Dean Corey's Salzburg
Salzburg is magical, a mosaic of graceful spires, domes and fortress walls crowned by the Alps. It’s a backdrop that inspires. Just ask former Orange County resident Dean Corey, a frequent visitor who loves the scenery, music and history of the Austrian city, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Corey, longtime president of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, retired a year ago, moving to southwest France. During his 21-year stint as president, he worked wonders, making Segerstrom Center for the Arts a prime destination for the world’s great orchestras. “I’m leaving, I’m turning into the past, I’m turning into history,” he said last year, as he prepared to present his last concert. But Corey is now enjoying his future and wants to share one of his favorite places, Salzburg.
For first-time travelers to Europe, Salzburg offers a perfect introduction to the continent. It has the elements of a much larger city, but has a small village feel and offers beautiful surroundings – parks, rivers, hills and the neighboring Alps. German, of course, is the primary language, but English is widely spoken.
The city advises visitors that a highlight can be found in the trendy bars behind the façades of the ancient burgher houses lined up on the left and right sides of the Salzach. Bars can be found along the Rudolfskai (near Getreidegasse).
Time is Right
The summer in Salzburg is very beautiful, although it can be crowded. The Salzburg Festival runs late July through August. Tickets are expensive and should be ordered online early, usually in January when they come on sale. If you’re going, book a hotel early. I like the Blaue Gans, It can be hot in August and not all hotels are air-conditioned. If you book a hotel that isn’t air-conditioned, you may find it noisy, because of the street sounds that will come in your open window. Even if you miss the summer festival, there is still a lot to do. Another popular time is Christmas. The same rules apply: Book early.
Salzburg is a magical place. One piece of advice: Don’t stand idly in a bike lane. They don’t stop. The last thing you will hear before you are snuffed out will be the “ching, ching” of a bicycle bell.
There are dozens of souvenir shops, especially around Getreidegasse, the street where Mozart was born. Mozartkugeln candy is famous and delicious. The Linzergasse is a great shopping street. You can pick up quaint Christmas decorations at several shops.
To taste great typical fare, try the wiener schnitzel at the Hotel Elefant and tafelspitz (an Austrian boiled beef dish) at Herzl. Lunch on the terrace of the Hotel Sacher Salzburg overlooking the river is very pleasant. A very good all-around restaurant is Alt Salzburg, but there are many great restaurants. Two of my favorites, not only in Salzburg but anywhere, are Esszimmer (above) and Pfefferschiff. They are excellent. Both take cab rides. Also try Nordsee, a casual fish place by the river with great fried fish. And the Augustiner Brewery is a must if you like great beer. It is a short walk from the center of town.
The city was made popular by the film “The Sound of Music.” As corny as it sounds, taking the local “Sound of Music” bus tour is a great way to see all of the sights of the city. It is also fun to watch the movie just before your trip. You will find the place looks largely the same. Also the Museum of Modern Art overlooking the city is very nice.