Reflections in Photos of My Austrian Summer

This statue in Krems is called
This statue in Krems is called “Simandl.” It is about the hen-pecked husband begging for the house keys so he can stay out late with the boys.

In three weeks the time on the clocks will change here in Central Europe and we will be on “Winter Time.” Summer has come and gone as I spent much of it exploring Austria on holiday and in two weeks I return to Spain.

A grand Danube River View from Aggstein Castle in Wachau Valley
A grand Danube River View from Aggstein Castle in the beautiful Wachau Valley

I have most recently been living in a small village in Wolkersdorf but my travels have taken me far and wide throughout the country to Krems, Horn, Melk, Tulln, Semmering, Salzburg, Graz, Innsbruck, Villach, the Wachau Valley, and Vienna. Many of these beautiful places, people, and artwork have been captured in photographs that I have shared on Facebook, blog entries and in messages to friends and family.

It is both happy and sad to be returning to Spain in two weeks. I have greatly enjoyed my holiday in Austria and with Winter cold and snow coming and the time change bringing darkness earlier in the day, I am anticipating the warmth on the Costa del Sol and friends there. I will miss the people I have met in Austria, the confectionaries, lattes, apple strudel, wiener schnitzel, and this distinct culture that I have appreciated.

In Salzburg, Pegasus in Mirabell Gardens. It was also in The Sound of Music 50 Years Ago
In Salzburg, Pegasus in Mirabell Gardens. It was also in The Sound of Music 50 Years Ago

Today’s blog is all about places I have captured in photos while in Austria. I hope you enjoy them!

Melk is at the beginning of the Wachau Valley and is also on the Danube River. It's famous Benedictine Stift Melk Abbey dwarfs the little town.
Melk is at the beginning of the Wachau Valley and is also on the Danube River. It’s famous Benedictine Stift Melk Abbey dwarfs the little town.

My initial stop in Austria was in Krems an der Donau. It is one of the oldest settled communities in all of Austria and was an excellent place to begin my Austrian holiday. Many people speak English in all of Austria but especially in Krems. I wrote a few entries in my blog about Krems but my favorite one is here. Following Krems, I stayed awhile in Melk. In Melk I particularly enjoyed the park at the Abbey and wrote about my Melk holiday. Krems and Melk are the bookends of the Wachau Valley. Famous for apricots and grapes for wine, the Danube River flows through the Wachau passing many small villages with Spitz, Durnstein, Rossatz, and Emmersdorf among my favorites. The castle ruins at Aggstein are in the Valley and well worth the visit. I wrote about Aggstein and its famous “Little Rose Garden.” I especially enjoyed visiting the ruins during a Renaissance festival and loved the food and writing about my visit to Aggstein.

Lake Wolfgang near Salzburg was in the opening scenes of the movie
Lake Wolfgang near Salzburg was in the opening scenes of the movie “The Sound of Music.”

A beautiful view of the Alps in Bavaria from Eagle's Nest
A beautiful view of the Alps in Bavaria from Eagle’s Nest

In many of the places I have mentioned I went by train and boat to visit towns and cities in Austria. Most notable to me was Salzburg and is certainly one of the places I want to visit again someday. Salzburg is the location for the movie “The Sound of Music.” The scenery in the mountains and lakes is stunning and in the mountains one cannot help hearing Julie Andrews singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” While in Salzburg I visited Hitler’s “Eagles Nest” where the beautiful mountain views take your breath away. I wrote two blogs about my visit to Salzburg and Eagles Nest. One can’t help but to be inspired to write in these places with beautiful skies and spectacular peaks.

Schönbrunn Palace, the Summer residence of the Hapsburgs

Johann Strauss in beautiful Stadtplaz in Vienna
Johann Strauss in beautiful Stadtpark in Vienna

I have taken so many photos that it is always difficult to determine which to include in any blog or to post on Facebook. Staying in Vienna presented a problem in that there are so many places one wants to visit and if I were to reflect on them all, the blog would be way too long. The city offers so much… classical music by Strauss and Mozart among others, opera, historic, beautiful monuments and architecture, and wonderful food and drink. I narrowed my photo selections to a few and decided to write about the “City of Dreams” from a perspective that focused on present day Vienna as dreams that have been realized. There are also memories in Vienna that are sad such as the 65,000 Jews who never returned during the Holocaust, the NAZI annexation of the entire country during World War II, and the oppression by the occupying Russian forces following the war. Vienna was also the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and there are wonderful and sad stories throughout the history of the Empire. These are captured in the numerous museums throughout the city.

A Wachau Vally trail marker
A Wachau Vally trail marker

Hiking along the Wachau Valley Trails brings you to many of the famous places I have mentioned previously. There are many selections of trails to take and one can always find solitude and reflection somewhere in the Wachau. Surprisingly often you find yourself in one of many vineyards. The grapes from the Wachau are particularly desired for making Gruner Veltliner wine which is loved throughout Austria and Germany.

An original 14th century walkway to the Danube inside the Durnstein walls
An original 14th century walkway to the Danube inside the Durnstein walls

Two of the towns in the Wachau Valley are Rossatz and Durnstein. Each are known for many things but my adventures were often focused on taking photographs, eating different foods, learning about history, and tasting wines.

Rossatz early in the Summer
Rossatz early in the Summer

Rossatz in particular is quite beautiful. Located across the river from Durnstein in the Valley, the town is often identified as the heart of the Apricot Mile. In the Summer when apricots are ripe, they are for sale everywhere. In addition to fresh apricots, apricot dumplings are particularly popular. There are all sorts of drinks and syrups made from apricots. But in Rossatz I enjoyed its quiet charm. Many just don’t know about it and the serenity found there in the vineyards, throughout the community, and along the beach. That’s right, there is a beach on the Danube very close to Rossatz. It also turns out that there are several along the Danube.

The Jester in Villach
The Jester in Villach

My excursions have taken me to many fascinating places in Austria and I have captured some of those memories in this blog. I enjoyed my Summer holiday very much and look forward to returning sometime and reliving many of the memories that I have described and many more. So for now I will say “Auf Wiedersehen” from Austria as I plan my return to Mijas Pueblo, Espana, later this month.

Salzburg: 50 Years After “The Sound of Music”

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Mirabell Garden Statue (also in The Sound of Music)

Salzburg, Austria is forever etched into our memories as a place of natural and man-made artistic beauty and as a cultural center. The rich history of this city is evident at the turn of every street corner and throughout the nearby lakes and hills. The movie The Sound of Music embraces Salzburg in the late 1930’s. This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film and I have been fortunate to have recently visited Salzburg. In this blog I not only share some thoughts about the movie but also many other things that are evident to me in this vibrant area.

In comparison, much larger ViennaIMG_1853 (1) is majestic and bold but in seeking Austria’s soul, it would be found in Salzburg. On arriving by train, you can immediately look up and sense grandeur in the mountains. Yes, these are the “hills” that Maria sang about in the movie. The hills and the city are alive and in your mind you can hear her singing!

Fortress Hohensalzburg crowns the city
Fortress Hohensalzburg crowns the city

Journeying through the city, one can see boats on the Salzach River, lovers expressing their forever love by attaching their locks to the bridges, Mozart’s birthplace, the Fortress Hohensalzburg crowning “Old Town,” Mirabell Gardens with Pegasus dancing at its center, the Mozart Bridge the children ran across to play, and the small towns of Sankt Gilgen and Monsee on the shores of Lake Wolfgang… everywhere there are visions and sounds from the movie that surge into my memory!

My first visit was to Mirabell Gardens across the street from the hotel. With the Pegasus fountain centrally located, everyone was taking the “perfect” shot not only as reminiscent of the movie but also because it is a beautiful artwork. The garden’s colors just explode and several statues found there are in the movie.

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An entire blog could be dedicated to the Mirabell Gardens but I journeyed to the Lake District to see Sankt Gilgen, Sankt Wolfgang, Monsee, and Lakes Fuschl and Wolfgang. Each of these locations were included in The Sound of Music.

People were camping around, sailing on, and swimming in Lake Wolfgang and Lake Fuschl. The mountains around the lakes provide a perfect backdrop for a superb holiday in the region. And who can forget the sweeping images of these places at the beginning of the movie?

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Lake Fuschl as in the opening scene from The Sound of Music

Quaint, traditional buildings in Monsee and Sankt Wolfgang are like time capsules with their large overhanging roofs and decorations of flower boxes attached to the upper levels. Each house has its own large supply of firewood to prepare for heating during the harsh Winters that come to this area. The mountains and the lakes are breathtaking and it is easy to see why these places were chosen for the movie.

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Traditional House at Sankt Wolfgang

Of course the city and area have so much to offer as they pose for the camera’s eye. I endeavor to keep my blog entries to a reasonable length and know that this one doesn’t adequately recount my memories of this vibrant city, the home to The Sound of Music and Mozart.

Looking Downriver at Sunrise
Looking Downriver at Sunrise

Salzburg is one place that I highly recommend be included in your travel bucket list. Salzburg is an extravaganza for your soul!

There are so many more places to see from The Sound of Music and I know that these few memories of the city will be just my initial ones as I will return several more times.

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Sankt Gilgen on Lake Wolfgang as in The Sound of Music
Mozart's Birthplace
Mozart’s Birthplace

I hope you enjoyed sharing in my adventure to Salzburg and that it encourages you to want to come and visit!