Cities / Towns Visited: 27
Countries Visited: 10
Steps Taken Today: 18,162
Steps Taken Around the World: 1,064,555
We rose, and packing up our things, checking out, and storing our bags, once again, we headed into town to bask in our final day in Salzburg. Our morning would, much like Bonn, be filled with music, but instead of Beethoven, today we were basking in the talents of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Our first destination was Mozart’s Residence; also known as the Dancemaster’s House; aptly named as prior to Mozart’s family moving there when he was a child, it had been home to the cities dancemaster, who was responsible for teaching many of the upper class ladies and gentlemen to dance; you know, back when everyone used to know how to. Walking through the large wooden door of the pink façade, we quickly attained our audio guide, tucked away our cameras as photography is not permitted, and headed upstairs in the grand old home. The first part of the museum takes you into the large room, once used as a mock ballroom for formation dancing, where you are shown a brief video, running through the key points of Mozart’s rise to famous composer; from child prodigy, to overly self confident (read as cocky) young adult, to a well travelled and humbled by life composer, to his early death at just 35 from an infection, leaving behind his wife and two sons.
The remainder of the museum is split between the separate rooms of the house, and concentrates on a different member of the family in each. It quickly became clear that this was less of a museum about Mozart, and more of a museum on the Mozarts, as a family. It was intriguing to learn about his father, who was also a musician, and who had, if somewhat forcefully, pushed his son into the spotlight at the tender age of six. He took him on a European tour, along with his older sister, to the royal palaces, including Versailles, to show of his child prodigy to the wealthiest and most influential people he could. He died in the Dancemaster’s house, only four years before his son would pass on. There was a room dedicated to his mother; a warm hearted and good humoured woman, who died whilst visiting Paris with Wolfgang. It was a huge blow to the composer, and affected him greatly. There was also a wealth of information on his sister, fondly known as Nannerl, who, although many people are unaware, was similarly musically gifted like her younger brother. However, with times being as they were, she was pushed out of the spotlight, in favour of her male counterpart. The next section spoke in length about the Mozarteum, a school for young musicians, founded in his name by his wife, after his death, which still runs to this day. From here there is a room all about his wife and his sons; including his youngest son, who (under immense pressure from his mother) went on to also be a composer, under the name Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (son). In all, the museum was educational, but sorely lacking in the kind of in depth information on the man himself. Comparatively to Beethoven’s Birthplace, it wasn’t the most inspiring of exhibitions.
Setting aside our less than ecstatic feelings, we carried on to Mozart’s Birthplace; a tiny four room apartment on the third floor of a building across town from the first exhibit. This held much of the same information as the first, however it did contain more artifacts from the life and times of the composer, including trinkets such as his coin purse and a few locks of his hair. It explains how Mozart was often in debt, not because he did not earn a more than respectable amount from his compositions, but because he had expensive tastes in regards to clothing, and his general standard of living, as well as a possible gambling addiction. It also looked more in depth into his friendships, as well as the way of life in this era. When combined with Mozart’s Residence, it is more of a complete experience. However, if you were to do only one, you would be doing yourself a disservice; especially if you are a fan of the gifted man who’s music we all know and love, even if we are unaware he wrote it.
The day was charging on, so we scurried off to our next attraction; the catacombs of St Peter’s Church. As we arrived at the church complex, we entered from the back, wandering through the shady cemetery, taking a moment to look over the graves, even though we were unable to read them. Its funny how you don’t need to know what was written to appreciate each and every soul interred; a name and a date says more than words can express. Reaching the entrance, in an alcove of the cliff face which abuts the cemetery, we purchased our tickets and entered. I will say, this is the first time I’ve had to go upwards to a catacomb, but that is exactly what makes this one so unique. Instead of being placed in the cool, dark confines of the underground, it is given the same affect by being placed in the cliff face. These ancient caves have been used as a meeting place for early Christians (as early as the 700’s), a hermitage, a storage place for bodies while graves were being prepared, and a burial place (since the 1100’s). Although there isn’t a huge amount to see, there are two small chapels, with a number of memorial stones, and some beautiful views out to the cemetery and church. On returning to ground level we took a moment to stop at the graves just beside the ticket desk, of Nannerl (Mozart’s Sister), and Michael Haydn (brother of the famous composer Joseph Haydn). From here we quickly ducked inside the church itself, however there was a wedding taking place, only allowing a small area just inside the door, in which to observe the interior. After a brief look, we quietly exited, leaving the happy couple to exchange their vows, without our prying eyes.
As we left to make our way back to the hostel, we paused briefly, going into the Dom Cathedral. From the outside it looks much like any other cathedral, with beautiful stone sculptures, and imposing twin towers. However, it is the interior which really impresses. As we walked through the doors we were awestruck by the plethora of intricately detailed carving work on the ceilings, alongside stunning biblical frescos. Without stained glass to obscure the sun, the light poured in, illuminating the interior and further highlighting the elaborate decoration of this house of prayer. It has to be one of the best ceilings I’ve seen so far.
Before concluding our day I had just one more stop I wanted to make. As a pastry chef I am going to call it research to want to eat classic dishes from their home, and thus we dropped by the Hotel Sacher to purchase two small Sacher tortes. Sitting down in a nearby park we eagerly devoured the dense, moist cakes. They were sumptuous, and a perfect way to round of our visit to this town we had so enjoyed. By now the sun was dipping low, and we had a new home to get to. Thus we swung by the supermarket to quickly buy something to eat, grabbed our bags from the hostel, headed back to the supermarket to buy provisions to make dinner upon our arrival, as we weren’t sure how much of an effort it would be to find groceries once we arrived, and hopped on the train to Vienna. The trip progressed without a hitch and after a short metro ride and a bit of a walk we finally arrived at our new residence for the next few days. We made a quick dinner, showered, and settled in for a good nights sleep.
As I drifted to sleep, it was hard not to think back to Nannerl Mozart. The fact that it was sexism, more than anything, that kept her from being as recognised and adored as her brother, is depressing to say the least. While her brother rose to be a household name, she spent her life being a humble piano teacher to the children of the wealthy. I cannot know how she felt, but from her letters it is clear that she cared dearly for her brother, and if she felt any resentment on the matter, she kept it to herself. As much as we all like to focus on the shortcomings we still have in regards to equal rights for women, for example the wage gap, it is important to see how far we have come. If the Mozart’s had lived in this era, it is likely that both children would have become highly acclaimed composers and musicians. In the end though, she will remain a name only known by those who care to delve into the history of this family, another female name lost under the achievements of the men of her time. However, as with many female high achievers, scientists and humanitarians of the past, we will chisel them out of there long forgotten posts, hidden behind and beneath their male counterparts, and we will bring them to light; we will posthumously recognise them as equal. We will not let their achievements go unnoticed, and we will take back the acclaim their gentlemen colleagues stole from them and hand it back. I am not saying all men purposely stole the limelight, in fact it was Mozart’s father who pushed him into it; but there were plenty of male scientists in the past, who took the discoveries and achievements of their female colleagues and passed them off as there own, often because they would be taken more seriously if put forward by a man. That being said many men throughout history have stood up for and championed feminism. We would not have gained the right to vote if there were not some feminist men to support us, and to those of them who challenged the ingrained sexism of society, we thank you. Just as you support our desire to be equal, we will stand by you in matters where your equality is questioned or subdued. Feminism is not about man hating, at its core it is about equality between the sexes, no matter which direction that battle has to be fought.