Camp Martin Travels

These entries will be a combination of historical day trips, graduate level travel courses, and just little stops along the way. I have been teaching 8th grade American History for over 25 years. I am also a Civil War Reenactor and have traveled to Germany and Austria with several groups of exchange students and written about our adventures. Please check all my posts by using the monthly Blog Archive tabs shown below. I have posted over 150 Blog Episodes since 2009... Please explore them all!

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

An American in Germany / Part # 26 / Salzburg - 1

GAPP Exchange Journal 2012
Class Trip / Salzburg, Austria

Schloss Mirabell Palace and Gardens
I had just spent the last two days trying to recover from a nasty intestinal virus that infected the entire Galneder extended family and beyond.  Little Leo had brought the aggressive sickness home from preschool, giving it to his mother Angela, then Andy, Andy's mother, Andy's father, Angela's mother, Angela's father, Angela's brother, and finally... yours truly, the Americana!  However, all is well that ends well... I was glad I didn't miss any travel opportunities or special calender events during my recovery.  In addition, I was thankful to be healthy enough to attend our final school field trip to Salzburg, Austria.  This field trip would be special because it would include both the Warwick and KKG hosting students together as one big group.  The trip would be lead by KKG English, Spanish, and Geography teacher Herman Schneider, who Andy likes to call... Herman the German.  We all met at KKG and soon Fitztum pulled in with the familiar Beck tour bus that would transport us all to Salzburg.  I really had no idea what we would actually see but was told we would visit several locations where scenes from the famous movie, The Sound of Music were filmed in 1968.  I told Wendy that I was expecting to see her very best impersonation of Julie Andrews, happily twirling about and bursting with song with 32 teenagers skipping along behind her to the rhythm!

Wired Streets of Downtown Salzburg
Our drive toward Salzburg took us over some familiar roads as we traveled northeast toward the Austrian border.  As we entered the heart of the city, I instantly noticed the complex mesh of electrical wires overhead that spanned the length and sides of the street.  The wires were supported by and anchored into the frontal exterior walls of the buildings at a level height.  Within minutes, the purpose of the wires was revealed as a large city bus passed by with two large arms reaching up from the top of the bus to the wires.  The buses ran on electricity and were actually attached to the wires by metal wheels on the top of the arms that rolled along the top of each cable.  It was really interesting to watch the bus round a corner as the spinning wheels neatly jumped from one cable to the next until the two arms were once again settled on two parallel lines as the road straightened.  How did they ever map out such a complex system?  It took a little something away from the historical atmosphere of the city but was all in the name of being environmentally friendly by creating a public transportation system with zero carbon emissions.  Lights were also suspended from the wires, which illuminated the streets at night.  It was unique, something I had never seen before.  Fitztum pulled the bus into a shaded parking lot located in front of a long plaster wall that extended down most of the city block.  I noticed a large tour bus parked next to us with a huge colorful graphic picturing Julie Andrews (AKA: Fräulein Maria) advertising The Sound of Music site tour.

 Schloss Mirabell Palace and Gardens
After the kids were offloaded from the bus, we passed through an arched opening within the plaster wall and stepped into an incredibly beautiful ornamental garden that was part of the extensive grounds of the Mirabell Palace.  The palace was first built to accommodate the prince bishops of Salzburg in 1606 and was originally named Altenau but was completely redesigned and renamed Mirabell by the new bishop in 1617 and has remained so ever since.  However, the must see site is not only famous for its long historical past and the ornate estate gardens.  It is also famous because several scenes of the movie the Sound of Music were filmed within the gardens.  The Sound of Music is one of those iconic events from many of our childhoods.  It is the classic film that has defined quality family entertainment for generations, which is why it was shown on a Sunday evening every late December, even though it had nothing to do with the Christmas holiday.  My parents remembered when it first hit theaters in 1968, a time when couples still dressed up in their best church worthy attire to go to the movies.  My mother always reminisced how she and all her girlfriends were smitten with Christopher Plummer and the guys all fell head over heels for Julie Andrews.  We all claimed our predesignated spots on the living room couch or lounge chairs around the television, passing a big bowl of Jiffy Pop as the familiar story unfolded.  Even if you couldn't carry a tune to save your life, you couldn't help but hum and then outright sing along to the well known song lyrics.  The classic songs with the upbeat tempos were stuck in your head for a full year until it was time to watch the movie again, which would restart the cycle all over again!

Do-Re-Mi / Mirabell Garden Steps
(Film Still Credit / 20th Century Fox
I wish I would have watched the movie again before we left on our trip but I thought I could remember specifics because I think I've seen it at least 27 times.  The Mirabell gardens looked familiar but I couldn't recall specific sites within the estate gardens from the film so I took pictures of just about everything.  After checking the movie script, the Do-Re-Mi song was filmed within the gardens including specific shots of the trellis tunnel, horse fountain, and garden steps.  You just got the lyrics of the Do-Re-Mi song stuck in your head in a continuous loop... didn't you?  Good luck with that!  It's been in my head since I started writing this and I only thought it would be fair to share the experience and/or torture.  This is my first blog with an accompanying preloaded sound track... Enjoy!  The funny thing about the Sound of Music, is the fact that most Germans, including most of the people we met from KKG, have never seen it.  Go figure?  As usual, we were on a tight schedule with so much to see and as a result, had limited time to circulate through the garden.  Soon we were outside the walls and back into the busy streets of downtown Salzburg marching toward the hillside castle fortress in the distance, which was also seen in the movie from the same viewpoint during the Do-Re-Mi film scene.  Do, a deer a female deer... Re, a drop of golden sun... Mi, a name I call myself... Fa, a long long way to run... So, a needle pulling thread... La, a note to follow So... Ti, a drink with jam and bread...  That will bring us back to Do, oh, oh, oh... PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!       
Do-Re-Mi / Mirabell Garden Steps
(Compare with the Film Photo Above
We walked through Salzburg, crossing the busy streets as a large group because there is safety in numbers.  We walked over the Salzach River via a foot bridge, crossing from Germany into Austria at the midpoint of the flowing water.  The river serves as the border between the two countries for over 43 miles and is named for the German word "salz" meaning salt.  The Salzach River was a critical transport route for the lucrative salt trade of the area for centuries until railroads proved a more efficient means of delivery.  Walking over the bridge I noticed that thousands of colorful padlocks were locked to the wire mesh from the handrail down to the base of the bridge on both sides.  I thought it was a unique display of some form of expression of modern art but later learned they are known as Love Padlocks.  Couples in a serious relationship place a padlock on a public bridge or other designated location within an urban area as a symbol of their everlasting love.  Many of the colorful locks displayed the couples initials, hearts, or other phrases of affection.  The origin of the practice is unknown but started to become popular in 2000 starting in Rome on the bridge Ponte Milvio in connection to a popular novel written by Italian author Federico Moccia published the same year.  The practice spread throughout Europe and has become controversial in some cities where government officials want them removed for a variety of reasons.  Some cities have actually physically removed the locks from various bridges and landmarks only to see them reappear in greater number.  So far, love has prevailed!

Love Lock Foot Bridge / Salzach River
The city of Salzburg is also well known as the birthplace of musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in January of 1756.  The son of an accomplished musician and music teacher, young Mozart was said to be able to play the violin, piano, and compose his own musical prose at the age of five.  His amazing talents quickly surpassed his father and were critically acclaimed by royalty throughout Europe as the family went on tour across the continent.  Eventually, he moved on to Vienna and by the time of his death at the young age of 35, he had composed over 600 works of music in various forms within the Classical Style.  We passed by the house where he was born, which has been transformed into a popular museum.  One of the most interesting things you see just about everywhere in Salzburg and beyond, sporting the popular portrait of Mozart, has absolutely nothing to do with music.  In 1890, Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst created the Mozartkugeln, a dark chocolate candy with a nougat and pistachio paste center that was in the shape of a perfectly round ball-like shape.  Fürst decided to name his new candy creation for the city's most famous resident and soon they were known simply as the Mozart ball.  The Fürst company still creates the popular treat according to the original recipe by hand, producing over 1.4 million Mozartkugeln annually.  The popular taste was quickly copied by other candy companies making knockoff versions, also rolled by hand or mass produced industrially.  Regardless of the candy's origin, they are all wrapped in colorful foil, sporting their chosen portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Mozartkugeln Candy Shop Window
As we walked through the city we passed one candy shop after another, some of which appeared to sell nothing other than the Mozart Ball candy.  The colorful store fronts were impossible to ignore and once inside the popular candy was creatively packaged a hundred plus different ways.  The chocolate candy with the pistachio center has a limited shelf life but can reach about eight weeks if stored in cool conditions.  As a result, I had finally discovered a location with real, man made, air conditioning operating within the borders of Germany!  Wait a minute... I was actually a few steps just inside Austria but it was close enough!  Later, as I was leaving the historic section of the city, Wendy and I stopped in one of the many shops to purchase some of the famous candy.  I can now say first hand they were very delicious, having a unique taste that left you wanting more.  I highly doubt any of the shops were concerned with shelf life as everyone was buying them in bulk and were sure to be devoured a short time later.  I only bought a few so I could give them a try to see if I liked them before buying a full box.  However none of them made it all the way home.  Luckily, they could be found throughout Bavaria including our home away from home in Altötting.  If you're curious and want to try them yourself, you can order them online.  Our large group continued to wind through through the ancient streets toward the Salzburg Cathedral where Mozart was baptized.   As we approached the cathedral dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg, one of the founders of the city, we were passed by several horse drawn handsome cabs who were making their way to congregate within the courtyard of the cathedral where the sun was blocked out by the the structure's towering walls.  We followed the crowd around the side of the cathedral to the ornate entrance to get a look inside.

Handsome Cab / Salzburg Cathedral
The cathedral was amazing, especially the inside where a massive rotunda dome crowned the section encompassing the main altar within the sanctuary.  Although designed in the Baroque style, the interior is mostly presented in simple color compliments of bright white and light beige.  The first cathedral was built on the site in 776, was expanded multiple times, destroyed by fire in 1598, reconstructed by 1628, partially destroyed by allied bombs in 1944, was repaired and renovated by 1959, and has since stayed intact!  While we were visiting, exterior work was taking place just above the exterior entrance of the cathedral.  Renovations were a common sight at many of the churches we toured during our stay.  Most of the larger religious structures had scaffolding scaling the walls at one designated section of the building.  I imagine the repair work slowly rotated around the walls, which enabled repairs to progress without impacting religious services or visiting tourists.  Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Bavaria and keeping historic sites open and accessible is important to the local economy.  A light rain began to fall as we had a little free time to explore the local shops and maybe grab a snack.  I was able to find a small kiosk where I found my collector site pin for Salzburg and grabbed an ice cream bar before I rendezvous back with the rest of our party at the plaza fountain near the cathedral.  Now we began to walk up a steep walkway toward the hilltop fortress known as Hohensalzburg Castle that overlooked the city.  Another urban mountain climb... here we go again!

 St. Rupert's Cathedral Salzburg
Please stayed tuned for the next installment of our adventure!


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