On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter otmar.

I spent the last days of October on a four day (Oct 26th is a national holiday, and the kids got the next week off, too) trip to Salzburg (and Munich, but that will be a different submission). Salzburg is my home town and still the home of my mother, who is always glad if the grandchildren visit her.

Luckily we’re at off-season now, the city is no longer overrun by tourists. That doesn’t mean that there are none, far from it, but it is at a manageable level. The reason is, of course, the weather. Late October can be nice, but it can be cold and wet. We got both in two days as the pictures will show.

Taken on 2018-10-26 00:00:00

1) On the train.

Although far from the level of the ICE or TGV, the line from Vienna to Linz has been upgraded over the last 20 years to a level where going by car is something to be avoided. The Linz-Salzburg track will be next on the agenda, but still, 2:20 for 300 km is already hard to beat.

Shortly before reaching Salzburg, the track straddles the Wallersee, one of the many lakes the glaciers created at the north fringes of the Alps.


2) Salzburg (up to ~ 1800) used be ruled by the Archbishops. They acted as both the spiritual and civil rules. One of them (Markus Sittikus von Hohenems) built this nice baroque villa a bit outside of the city. It includes a park and water games (the bishop used this to entertain mainly himself and his guests by turning on hidden water jets to hit his unsuspecting guests. These days, the tourists pay good money to be watered.)

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellbrunn_Palace

Taken on 2018-10-26 00:00:00

5) Apparently I just have to include a picture of this completely unremarkable gazebo when making pictures of Hellbrunn for a mainly American audience.


Taken on 2018-10-26 00:00:00

4) This one is peculiar and the picture is not as clear as I hoped it to be.

Carved into the stone of the Hellbrunn hill, there is a theater stage with some stone scaffolding where actors can emerge from portals. We loved that thing when we were kids, this is open to the public and you can climb around as much as a like (and your parents allow).

From https://www.salzburg.info/en/magazin/scenes/the-rock-theatre-in-hellbrunn_a_289492

The first performance of an opera in the Rock Theatre was a major premiere from two perspectives: When Claudio Monteverdi’s opera “L’Orfeo” was presented here on 31 August 1617, this was the first time that an opera had ever been shown outdoors in Central Europe. And, “L’Orfeo” is still regarded as the first opera ever, making it a milestone work in the history of western music. How appropriate, then, that the Salzburg prince-archbishop of that time ultimately chose the Rock Theatre as the venue. Prince-archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, who commissioned the building of the Rock Theatre, was a great patron of music and the theatre. So it was that he had the former quarry in Hellbrunn, which had supplied stone for construction of Hellbrunn Palace, transformed into a rocky theatre. By 1616, he was finally able to indulge his passion for music and theatre here in this beautiful setting amid nature. And at the same time, he had managed to create an architectural masterpiece.

3) There is a small mountain inside the Hellbrunn park. Originally it was used for hunting game, how it host the Salzburg zoo one one side.

If you look closely, you can see the Fortress Hohensalzburg on the horizon.


Thank you so much otmar, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


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16 replies
  1. 1

    Your photos of Hellbrunn are much better than mine. My film ended up getting fogged and I was using a 110 film camera. But I loved your hometown.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    Amazingly the hills are alive.
    Beautiful pictures and you are correct the gazebo is unremarkable.

  3. 3


    Amazingly the hills are alive.

    With the “Sound of Music” possibly?

    (Why yes, I did take the “Sound of Music” tour in Salzburg and the lake country. Unfortunately I’d not seen the move first.)

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Amir Khalid says:

    The movie takes many liberties with facts: with the von Trapps’ life story, Maria’s in particular; with Austria’s geography; and with the history of the period. The main title song and Julie Andrew’s famous ode to the major scale are classic. Okay, My Favorite Things too. But for a family entertainment classic, it’s not terrible but not really all that great either.

  6. 6

    @Amir Khalid: It was filmed there and they have tours(at least they did in 1979).

  7. 7

    @Amir Khalid: Also the front and the back of the von Trapps’ house are two different houses.

  8. 8
    arrieve says:

    I love Austria. Thanks for the wonderful memories — I have a picture of me and my mom next to that gazebo (The Sound of Music was one of her favorite movies — mine too when I was a kid, and I can still watch it without irony.)

  9. 9
    debbie says:


  10. 10
    otmar says:

    As most other Austrians, I have never seen the movie.

  11. 11
    otmar says:

    @arrieve: AFAIK they move the gazebo a few years back.

  12. 12
    MelissaM says:

    Beautiful! I, too, have taken the SoM tour, with my mother who was visiting me during my study-abroad year. It was Americans, one Brit couple who knew of the movie, and one Japanese honeymooning couple who spoke no English nor German and were probably shoved on this trip by some tour guide because… We had a choice to go to the lake or to the salt mines in Berchtesgaden, but we all had to go together, and it devolved into a crazy pantomiming to the Japanese couple that never got through. We did the mines, which were loads of fun.

    My relationship with my mother has never been great, but I have a couple of large high points with her when she (and two friends) visited Austria.

  13. 13
    scav says:

    I adore “L’Orfeo” so thank you for that stage! I had no clue it existed — and it’s worth it on its owm.

  14. 14
    Martin says:

    I was one of those tourists overrunning Salzburg this summer. I recognize that picture of Hellbrunn. I also really enjoyed the tour of the salt mine – that was way more interesting than I expected.

    The highlight of my trip was the train ride from Salzburg to Spielburg to see the F1 race and then the ride to Vienna where we were moving on to.

    We also saw the gazebo, but we had to gently break it to our guide that we’re from southern california and there are at least a half dozen movie locations that I’m aware of between my house and my office 3 miles away. Movie locations are everywhere here and not that interesting. To make up for it, my son and I wandered into a neighborhood biergarten and watched a world cup game with the locals. That was fucking everything to me.

    It’s an amazing country. Please keep the far right elements at bay.

  15. 15
    Martin says:

    @Amir Khalid: Understandably so. Their desire for a unified german/austrian state got rather badly overshadowed by the cost of the mechanism needed to achieve it at that time.

  16. 16
    Mary G says:

    Otmar Fridays are my favorite, and today is no exception. I’ve never liked the movie, but musicals usually baffle me. The gif of the father tearing up the Nazi flag is used quite a bit by liberals these days. We went to Hellbrun, but I mostly have no recollection of it. I do remember the Mozart birthplace. Austria is a gorgeous country.

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