View North from Castle of Salzburg

The Alps to your back, north of Salzburg the great European plain stretches to the Baltic

On my tours in Europe and elsehwere i make it a point to miss cities, even fairly small ones, and tourist traps; but there are always exceptions. Salzburg is an exception to both rules, for so pleasant is the town, with its architecture and musical legacy, that it cannot be missed. Furthermore it is an interesting inflection point, for one can look north for its castle and see nothing but the Moos and flatlands of southern Germany; yet go to the other turret and gaze south, and you will see the alps not far away in Austria's lake district near Halstatt. By all means visit the castle, whose square is covered with biergartens and coffeehouses; and walk the streets, whose back alleys are full of artisans busy working wood and metal into crafts. Especially beautiful are the large carvings of Jesus' birth and visit by the wise men. Some of the characters and animals stand several feet high. On the sidewalks someone is always sketching a beautiful color rendition of Mozart or one of Austria's other icons, hoping that grateful tourists will cover the art with coins and bills. There are some reasonably price camping spots nearby, and returning south to the lake district involves some climbing and wandering among waterways that attract millions of visitors yearly. Helmut Kohl, seeking respite from the burdens of managing West Germany, often takes vacations here.