The hills are alive with Mozart

This is the 16th of my “Advent Calendar” Christmas ornament posts. For some background information about this project and why I’m challenging myself to complete it, see here. Note: it’s entirely possible some of these memories are inexact, but I’m sticking with them anyway.

At first, it seemed silly to me that Salzburg sells itself so hard as the birthplace of Mozart, when it’s such a beautiful and interesting city in its own right.
The house where he was born (Mozarts Geburtshaus) has been decorated with huge lettering across the front and made into a museum and tourist attraction. In every little shop along narrow Franz-Josef-strasse and Linzergasse, we found displays advertising Mozart chocolates (Mozartkugeln): hazelnuts wrapped in marzipan, then wrapped in chocolate. Everywhere we turned, there were life-sized cardboard Mozart cut-outs, standing by huge piles of violin-shaped boxes of chocolate. I’m sure they sold other things, but Mozart chocolates were available and on prominent display in every shop we visited. There were umbrellas with Mozart’s face on them, and if you didn’t like those, you could be more subtle and get one that looked like antique paper with his music handwritten on it.
One thing Salzburg got right, though, is the Makartsteg pedestrian bridge spanning the swirling Salzach river. It is the most wonderful little bridge in the whole world. It’s not very big. It’s a concrete curve with chain link sides. It’s unadorned and coldly functional. But as you walk across it, you become aware that you’re surrounded by Mozart’s music, quiet but distinct, just floating in the air around you. Even after you’ve figured out that there are speakers concealed beneath the handrails, it’s no less wonderful.
View from the Makartsteg
In the rain, on the bridge, wrapped in beautiful sound, it all makes sense. This is what Salzburg claims as its own. This music, this feeling.

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