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Do I sound a little tired by now?  Yeah, I hear it too.  Salzburg was yet another lesson in balance and conscious, non-judgmental awareness of my physical and emotional states.  Do I sense a theme developing on this trip?  It wasn’t until halfway through Day 3 that I realized how exhausted I was – walking zombie-like through the Altstadt yet again, looking for something to do so that my trip would be absolutely full, so that I wouldn’t have wasted a minute.  Knees stiff from walking everywhere, including many trips up and down the five flights of stairs to my hotel room each day.  Still, gotta do more…gotta do more…  Stop.  Breathe.  Listen within.  Gotta do more…ah, that old chestnut!  The sickening seesaw ride of too much/not enough, knee-jerk protection against the voices that say “You can be tired when you’re dead!” or “Geez, stop complaining already.”  Do you know those voices?  I know them well by now.  The voices in my head of judgment, of pushing through, of gotta-prove-you-are-worthy.  So exhausting, those voices.  Enough already!  (It took me until about 2pm to wake up and say that.)

Still, I have to report that much seeing of sights did get done in those hours before I woke up and as gingerly as possible put the screaming voices of too much/not enough to bed for the day.

First stop: the Festung Hohensalzburg.  The big white fortress atop the hill, remember?  I hiked my weary body up that steep hill (it did feel good, despite the pain inside the screaming thighs) and caught my first beautiful vista of the day.

Trivia: the first settlements in Salzburg belonged to the Celts in pre-Christian times, but the city of Salzburg itself was started in the early 700’s by an archbishop who wanted his own bishopric on the river.  The fortress’s construction began in 1077 and was built on for centuries thereafter, which is why it has its distinctively disjointed architecture.  (I have a personal interest in learning how the Celts moved across Europe from the Caucasus to Ireland, so knowing that I am so near early Celtic settlements is kind of exciting to me.)

Some of my favorite pictures from the fortress are of the life currently there – the beautiful tree in front of the chapel, the billowing geraniums hanging out of ancient windows, the moss still climbing the craggy walls.  I also got a kick out of some of the interesting artifacts, like the tavern sign that showed, even long ago, how important beer and pork were to the Germanic peoples; and the iron witch that hung over a window in the old kitchen.  (I love that witch!  It reminds me that my favorite time of year, Autumn/Samhain/Halloween, is swiftly on its way.)  Please notice also the awesomely beautiful sundial painted on the side of the chapel.  Inside the fortress was a large exhibition about the military history of the fortress.  For some reason it surprised me, although of course the fortress was always all about defense and warriorship.  Still my favorite piece in the exhibition was a guitar carved with the names of many men – perhaps the owner’s regiment?  I don’t know, I couldn’t read the sign.  But I loved the guitar itself.

Coming down off the mountain, I wandered the Sunday morning streets of the Altstadt for a while, visiting a colorful yarn shop, a farmer’s market in the Grün Markt (how perfect), and what might be my favorite advertisement ever for a spiritual book.  (It’s in the slideshow.)  Peeking into my new favorite chocolate shop, I spied the chocolate-dripped bust of Mozart which made me giggle.  Along the way I came across this lovely quartet playing Italian music in the Residenzplatz:

Then there was the stop for Salzburger Nockerl…see three posts back for that deliciosity.

And…then began the wandering.  I was done with the city, but somehow worked myself up into an expectation that I must do more, see more, so I could report more.  Of course there is so much to do in the city that I could have done a hundred things, but I finally realized that I didn’t want to do any of it; I felt done, really, and wanted to head out.  So I finally noticed the urge and followed it, with one not-so-quick stop on my way out of town: I just had to scale the Untersberg.

The Untersberg isn’t a terribly high mountain (1800m) but it is a landmark of Salzburg, and the mountain on which Julie Andrews twirled in her novitiate’s dress to the rising strings before breaking out into the famous refrain, “The hills are alive…”  I wasn’t burning to go there, but I wanted to see it and it was well worth it.  It was nice to walk in the silence, in the fresh-scrubbed mountain air, among the high-flying black crows and diminutive alpine blooms and mountain-breaking-turning-to-rock pathways.  I stayed up there for an hour, came down and had a surprisingly good plate of the usual (you know by now, right?), then headed home to my now-familiar hotel room in the rolling hills of Middle Bavaria.

Salzburg is definitely a highlight of any trip to Europe; beautiful, chock-full of history and culture, and very welcoming to the approximately 6 million visitors it receives each year!  I’m so glad I went, and would go back in a heartbeat.