Salzburg, just aaah. I just loved everything about Salzburg–that the Trapp family performed there, that they hid out in the cemetery I walked through, that “The Sound of Music” was filmed in various locations in the Old Town. I loved the architecture, art, music, food, polkas, prayers, catacombs, street artists, and gelato. I loved it all, but I must go back. I must see where Maria and the Baron were married. Until then, the movie.


Saturday, June 22A beautiful drive through Austrian countryside and an inspirational morning prayer set the tone for our day in Salzburg. Each day on the bus, we prayed the traditional Benedictine invitatory, “Lord, open my lips. –And my mouth will proclaim your praise,” followed by Psalms. Fr. Volker led our traditional prayers, but today also shared Native American Aztec and Sioux prayers that resonated with many of us.

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Oh, only for so short a while have you loaned us to each other…Let me not take those I love for granted…as if tomorrow you would call them home to you…When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light…

The prayer was a powerful reminder to live each day, THIS day to the fullest; to appreciate our friends and travel companions and to be profoundly grateful, to “stand beneath the endless waterfall of (God’s) abundant gifts to me.” It was also a reminder to be gentle with each other, as “the other is also wounded.” The morning prayer made a difference in our day!

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Passing through the tunnels of the walled city to the Old Town (Alstadt), we arrived in medieval Salzburg for our morning Mass at St. Peter’s Benedictine Monastery. As with many of the centuries-old churches we visited, reconstruction and renovation could throw a wrench into some of our plans, and the same for Salzburg. There was confusion and a wait to determine the chapel that we would celebrate Mass in.

Although inconvenient, it was encouraging to consider that pilgrims can enjoy the rich beauty and history of the churches for centuries to come—and we took advantage of our time to practice impromptu Tai Chi Chih, a form of meditative movement. It was peaceful to do and to watch later (as some sharp cookie recorded.)

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Our morning Mass was held at St. Michael’s Chapel, where a polka band played in the square just outside. It was festive and celebratory to hear the music throughout the Mass, and fun to compete with the sound when we were singing.

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We had a walking tour of the Old Town including St. Peter’s, the Cathedral and Mozart’s birthplace. It’s hard to believe that the houses date back 1000 years (note the dates on building tops.)

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IMG_4879We had lunch at St. Peter’s Stiftskeller, believed to be the oldest documented restaurant in Europe, and enjoyed the famous dessert, Salzburger Nockerl.


We had time to explore St. Peter’s, founded in the 7th century, with its cemetery and catacombs. It’s striking Christian architecture and amazing views were used for filming “The Sound of Music.” As a lifelong fan of the book and movie, it was a delight to be at the site where the Trapp family performed their final concert and walking through the cemetery that served as their hiding place before escaping to Switzerland


Note: Fr. Volker and pilgrims looking up at us in the catacombs.


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One of my favorite parts of travel is talking to “the locals.” This street artist was an absolute joy to talk with and he was so grateful for the business.  I have since used his watercolor art to make a SoulCollage card called “Adventure of the Soul.”

Salzburg holds a special place in my heart. I loved the architecture, the art, the food, the music and the spiritual messages of the day. I need to go back for “The Sound of Music” tour to see the chapel where Maria and the Baron were married. Until then, the movie!

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My new artist friend. The sculpture “Pietá” by Anna Chromy. And more pistachio gelato.

For more Benedictine Pilgrimage posts.

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“Adventure of the Soul” card made with watercolor art from a street artist.