Monday, January 21, 2019

in which Nick purchases a dapper hat and i imagine Climbing Every Mountain {The Great European Road Trip Day 8: Salzburg, Austria to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany}

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Day 5
Day 6

Day 7

Sunday in Salzburg: i have now experienced this joy twice in my life, and i am convinced it is a foretaste of heaven. you wake up to the pealing of bells from churches all over the town, some deep and sonorous, some light and ethereal. but the bells are just the beginning. as you meander up and down the cobbled streets, you will pass churches who celebrate their choral mass not only with a choir but with a full orchestra. for my professional musician husband and my amateur musician self, Salzburg is paradise on earth. (in fact, when Nick and i were here in 2012, we spent a good portion of Saturday scoping out the music posted outside each church's door to choose where we wanted to attend mass the next day -- Mozart? Haydn? Schubert? -- and, finding it too difficult to decide, we went to two masses in a row.)

well, i knew the experience of mass attendance would be a bit different with two little ones in tow, but we were all still excited that morning as we ate breakfast in the hotel lobby. the girls and i all dressed in our dirndls, much to the amusement of the hotel staff. i realized too late that i hadn't packed any stockings for myself, and the combination of bare legs and ankle boots looked so ridiculous that i almost changed my outfit. but many Austrians still wear traditional dress to mass or for special occasions, and i decided to just roll with it.

we drove over to the Cathedral, dropped Father off as close as we could get so he could con-celebrate mass, and then found parking. as expected, the mass was absolutely beautiful. hearing an orchestral mass performed in the church where it was composed (or in one very similar) adds so much beauty to the liturgy. the Salzburg Cathedral (or Dom) was founded by St. Rupert in 774 on the remains of a Roman town. it was rebuilt multiple times over the centuries, and it was here that Mozart was baptized in 1756.

inside the cathedral (photo credit: Angel)

photo credit: Angel

during mass, the girls did alright for a while, and then Greta announced that she had to use the bathroom. i quietly took the girls to the back of the church, but couldn't see any sign for a restroom. just outside the vestibule is the cathedral museum, so we walked up there to ask at the desk. by this point Greta was practically hopping around and exclaiming "i need to go now! i need to go now!" the girl at the desk told us there was a public WC around the corner, so off we went. of course it was a pay WC -- you had to put a 50 cent piece in the mechanism on the door to open the stall. and did i have a 50 cent coin? no, i did not. i had €1 and €2 coins, 20 cent and 10 cent coins, basically every other coin besides a 50 cent one. i tried putting a €1 coin in just to see if it would open, and no luck. there was no change machine or attendant there. not knowing what else to do, i marched the girls to a nearby vendor stall to buy a small souvenir for the sole purpose of getting change (so of course the item in question had to be priced at a 0.50 increment). we ended up with a cuckoo clock magnet, and ran back to the WC where Greta finally was able to use the bathroom.

by the time that we made it back into the cathedral, the Liturgy of the Eucharist had begun. the girls and i walked up so i could receive Communion and they got a huge kick out of seeing Father Aron with the other priests. when mass had finished, Cecilia needed a diaper change so i took her back to the WC -- thankfully they had a nice changing table in the open part of the room, no need to pay! and just another note and then i promise i won't talk about WCs for the rest of the post. after i met back up with the group at the cathedral, we ended up going back to the WC so everyone else could use the bathroom, and this time, there was an attendant there with change in her pocket! go figure. at least now i have a cute little cuckoo clock on my fridge...

at this point, Angel had a stroke of genius and suggested taking the girls on a horse-drawn carriage ride around the town while Father Aron, Chris and i explored a few more churches and the cemetery on our own. we agreed to meet up in the main square in about half an hour and the boys and i set off down the road. our first stop was the Franciscan church (Franziskanerkirche), which was founded in the eighth century (like the cathedral).

the high altar of the Franziskanerkirche

some sights along our walk

we then visited the cemetery and catacombs at St. Peter's. this again was a repeat visit for Nick and myself, but it was well worth going back! at the end of the Sound of Music, the von Trapp family runs through this cemetery and hides in the catacombs from the Nazis. despite the visitors, it is a lovely, quiet and meditative place. i had the disturbing experience of finding a tombstone with the name "Kathe Geiger" engraved on it -- just as i remembered finding it in 2012. she died in 1958 and i would love to know more about her life!

entering the cemetery grounds

memento mori, indeed
we ducked our heads inside the tiny Konvent Chapel.

then we visited the catacombs, which are carved into the rock. directly at the entrance is a tombstone memorializing the burial place of Joseph Haydn (the brother of the composer, Michael Haydn) and Maria Anna Mozart (the sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). the catacombs date from the year 15 A.D. and served as shelter for the earliest residents of Salzburg. later, they were used as a refuge by the early Christians here.

the outside of the catacombs - they are built into the side of the mountain, not underground

inside the chapel in the catacombs

a plaque commemorating the martyrdom of St. Maximus, the first archbishop of Salzburg

view from the top of the catacombs
meanwhile, the girls were having the time of their lives on their horse-drawn carriage ride through the town. Cecilia still brings this up, completely out of the blue ("i go on horse with Angel and Cawly-Wylee! horse is bwown! horse is white! horse say 'neigh'!"). all of the below photos are Angel's.

we had a bit of a communication snafu in the catacombs and ended up getting separated from Father Aron, and after searching around for about ten minutes we just decided to go back to the square. but we couldn't find the girls there either! i was really wishing that we all had texting capabilities. we ended up leaving Chris to stand guard by the horses in case the carriage appeared with all the girls (although we thought surely they must have been done with their tour already), while Nick went to look in the cathedral square, and thankfully we spotted the girls and Father coming from the opposite direction (they had gone to get pretzels and snacks). successfully reunited, we walked up the hill to Stift Nonnberg, the abbey which features so prominently in the Sound of Music. of course i had to do an entire photo shoot with Greta in her dirndl (full disclosure: bribery was necessary).

the castle on top of the hill is the Fortress Hohensalzburg, built in 1077. Nick and i toured it in 2012 - we didn't have the time or energy for it on this day, but i highly recommend it! 

the Nonnberger Hund - a sculpted lion that marks the beginning of the abbey's territory

St. Erentrudis founded the Stift Nonnberg in the eighth century
Greta said, "look at the lovely view!"

not an auspicious beginning to the photo shoot

Carly and Rylee helped convince her to take a few nice photos for me. normally i don't force the issue with picture taking, but we were in Salzburg! in front of the mountain! right next to the abbey! and she was in her dirndl! (can't imagine why she was over it, Mom haha. when she sees the Sound of Music she will understand!)

we briefly visited the abbey itself. the abbey was built by St. Rupert in 712 A.D. and it is the oldest nunnery in the German-speaking world.

the view over the abbey wall

the crypt
our next order of business was to get some lunch. we all agreed that we wanted nothing more than to go back to the Augustiner Braustaubl! Nick, Father Aron, the girls and i walked back down to our car while the Pongracs decided to walk the mile and half over to the restaurant so they could see more of the town.

outside Michael Haydn's house

Greta really loved this hat!

Nick's been looking for a hat like this for years! (the cathedral is in the middle ground with the castle in the background)

magically, we arrived at Augustiner at the same time as the Pongracs. Angel's photo of the city (below) is stunning!

ready for round two
after a delicious late lunch, we set off for our last hotel of the trip: the Gasthof zum Rassen, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (say that five times fast!) watching the sunset over the Alpine fields was incredible. we hit some construction traffic close to the German border, and so our two-and-a-half hour drive stretched into three. by the time we arrived at the guesthouse, it was after dark, so we couldn't admire its elaborate facade until the next morning.

the next day -- loading up our trusty silver van! (photo credit: Angel)

we were somewhat disheartened to learn that our rooms were in a corridor with one bathroom that we all were to share with each other as well as one other couple. that was fine for one night in the Hut but we weren't thrilled about adding two strangers to the mix! but we got settled in and relaxed for an hour or so before one of the best dinners of the trip. Greta was enthralled with this German TV show documenting the wedding of a woman i can only assume is a C-list celebrity -- she kept sighing and saying "the wedding girl is so beautiful!".

finally it was time to head over to the Zum Wildschutz. Chris had researched and made reservations at this restaurant that specializes in wild game and beer. our expectations were high, and they were surpassed!

i believe this was called the Hunter's Platter ... meat and potatoes in gravy with a fried egg on top. (photo credit: Angel)

we toasted to the trip, and to each other, especially Father for all his hard work and planning. and then it was off to bed to rest up before our very last day!