Unique and Beautiful St. Peter’s Cemetery and Monastery in Salzburg

St. Peter’s Cemetery, or Petersfriedhof, would be a famous attraction for its beauty and because it the oldest Christian graveyard in Salzburg 1627, but we, as well as most visitors, came to see where the Von Trapp family hid in The Sound of Music! To jog your memory, Mother Superior hid them among the gated crypts from the Nazis. However, the musical took liberty with the facts. The Von Trapps had time to put their affairs in order and then serenely drove across the mountains into Switzerland.

There are so many little streets and squares in Salzburg running higgly-piggly in all directions that it was a bit of a challenge to actually find the cemetery, tucked under the Monchsberg and very close to the bottom of the funicular. Two other methods of egress into the cemetery is by walking through the square of St. Peter’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery, or find the Festival Hall and walk down the street closest to the mountain.
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The Princely Apartments and Chambers: Hohensalzburg Fortress and Castle, Salzburg

Not only did Hohensalzburg Fortress serve as a fortification and temporary residence of the prince archbishops, but also served as military barracks and a prison. Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich was held captive in the fortress for five years by his nephew and successor, Markus Sittikus until his death in 1617. See and read more about Archbishop Markus Sittikus in the articles about Hellbrunn Palace; when you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

Inside Tower B were various museums and exhibits, most of which were worth seeing.  Exhibits on castle life, a gift shop, and Rainer Regiments Museum are located on the second floor, State Room on the top floor;


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The Astonishing Hohensalzburg Fortress and Castle Looms Above Salzburg

You would have to be blindfolded to miss the gigantic and imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress, looming over Salzburg and omnipresent from wherever you look. Originally built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard and subsequently enlarged between 1495-1519 by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, this is the largest, fully preserved fortress in central Europe. This massive, more than 900-year-old citadel dates back to a  controversy between the Emperor and Pope over various rights.

During the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries when the province of Salzburg was involved in the Hungarian and  Peasants’ Wars, archbishops took refuge behind these fortress battlements. It was then that the main building was enlarged, arsenal and granary erected; the fortress and its exterior has remained substantially unaltered since then. The Hohensalzburg Fortress has never been conquered by enemy troops!


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Tour the Luxurious Hellbrun Palace Rooms, Salzburg

Yes, as Mel Brooks once said, “It’s good to be King.” But, if you can’t be King, what’s wrong with being a Prince in the Seventeenth Century? Obviously nothing, indicated  by Hellbrunn Palace built as a summer pleasure palace by Salzburg’s Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems. After a fun tour of the trick fountains (Wasserspiele), Marine Steve and I entered the Palace to tour the ornate rooms using an audio headset included in the entrance price of 10.50 Euro per adult.

Markus Sittikus commissioned famous Italian architect, Santino Solari, to design a pleasure palace filled with Italian art and culture in 1612. Hellbrunn Palace was primarily used for extravagant celebrations and festivities, spectacular events and cultural highlights during the summer. Read more »

Unique and Fun Hellbrunn Palace Trick Fountains, Salzburg

Either sign up for a tour which incorporates Hellbrunn Palace with other historic sites around Salzburg, or do it yourself. Hellbrunn Palace is located 4.1 miles outside of central Salzburg; rent a bicycle, take the #25 bus (2.40 Euro each way) which stops at many locations or walk. Get a free transportation map which shows all bus routes from one of Information Offices (“I”) at the Bahnhof (train station) or on Mozartplatz; your hotel may also have a stack of maps. Each bus stop details what bus stops there, times and some show how many minutes until the next bus arrives.

Admission to fountains and palace is 10.50 Euro per person. Visitors are led through the incredible trick fountains (Wasserspiele) on a 40-minute guided tour, every 1/2 hour. Our tour was in German and English. Visitors are then welcome to take their own Palace tour using an audio headset included in the entrance price. Then take time to walk around the remaining garden area to hunt down the glass gazebo where Rolf and Liesl sang, “I am 16, going on 17…”

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Quick! Can you imagine Salzburg without the Sound of Music?

I can’t imagine visiting Austria and particularly Salzburg without lyrics and music from The Sound of Music looping through my brain over and over and over again. There may be a few people on the planet who have not watched this iconic movie but I wouldn’t know it by the many tours, museums and references all over Salzburg. A large exhibit in the Panorama Museum on Mozartplatz. A green bench in front of the museum similar to the one Maria Augusta Kutschera (the real “Maria”) sat on as she was deciding whether or not to take a position as governess to the von Trapp children, and isnide the exhibit are original family objects, documents and manuscripts depicting different stages of the family’s life and even an Edelweiss “Sing-along Station.”

Not that I need any encouragement to burst into, Up in the hill is a lonely goatherd (my favorite hiking song), or an off-tune Edelweiss. Read more »

What to Expect From a One-Star Hotel in Salzburg

First know that UNESCO World Heritage Salzburg is very expensive because of its popularity. With over 5.5 million visitors each year, why wouldn’t it be? It really frosted my rear end (pardon me) that we had to pay almost as much for a one-star hotel in Salzburg as we did for a three-star hotel in Saalbach that included dinner. If you are willing to stay outside the main city, there are less expensive hotel rates but most people want to stay close to the ancient sights in exquisite, fairy-tale looking Salzburg.

After browsing choices for days on Booking.com (on the sidebar of this page), I chose Hotel Schwarzes Rossl located in a historic building (originally an Inn in 1507 although the building was destroyed during World War II), a half block from where Mozart’s family lived, at the foot of Kapuzinerberg, close to Mirabell Palace and a five-minute walk across the Salzach River into the old city. Rates were: 104 Euro for twin with WC,  84 Euro for twin without WC and all rates include breakfast served at the cafe next door; cheese, cold cuts, yogurt, fruit, juice, rolls, coffee and tea. The cafe also has delicious ice cream; our daily go-to.

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Information About Zell am See, Austria “Altstadt” (old center)

Today was Sunday. Unfortunately the “I” (Information Office) was closed and we were unable to get detailed information to explore the Altstadt, Old Center of Zell am See. But by asking questions, wandering up and down streets and following informational signs, we did manage to see its highlights.

- The Kastnerturm Tower is also known as the Vogt Tower and Constable’s Tower. Built in 926 as an escape tower for solders and citizens of Zell am See, it was first mentioned in 926. The local history museum and office of the county’s archives are located in this tower, the oldest building in town. Abutting the tower is a Gothic building that was originally owned by a family in the Seventeenth Century.


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Information About Dazzling, Zell am See on Lake Zell, Austria

Zell am See-Kaprun is in the Pinzgau region and only a 30-minute Post Bus ride from Saalbach-Hinterglemm. The Bus stops right across from the Bahnhof (train station) and everything is within walking distance. Since the weather was supposed to be in the high 90s Fahrenheit, we decided to spend the day in this drop-dead beautiful town. Marine Steve and I did spend a week in Zell am See in 1987 and it was definitely time to return and see what’s been going on over the last 26 years.

It would take a magician to conjure up a more spectacular setting than Zell am See on the shore of turquoise Zeller Lake, or Lake Zell, surrounded by forested mountains and covered with Alpine pastures. People stand along the lake, snapping a gazillion photos, while saying out loud, “Have you ever seen anything more sublime?” I must have repeated different versions of that line every few minutes as we walked the pedestrian path circling the lake. Read more »

The Zwolferkogel Mountain in Saalbach-HInterglemm, Austria

The Zwolferkogel Mountain in Hinterglemm (down the road from Saalbach) happens to be one of my favorite hiking areas as well as of mountain bikers. A cable car goes to the middle and then continues to the top where in winter, chair lifts spread out in all directions. The only bad feature, if anything in Austria can have a bad feature, is the entire mountain is above tree line. Why bad? Austria was suffering through a brutal heat spell – 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees Fahrenheit, and with no shade, schvitz (sweat) was flying in all directions.

It truly was a “Climb Every Mountain Day…” and how wonderful to relax at the top after a 3.1 kilometer/5 mile uphill (but who is counting), watch children playing, people relaxing in lounge chairs; catching rays and drinking a cold beer. Even more trails spread out in all directions for those who take the Zwolferkogelbahn to the top and then walk around. And then, the free with Joker Card cable car ride down. How enjoyable and easy is that… YouTube Preview Image     Read more »