Sunday I found myself in Salzburg. What a City! It was straight out of a movie- romantic music played in the cobblestone streets, huge Churches, buildings, statues and fountains everywhere, and of course, the ‘hills’ surrounding the entire place, putting Salzburg at the top of my favorites list and making me want to sing. (ok well almost).
How do I describe my day? For starters, I was by myself, which was wonderfully free- I could do absolutely whatever I wanted for however long I wished- but also a bit strange since I would have liked to be with someone to take all the sights in with. I saw so many Churches I became churched-out and went to a bar for a bit. Too much old and grand I guess. 😉
I was not unprepared for European Churches. Anyone who’s been across the ocean talks about how marvelous they are. Surprise surprise, words aren’t adequate in the presence of beauty. It’s simply mind blowing to take in both the beauty of the Church and the reality of how they were built. It’s striking to contemplate a people who believed in a God that deserved such a place of worship. Would that we believed the same about our God. hmmmm. That point I could press to greater ends but I’ll save you my rant. Regardless of the change in culture, types of piety or practices, it is absolutely impossible to ignore how glorious a statement these Churches and Basilicas make. It does seem extravagant and in many cases too much. But it’s not about putting on a show, it is not that God demands gold or beautiful carvings. It is that he deserves the best. And while all he asks from us is the simple gift of our hearts, it is a sign of great love to give of all we are, time and talent included. These Churches beg you to ask why they were built, and for me, the answer is that there is a God worthy of worship and great offering, and this was a time when the people stopped at nothing to give such a God their very best.
There was this huge building that looked really cool about a block after I got off my bus. About to walk past, I saw the doors open so I walked in. It happened to be Dreifaltigkeitskirche; Holy Trinity Church. The only reason I recognized it was because I live on Dreifaltigkeitsgasse road, and it took me so long to learn how to pronounce it that I knew right away where I was. A tiny little chapel was all the public is allowed to view, but it was lovely.
The following is a series of photos from Der Dom: A famous Cathedral in the center of Salzburg. I think I spent almost 2 hours walking around inside and looking at everything. It was spectacular and the source of much of my previous musing.
Forgive some of the distortion in some of these, I took a lot of Panorama style shots in an effort to try and capture what my eyes were seeing, which is so much more than the square photograph
Now a different Church, St. Aegidius. No idea who that is, but Haydn is buried in their cemetery, I’m pretty sure. There’s tons of famous people buried in that cemetery actually, but this is the Church where his memorial mass was said so there’s even a plaque in the Church commemorating him. Cool right? Didn’t find that out till I walked into the Church, but I pretend like I planned that trip. He’s a cool guy.
The rest of the day I spent hiking around Salzburg. Learning a new city is exhausting, and since everyone walks or rides all over the place, I wandered and wandered for a very long time. Serenaded by the street music and captured by the beauty of everything from buildings to mountains, it was not too bad.
I saw this castle up on the fortress of the city and my mission became trying to get up there. I didn’t make it- I’m fairly certain the only way there is by fancy tourist cable car, but I did make it to the fortress wall and discovered hiking trails. I spent about the next 2 1/2 hours walking around and taking in the view. I wish I could adequately share it.
The day ended with my spontaneous decision to attend a concert back at the Dom that was beautiful and also resulted in my missing the last bus back home. So I also fit a cab ride into my Salzburg trip. What a day.
Oh and did I mention it started raining? On my way back down the mountain it began raining. I love rain, though if you’re walking outside for hours it’s not necessarily the best. I made my way back to the Dom square to purchase a ticket for the concert, and sold myself as a student because I figured; I’m currently a student in the school of life abroad, so I think that counts. Anyways as I walked back across the square trying to decide what to do until the concert started, an oboe and accordion were playing some mood music to accompany the rain. I felt like I was in a movie, with this french-sounding music (whatever that means) and the rain pouring down on the giant fountain in front of me. I leaned up against the stone archway, sheltered from the rain, and looked out across the cobblestoned square and allowed myself to be absorbed in the moment. Sometimes you have to stop and listen to the music.