This was one of those days where little moments to treasure just make the whole trip worth it. Having power walked my way around the city on Friday afternoon I hopped on a bus out to Schloss Hellbrunn, which is about 20 minutes outside the city boosted by some dire coffee (I’ve always said the best coffees can’t be found in the bakeries which do the best cakes, this wasn’t an exception). With an official tour to the same castles its around €40, local buses are around €3 – just note the irregular times on holiday weekends. The castle is small but set in large grounds and a ticket to the water games gets you an audioguide for the interior. Since I snapped a selfie with a broomstick the day before and uploaded it to their facebook I was given free entry (yay). The castle itself is a little bare, but the music room is spectacular. The grounds extend behind the castle enclosing ponds, lakes and statues along with tree lined paths reaching up to to a small winter house (now a museum) and the zoo.
The water games take place in closed gardens behind the house and is based on a similar villa near Milano. Basically unsuspecting tourists get occasionally drenched by the funny guide who presses random buttons for the water to spit out from hidden places around the garden. It was pretty amusing with the group quickly learning not to stand on any part of the grounds where the floor was already wet. The route leads through some grottos, past fountains, small canals and mini figurines leading up to one spectacular finish at a miniature town square with canons saluting the passing tourists with yet more water.
From there I caught another bus over to Schloss Leopoldskron where the house of the von Trapp family (from the Sound of Music) sits beside a peaceful lake. With so many shades of enveloping the house (sadly closed to the public) and nestled among autumn trees against a backdrop of the castle I couldn’t take enough pictures. This post should probably be called Salzburg from 360 degrees, but who can resist with this kind of scenery!
Its quite close to the city – albeit on the other side of a hill, only a quick 15 minute walk away. The winding paths brought me up to the hill beside the castle, where an old fort overlooks the mountains. Here I briefly chatted with an elderly man who appointed himself as my tour guide for a short while and proceeded to give me all the historical information about Salzburg along with plenty of life advice (mainly about relationships “alle leute sind menschen, aber nicht alle menschen sind personen, und nur die personen sind die wichtige leute im leben”) he had learnt in his +65 years of marriage. These random moments are what make holidays special and are unique things to really treasure.
The short chat and stroll drew to a close and I wandered off to the other places in the park I had been directed too – a cafe overlooking the city (with a perfect picnic bench just on the other side of the old walls separating it from the woods), the museum of modern art and the church past the old fort entrance on the other side of the hill.
Watching the sun setting over the mountains from that same hill topped off the cool evening, followed by a stroll back through town, where singing led me to an emptying church and a candle-lit graveyard ceremony to remember the dead (one of those moments which can’t be represented by pictures) which was finished off by a group showing of the Sound of Music back in the hostel – apparently its shown every night! No wonder I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow…