Just returned from our trip to Salzburg and other European destinations. What a fantastic trip! We were blessed with absolutely perfect weather the entire time. We picked up our car in Munich and drove down to Salzburg on Friday evening. We arrived at dusk, so finding our hotel while navigating the streets of Salzburg was a bit of a challenge. But, no thanks to Google maps, we eventually found it. We stayed at the NH Salzburg City on Franz Joseph Strasse. It was a nice enough hotel--nothing spectacular. We opted to park on the street rather than pay for the hotel parking, which resulted in the car being a couple of blocks away. Attn SOM fans: channel 46 in the hotel broadcasts the movie on a continuous loop. Don't know if that is city-wide.
We ate at Alter Fuchs restaurant around the corner from the hotel, and enjoyed it very much. It has what I classify as kind of a rathskeller feel, being partially below sidewalk level. I should say that we are a family of four, with daughters 14 and 10. One of them is a fairly picky eater, but she fared very well during our trip. We were going to walk around a bit after dinner, but encountered sleet and ice pellets (the only bad weather for the whole trip). We figured it was God's way of telling us to go get some sleep.
Next day brought a glorious morning. We ate breakfast at one of the local bakeries, then hit the road up to Mondsee. Part of our visit was SOM-motivated, so we wanted to visit the cathedral there. We opted to do the SOM stuff on our own, partially to save money, and partially just for the adventure of finding things for ourselves. We went to Mondsee not knowing whether we'd be able to actually go into the cathedral, and were pleasantly surprised the we could.It is truly beautiful, and a highlight of our trip. Having gone on our own, we were very happy to not be rushed around according to someone else's schedule. Mondsee itself is very charming, and we could have spent the better part of a day (or more) up there. Back down to Salzburg we went, however, in pursuit of our further objectives.
Next was Leopoldskron, which wasn't too difficult to find. It is, of course, where the back-of-the-house scenes were filmed. After that we set our sights on Hellbrunn, where the gazebo is now located. I was working with a hotel map that was cut off right where I needed information and, as it turns out, wasn't even in the right neighborhood. The unfortunate result of this driving around was that I hit something with the right front tire, causing a flat that required towing the car to the local Volvo dealership. Oh well, we didn't let it ruin our trip. We had a lavish dinner at the McDonalds right by the dealership (hey, Mickey D's is a lot nicer in Salzburg than it is here!) :-) then took the bus back to the vicinity of the hotel.
We woke to another gorgeous day on Monday, and headed out to breakfast and all of the sights accessible on foot. This really includes most of Salzburg. We hit Mirabellplatz, then went over to Old Town. After strolling up Getreidegasse, we went up the lift by the Museum of Modern Art. We hiked the trail along the ridge above Old Town. It was such a spectcular view, and is a wonderful way to just take it all in. After spending quite a while on the mountain, we came back down the lift and walked up Franziskanergasse to St. Peters, where we strolled through the old cemetery. It is a peaceful, beautiful place, and highly recommended. Down through Residenzplatz we went, where we unfortunately found the horse fountain (Residenzbrunnen) under a large wooden structure. It must be undergoing some restorative work. Down through Mozartplatz and across the Mozartsteg we went. For SOM fans, this is the footbridge crossed by Maria and the children during "Do-Re-Mi." By this time we had to go fetch our car from the dealer.
We had some daylight left, and now being in the know about the actual location, headed to Hellbrunn to see the gazebo. We had had our expectations lowered so much about the gazebo that we were pleasantly surprised about it. It was late in the day, and Hellbrunn was shut down. We didn't even have to pay to park. There were several people strolling and jogging through the garden, so we felt comfortable walking through the large gap in the wall to get to the gazebo. We took our silly pictures and sang our silly songs without any attention from anyone. Still a little daylight left, so we set out to find nearby Frohnburg, which is where the front-of-the-house SOM scenes were filmed. I recommend you access Frohnburg by traveling on Alpenstrasse south from town, then turn right on Frohnburgweg. The signs indicate no car traffic (although there is some local traffic), so I opted to park on the street across from the police station, then walk along Frohnburgweg and the Hellbrunner Allee around to the back of the house. More silly pictures and silly songs ensued.
We came back down to Old Town and miraculously found a good parking space. We headed across the street to Gasthaus zum Wilden Mann. Rick Steve's had warned about the smoke there, but it appears to be non-smoking now. At any rate, we had a delightful dinner there, then headed back to the hotel.
On our last day, we went to the Mozart Geburthaus in Old Town. Some have downplayed the interest of this site versus where Mozart lived in later years. but I found the Geburthaus to be very interesting. We spent quite a bit (probably 1 1/2 - 2 hours) of time there. We had other destinations in Germany and beyond, so we reluctantly bade farewell to Salzburg.
This is just a beautiful and fascinating city. It is charming and very walkable. We felt safe there at all times of day and night. In fact, a fellow at the NH told me he had lived there 2 1/2 years and not heard of a single robbery. We had many other things we intended to see, and can't wait to go back!