toward us and the next we were in a picture seated next to one of them. They had asked to take a picture and as I went to get up and take the camera they said no and to sit down, they wanted a picture with us! They snapped away and asked if we were Austrian. We aren’t really so we said no and they left for the next group of people they saw, who happened to be some Japanese or something. We laughed hard about that one, we expected cameras to come out and someone to say we were on candid camera! They did it to many people, I wonder if they thought it was as funny as we did?
The gardens were beautiful and later in the evening when we watched the Sound of Music we would recognize many features of the park throughout the movie. Just as we finished our tour it began to rain. Hard. We scurried back to our hostel as it was a bit of a walk away. We got there just in time, a torrential downpour was the order of the evening. We, unfortunately, stayed inside the hostel the remainder of the day, we are both made of sugar and don’t like getting soaking wet.