Art, gardens and Mozart in Salzburg

I’m currently in Salzburg for the annual opera and theater festival (reviews here and here, with more to come). But opera and theater are generally evening activities, so I’ve had plenty of time to explore the city.

Salzburg is beautiful. There are old buildings and churches and statues and fountains all around.

Perhaps the prettiest spot is the Mirabell Gardens, full of geometrical flower beds and mythological statues. The gardens also have a great view of Hohensalzburg Castle.

My favorite activity in Salzburg was visiting art museums. This is unusual for me—I have a relatively low visual arts tolerance and get bored quickly. But both of the museums I visited in Salzburg were wonderful. The first was the Museum der Moderne, which is currently hosting an exhibit about the “Experiments in Art and Technology” project, a New York City initiative that brought engineers and artists together. I saw fragments of Tinguely’s self-destructing “Homage to New York,” played in a room full of semi-bouyant silver “cloud” balloons by Warhol, wandered through Edelstein’s “Rainforest V” while touching objects to feel them resonate, and saw paint be splattered in time with my heartbeat. In the more classic Residenzgallerie, I admired paintings on the theme of seduction and gazed in envy at the Paramour’s costumes from past years’ productions of Jedermann (a Festival staple since its founding in 1920).

I also did the obligatory Mozart rounds. I went to the house where he was born, which includes an overpriced museum about his life and works. I also stopped by his statue in Mozartplatz, walked past the Mozarteum, visited the Dom where Mozart played the organ, and ate a Mozartkugel. I saw an opera in the Haus für Mozart, too, but it was a Bellini opera. If you want Mozart-themed porcelain, T-shirts, fans, artwork, sweets, keychains, magnets, dirndls, scarves, silver, jewellery, or just about anything else you can think of, Salzburg is the place to get it.

Finally, no trip would be complete without one culinary splurge. Mine was at Carpe Diem Finest Fingerfood. The savory tapas-style plates weren’t worth the price—ten Euros for a single good (but not mind-blowing) ravioli and ten for a paper-thin slice of yellowtail. The dessert sampler, though, was fabulous, with small portions of six different delicious desserts. I am confirmed in my belief that dessert is the most important part of any meal (and that the other parts are actually dispensable).

I see one last opera tonight, and them I’m getting on a late-night train back to Munich to catch an early-morning flight back to the United States. My German season has officially come to an end. Don’t worry—I’ll continue posting for a bit to share my final reviews from Salzburg and some reflections about the year as a whole.