Photo by Lorraine Seal
We’ve had perfect summer weather in Salzburg the past few days. The sky has been clear and warm, a perfect foil for the bright green trees as they lie against it. The domes and onion-topped steeples of the Altstadt are bright against its blue. Sun glints off the blue-green Salzach, which shines as it snakes under the bridges connecting the Altstadt and the Neustadt, dotted with white swans. People wander the narrow streets in shirt sleeves and sleeveless shirts, shorts and sandals, and cyclists whiz through with abandon.
Taking advantage of the balmy evening, last night I met some friends at Bellini’s Italian Bar, which is snug up against Schloss Mirabell in the Neustadt on the Right Bank. Like many restaurants, coffee houses and bars in Salzburg, Bellini’s Bar has tables on the pavement at its front, and we sat in the easy warmth of the late sunshine, talking and laughing. The setting sun cast its gold on twin spires of Kirche St. Andrä, the neogothic church opposite, site of the Schranne, a farm market held every Thursday. Shadows fell across the elaborate pediments, architraves and columns of a building near it, emphasising the classicists forms of its Gründerzeit style. It is a late nineteenth century style more typical of Vienna, and in Salzburg it’s found almost exclusively in this quarter of the city.
The sky was nearly colourless over silhouettes of the buildings as I said goodnight and started walking across Mirabellgarten on the way to my bus. At the top of the steps leading to the formal gardens, I stopped. The Pegasus fountain lay a few metres away; I could still make it out in the low light. To my right, the domed roof of the small conservatory shone white. Below in the garden, lights glittered and the strains of a band concert reached me across the twilight. And, shimmering overhead, the Festung, illuminated against the glowing sky, presided over Salzburg.
The music ended, and I turned to follow the path through the park. A couple strolled by, her shoulder leaning into his arm. A jogger panted along; a bicyclist whizzed past. Under the darkening sky, Salzburg’s street life continued.
Midway across the bridge to the left bank, I stopped again to look back over the Altstadt. Under the bridge, the river unfurled like a pale satin ribbon in the last gleaming light. Along the footpaths on the river’s banks, street lamps sparkled through the low-hanging chestnut leaves. The roofs, spires, steeples and domes of the city, clustered within Mönchsberg’s protective flank, rose in their colours – russet red, copper-blue, white, bronze and green. All was beautiful under the luminous sky, pale at the edges but turning a deep violet-blue overhead.
I crossed the bridge, climbed the steps to Müllner Hauptstrasse, and caught the bus home, wrapped in the magic of Salzburg’s evening beauty.