After spending a week in Munich (more details about that trip coming SOON, I swear), my mom and I wanted to get out of the city and do a day trip to somewhere new. We decided to go to Neuschwanstein Castle (the famous castle that inspired Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World) because it’s only a couple hours train ride from Munich, but after speaking with a receptionist at the train station in Munich, she informed us that there was not a wheelchair accessible train that went to Neuschwanstein. I was pretty sad about this news at first because I had been looking forward to seeing the castle in person since the time that we arrived in Germany, but instead of letting that ruin our day, we just asked the lady where could we go that was accessible. Without any hesitation, she said Salzburg, Austria. We really didn’t know anything about Salzburg, other than the fact that The Sound of Music was filmed there, but we said yes and hopped on the train immediately. After an hour and a half of traveling through the beautiful countryside, we arrived and were ready to explore Salzburg in a wheelchair.
The Salzburg train station is just a short walk (well, “roll” in my case) from the downtown area with all of the attractions so we were relieved that we didn’t have to try to find a wheelchair accessible taxi. We started our day by taking in the sights of the Salzach River, which runs right through the town with a bridge over it separating the two sides of the city. From here, you can see how beautiful Salzburg is, with Hohensalzburg Fortress hovering high above as a landmark.
We started wandering aimlessly, something I usually hate doing as I love a good concrete plan, but the tranquility of Salzburg soothed my punctilious personality. Soon, we were at Mirabell Palace and Gardens
. We didn’t go inside the palace, but the gardens are worthy enough to explore on their own. As a big Sound of Music fan, I was kind of freaking out at the fact that I was in the same gardens where the famous “Do Re Mi” song was filmed. The Pegasus fountain is a highlight of the property and is centrally located. The Mirabell Gardens left me in awe and it was a perfect place to start our day in Salzburg.
The next place that we stumbled upon was the Getreidegasse. This is the main street in Salzburg and is composed of many shops, restaurants, and even Mozart’s Birthplace, a yellow building that you couldn’t possibly miss due to the hundreds of people in front of it taking pictures. We went to the desk to see if the tour of the house was accessible, but unfortunately it was not. However, we did learn that the Mozart family lived on the third floor for 26 years and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born here on January 27
, 1756. Even though we couldn’t go up to the third floor, it was still pretty cool to see the house and we got to try Mozartkugeln while at Mozart’s house. I mean, is this real life?! Oh, for those of you who don’t know, Mozartkugeln is a candy filled with a hazelnut cream center and then surrounded by pistachio marzipan filling and chocolate. They are DELICIOUS (!!!!) and you can find them all over Salzburg. Great… Now I’m craving Mozartkugeln and I’m 5,000 miles away.
Next, after eating some amazing Wiener Schnitzel and shopping on the Getreidegasse, we made our way to the Salzburg Cathedral. This cathedral is huge and is completely wheelchair accessible. There is a ramp outside to get into the building and once inside, there is an elevator to go to the second floor with. You usually don’t find such accessibility in old cathedrals like this, but it has been rebuilt three times since it’s inception in 767. There have been two fires and one bomb attack, but you could never tell it by looking at it. Everything about the cathedral is beautiful, but unfortunately my camera didn’t take very good pictures inside. They really don’t do it justice at all.
Our last stop was the Hohensalzburg Fortress
. This place is the oldest fully preserved fortress in central Europe and is at the top of a huge hill. You can walk to the top, but the funicular railway is fully wheelchair accessible and offers some spectacular views of the city on your way up. It’s a short ride to the top and once you’re there it’s breathtaking. The views over the city of Salzburg were unlike anything I have seen before. You can see the Alps on one side and the city on the other. It is not accessible to go inside the fortress, but with views like this I didn’t care a bit. We spent a while soaking it all in before getting back on the funicular and making our way down to the train station to go back to Munich.
Salzburg was a totally unexpected trip for me, but ended up being one of my favorite places ever. Salzburg in a wheelchair is small enough for a day trip, but so beautiful that I want to go back and stay for a month (but I’d settle for just a week if you’re paying). Whether you are a Sound of Music fan or not, go visit Salzburg! You’ll love it.
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