Sunday, September 29, 2013

Enchanting Easter Europe - Salzburg/Austria

September 13. I awoke from a refreshing rest. 9 hours and peering out of the room window I saw droplets and dark skies and guessed it will be a wet day today. It would be a rushed half day walking tour before we leave for our next destination. After our hotel breakfast local guide Alza took us to the Mirabelle Palace and Mozart's birthplace at 9 Getreidegasse. It was an outdoor event and it drizzled throughout. Fortunately the ponchos came in handy. Struggling to put them on over our jackets and holding to our bags we managed to still enjoy the visits.

Mirabelle Palace is well known as the location where several scenes of the musical The Sound of Music' were recorded there, including the one in which Maria and the children sang 'Do Re Mi'. But we didn't enter the palace due to time constraint but walked about the garden, taking photos of the pretty flowers and for remembrance.

Mention Salzburg and immediately the minds conjure up green hills and romantic gardens. It is said that Austria is the prettiest country of Europe and Salzburg is like its pearl. And her treasure is of course Mozart, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, world famous prodigy musician and composer who was born right in the city of Salzburg. Until you read about this genius you'd think he led a high society life but the truth is the opposite. Born into an average family whose father Leopold Mozart made a living playing the violin, teaching music and writing books, Wolfgang displayed early abilities of composing music when he was just 5. Leopold discovering his son's extraordinary talents devoted himself to teaching and building his musical career. Although Wolfgang had six siblings, five died in their infancy leaving him with just an older sister, Nannerl. Wolfgang did not have a real childhood as he spent all his time creating classical pieces in the privacy of his room, and travelling over Europe giving performances to royalties and noblemen. Life as a travelling musician was tough and often time he had to rely upon the generosity and charity of his hosts. Towards the later part of his career, and life, his income dwindled forcing him to move into smaller quarters. He owed friends money he borrowed to sustain his spendthrift lifestyle. In his final years he managed to write many successful pieces. At the age of just 35 Mozart died and was interred in a common grave, in accordance with contemporary Viennese custom, at the St. Marx Cemetery outside the city on 5 December 1791. His music lived on and made him a national icon. Although Mozart had 2 sons there are no surviving descendents as neither son married.

We paid a visit to where Mozart was born and learn of the tight living conditions the family lived in. No indoor photography was allowed. Mozart family lived on the 3rd floor of the yellow building.

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