Sunday, August 12, 2012

The 30th Anniversary Sound of Music Tour vs. The Best Catacombs Ever

The insomniac  and her long-suffering spouse took a trip to Europe last fall, as a bit of a  reward for making it through thirty years of wedded bliss. Included in the itinerary were Poland (#43), the Czech Republic (#2), Slovakia (#19), Austria (#21) and Germany (#23); each country selected for inclusion in this Grand Tour ranking in the top twenty-five countries with the highest alcohol consumption, according to the World Health Organization. Even though Poland ranked only #43, they had a Charnel House which helped make up for their less than stellar rating. And other than Catacombs, Cemeteries, Crypts and Charnel Houses, one really can't think of a better reason to include a country in one's travel plans.

After arriving in Salzburg for a two-day stay, the insomniac  and spouse did a quick tour through the Schloss Mirabell Palace gardens, added to the rather hastily Googled itinerary because of the Zwergerlgarten or Dwarf Garden. Created in 1715, the garden was “a play on the Baroque obsession with imperfection, denatured creatures and other morbid motives, containing a number of white marble statues modeled after real dwarves”. The insomniac  has chosen not to share any of these photos, as you'd be hard pressed to distinguish her from the hideous female dwarf statue she was posing next to. Please enjoy some pretty pictures of imaginary horse-like creatures instead.

Unicorn Statues at the Schloss Mirabell Gates

Pegasus Statue that Maria and the children
danced around while singing Do-Re-Mi.

For the Sound of Music fans ...

After the Zwergerlgarten, a short walk down the main street of the Old Town, stopping just long enough to purchase a bottle of Schnapps for consumption later in the day. A fairly lengthy stop, as the shopkeeper was thoughtful enough to give us a very detailed description of every type of Schnapps available for purchase, of which there were many. Probably in the hundreds.

Best. McDonald's Sign. Ever.

At the very end of the main street in the Old Town, after a right turn, then a left, just past the main square and to the right again, tucked in behind the Oldest Bakery in the World, or maybe it was the Oldest Mill in the World, but definitely next to the Oldest Restaurant in the World (St. Peter's Stiftskeller - and you can Google that!), one finally  found Petersfriedhof, or St. Peter's Cemetery. The insomniac  is sharing these directions so that should you ever decide to visit Salzburg, you can simply print a copy of this post to take with you, then you too will be able to find St. Peter's just as easily as she did.

St. Peter's is the oldest Christian graveyard in Salzburg, dating back to 1627. Allegedly, most visitors come to the cemetery to see where the Von Trapp family hid out in the movie. NOT the case for the insomniac, who came instead for the catacombs carved in the rock face above the cemetery. However, the steep stone-carved stairs and the “small admission fee” influenced one's decision to stray from the itinerary for the second time that trip, and a short walk on the level ground of the cemetery proved quite satisfactory.

If you've stumbled across this post hoping for information on the 30th Anniversary Sound of Music Tour, that last reference to the Von Trapp family hiding in the cemetery was it. From here on in, it's all about the Catacombs.

Cemetery Picture I

Cemetery Picture II

Cemetery Picture III

Gratuitous Picture of Skeleton (or Skull)

The acronym works equally well for both ...

Now while St. Peter's was indeed a lovely cemetery, the one that most definitely should not be missed is the Sebastianskirche and Friedhof, or St. Sebastians's Church and Cemetery. Although unaware of this fact before today, the Gothic church was torn down in 1750 and replaced by a Baroque colonnaded hall surrounding the cemetery which contains The. Best. Catacombs. Ever.

Colonnaded Hall

Catacombs inside the Colonnaded Hall

Another GPOS ...

And another ...

One was also unaware of the following facts: “The passage to St. Sebastian's Cemetery has held the tomb of the famous physician Paracelsus since 1564. Other famous personalities have also found their final resting place under the magnificent arcades - Mozart's father Leopold, his wife Constanze as well as her second husband Georg, her aunt Genovefa, and Elia Castello, builder of the Gabriel Chapel.”

And although the insomniac  completely missed Paracelsus' grave, she is almost positive this next photo is of Constanze's, since she recognized the Mozart name and knew she should take a picture of it because it was probably Historically Important. Unfortunately, the script on the stone is too small to be legible, making it a definite possibility that this one is not, in fact, Constanze Mozart's grave.

For all intents and purposes,
Constanze Mozart's Final Resting Place ...

Gabriel Chapel with Mausoleum

Built for Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich
who built the Schloss Mirabell Palace for his Mistress ...

St. Sebastian's was one of most serene and beautiful cemeteries that one has ever had the good fortune to stumble across, as there was not a single tourist in sight. Perhaps they got their directions from Google Maps as well, but did not possess the insomniac's  relentless determination nor her excellent navigational skills, and therefore never found its location. The only other living person there was a young local girl who was enjoying her lunch in the peaceful surroundings, undisturbed but for two very quiet and respectful tourists.

The insomniac  would like to have her lunch here every day, too ...

The insomniac  was also unaware that
the Mozart family were Vampyres.

That's the only plausible explanation for the stake ...

Best. Cemetery. Ever.

At this point, as it was raining so hard it was decided a Hot Chocolate Break was in order, before the eventual return to the B&B for the much anticipated Schnapps Break. In case you'd like to retrace the insomniac's  itinerary and try this restaurant, it was either called the Mozart Restaurant, or it was located in the house where Mozart was born, or maybe it was the house where Mozart grew up. In one's defense, the sign was in German and the only recognizable word was Mozart. But you could probably Google it.

And here is where the insomniac  attempted one of those “artistic” food shots that are so popular in blogs these days. It was probably fortunate one did not quite finish the German Rosetta Stone course before the trip, and was therefore blissfully unaware of what was being said by the restaurant's patrons as they pointed and snickered.

Best. Hot Chocolate. Ever.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams ... one almost wishes it were cool enough to even consider having some Hot Chocolate before retiring. Or Schnapps. Goodnight, my pretties.


PostScript: The insomniac  would like thank Tante Fledermaus for bringing the GPOY acronym to her attention. One can already tell that subtle variations of this acronym will come in very handy for future posts. She would also like to point out that even though she didn't manage to complete the entire German Rosetta Stone course, Tante AND Fledermaus are two words she actually knows the meaning of without having to Google them. The only other useful words she retained from the course were “Zwei Bier, Bitte”. Oh, and Schnapps.


  1. You are so right it is the best cemetery ever! It is giving me some great ideas for my Goth garden! I so need ti find a cement cross and grow moss all over it

    1. Ooh, never even thought of doing that in our garden ... excellent idea, Rhonda! One shall go cross hunting this week!!

      Just happened to stumble across a recipe for creating moss on Pinterest this week:

      One can of cheap beer or 1½ cups buttermilk (the insomniac  is much more likely to have the cheap beer on hand than the buttermilk), a few handfuls of moss, one teaspoon of sugar. Put in a blender, paint mixture on item and mist daily until it grows.

  2. What a wonderful trip! the pictures are lovely. I haven't travelled a lot around europe even though the distances here are quite short. We are planning to take a car ride to Netherlands sometime and another to Poland.

    I have read your nice mail but haven't got the time to answer it. Will do as soon as I can :)

    1. We have only been to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We took the offspring and everybody loved it. You will definitely like Poland - it's very inexpensive to eat and drink, and not many tourists!

      Some day we would definitely like to visit your area of the world. The spouse has never been, and it's been thirty years since the insomniac  was there - one can barely remember it, other than it was very beautiful!

  3. haha! Hubby and I took that EXACT picture of the McDonald's sign in Salzburg. I will have to find it.....
    Love your pics of the cemetery. We didn't get to visit that. Reason #345,834 to return.
    Took a similar trip down the Rhine in '06. Love your pics!

    1. The insomniac  agrees you should never see Absolutely Everything the first time you visit a country, because you're absolutely right - one needs a good reason to plan their return!

      That's very funny you took the exact same picture! It always seems so odd to see a McDonald's in a centuries-old building, doesn't it? Probably doesn't improve the taste of the food at all, though ... ;o)

  4. The dwarf garden sounds fascinating! Love the description! And that macdonalds sign is wonderful!

    I'm saving the pics of the 2nd and 3rd GPOS in the consideration of having some kind of wall plaques made in a future more impressive house when I have money.

    I will also have to try the mossy cross thing in the future. Hopefully I will still be blogging by then and can share it with you!

    And the hot chocolate has a tiny white chocolate with mozart on it???eek! Awesome!

    1. Rhonda's idea of the mossy cross really is brilliant, isn't it? One hopes you continue blogging for a good long time, so that one can see your moss cross, whenever you get it done!

      Hot Chocolate and White Chocolate - life really doesn't get much better, does it? ;o)

  5. Lovely photos - thanks for sharing. This post really has me longing to make this trip!

    1. Whenever you decide to go, please purchase a good guide book as opposed to using the insomniac's directions ... :D