When I am traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly.
-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
On a snowy December day last month, I took a break from the Nuremberg Christmas market for a day trip to Salzburg. This idyllic Austrian town nestled in the Alpines and dusted with snow couldn't have been more picturesque, and it was great to experience their Christmas markets and see the city's highlights. Salzburg, best known as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (heard of him?) or the setting for The Sound of Music, is rich in architectural history. Actually, the city center ("Old Town") hearkens back to the Middle Ages and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its "extraordinarily rich urban fabric" of Baroque architecture. While I skipped some of the standard fare for tourists, such as museums and fortresses, I enjoyed some of the more unusual sights: Salzburg's cool pedestrian Makartsteg bridge, Mirabell Palace (closed for the winter), Mozart's birthplace, and Hitler's beloved Klessheim Palace.
Seeing the exact location where Mozart was brought into this world in 1756 is pretty amazing, and learning more about Mozart's childhood and adulthood was quite interesting. This child prodigy had quite a successful life and lived comfortably, and his birthplace is simple but well-appointed for the time. Located right in the middle of Old Town, Mozart's reconstructed residence is across the river and also worth a visit (it's on my bucket list for next time).
About three miles northwest of the city center is the gorgeous Baroque Klessheim Palace. It was built in 1700 as a summer residence for the city's archbishops, but it is most famous for its more recent history: In the 1930s and 1940s, Adolf Hitler used the palace to receive guests and host special events for the Nazi party. After the war, it was returned to the government of Salzburg and used for various events. In 1993, a casino took over the palace and remains today, hence the cheesy neon lighting in my photos (thank goodness those are the only changes the casino made to the interior).