60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 1 August 1952:

At 7 a.m. in the morning it was cold and I had a sparse spit bath. After a good night of rest that was had by all, we had the most delicious continental breakfast of scrambled eggs and chocolate. It was the best breakfast I can remember on this trip.

Everyone was eager to see Salzburg and get going for the day. A group of us strolled down to the other hotel to find the bus. On the way I caught sight of the trains. Next thing I knew we were off to Salzburg in the bus.

The first part of Salzburg we sighted was a huge castle on a hill. It was a landmark from the surrounding country around it. And I spotted a military palace and some cobblestone streets that seemed older than Innsbruck. We drove closer to get a look at the castle. Along the way a red brick church was being rebuilt and a big sign asking for help. Then we circled around looking for an American Express across a bridge over the Salzach River which runs through the middle of Salzburg.

In Salzburg there were lots of Army personnel and equipment in evidence all around the city and a beautiful footbridge across the river. We discovered a statue of Mozart in the city square where we actually found the American Express.

There was a big plaza just below the castle with a huge fountain in the middle of the adjoining square. Water was spurting out of the horses mouth and nose. It was five minutes until opening time and servicemen were waiting in front of the building to go in, so we joined the crowd.

American Express resided in a structure that used to be an old café Glockenspiel. As I waited I observed a beautiful mural in front of the building on the adjoining street and old buildings intermingled with new buildings. There were no apparent bombed out buildings from World War II in evidence as of yet. All of us caused a traffic jam in the mail department which spread to all the other departments nearby. I received one letter from Twila, my old standby.

Now we went out in search of the post office. We found the military post office, but we were not supposed to use it. Everyone seemed willing to let us though. However, a man gave us a scare about the script and informed us, “that there was a five year sentence if you’re caught with it!” Finally, we found a civilian post office and bought air letters.

Then we met up with a cute female guide, Margaret, for the day. She wore a native costume with green anklets. She helped us get a guidebook in a tabak shop. At first she had trouble with a mike she was using so we could hear her.

I caught sight of the fortification on the left bank of the river, big grey building for trials, and prison. Then we passed an exhibition building and a Salzburg swimming pool full of kids, which had been made by the Americans. As we reached the top of the mountain we saw seven lakes. Then we passed barracks that had been built for German soldiers by Hitler that later was used as a concentration camp. The buildings were now private houses.

As we continued workmen were oiling the entrance of Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg and its grounds. There were fish in the pond and then the water turned on in the mechanical theater that was built by salt mine workers. The water came out of stools, around the tables, out of tabletops, and out of the ground by the stools. Our guide, Margaret, tried to keep us together and warned us about the artificial rain that would be coming. This show included 114 moving figures, then afterwards the artificial rain would start all over again. We all got a little wet on this last dealy. The archbishop who built this must have been quite a card.

Margaret, our guide told us how all the refugees were trying to get into the United States zone. The intelligent ones found creative ways to get out of the Russian zone like through the arch of water. She said if the Russians ever came to Austria she would kill herself. Once again she warned us to get up on the steps to avoid the artificial rain. Dr. Rogers was standing down when the water came out under the step and his pants got a little wet.

Then we followed the regular palace tour and one man asked when the guide was going to say the information in English. Finally our guide who spoke many languages repeated to us what the guide was saying. Afterwards, we saw the gardens back in town and there was a famous high school music course. Music students were here for six weeks from all over the world.

We all trekked into the Mirabell Service Club which was now the EES Snack Bar where we found high school students practicing. Mirabell used to be one of the finest restaurants in Salzburg.
Then we were off to the Landes Theater, Trinity Church and a castle built by a famous archbishop. This archbishop gave the castle to a gypsy dancer, Mirabell, and it’s now used for town administration.

Soon after Margaret took us to a white house with a little wooden garden house where Mozart had composed The Magic Flute. As we continued we saw the Mozart Hotel, American Officers Hotel, and a famous cafe.

There was a small street with lots of traffic with tiny narrow streets going through to the next street. In the evening before a concert there could be over 5,000 vehicles in this area. Margaret told us that Napoleon had been in Salzburg three different times in his lifetime.

When I looked up I could see the houses built in the mountains. In olden times rocks would fall down on the houses and would kill many people. Starting in 1669 every spring the Austrians began clearing the loose rocks. After that it became much safer. There were bakery shops from 1429 a.d. A gate going into the old town was built by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, who made Hellbrun Palace in the 1600’s. We discovered some famous white horses and a stable and bathing place for the horses there. Afterwards, we passed the Restaurant Hotel Goldener Kirch, a famous restaurant.

While traveling on a street through the mountains we discovered the old University of Salzburg. This school, which provides secondary education, was called a gymnasium. Next we saw the market place in front of the University Church. We drove down the main street of the old town, which had been Mozart’s birthplace.

Nearby was a Franciscan Church that was the most interesting church in Salzburg to me. It had a wood carved altar. Then a Franciscan Monastery and Benedictins. Johann Michael Haydn, who was a famous composer, was buried in Salzburg. I noticed there was Baroque architecture all around us.

Farther on we observed a famous wine restaurant built in the mountains and St. Peters Cemetery which was located at the foot of the catacombs from 300 a.d. Blue Beard of Salzburg and many famous people were buried here.

Our guide told of a citizen of Salzburg that was killed by his seven wives by tickling him to death. The catacombs that were carved into the rock of the Festungsberg had provided hiding place for the Christians in the mountains. It was considered the oldest place in Salzburg. In 1491 a.d. the nearby St. Margaret’s Chapel was only opened for burial ceremonies.

Our bus turned around and we headed back to American Express. Our guide pointed out where Franz Schubert, an Austrian composer, had slept. The bus continued down the street where Mozart had been born. After a short distance we got out of the bus and ate at a café along this street. They charged us more than the menu had stated.

Now onto Mozart’s Museum where there was a sample of Mozart’s hair. Displays included his first violin, piano, and clavichord. There was a family portrait of Mozart with his family tree. Herr Watkins commented, “Mozart couldn’t stand the people in Salzburg and now he’s their favorite son.”

Next was an exhibit of a complete collection of his works. Amazingly Mozart was five years old at his first concert and performed before European royalty.

Lucile and I ran down to the little box office to get tickets for the concert tonight. There were 30 and 48 schilling seats to choose from. Then we wandered around to the catacombs, Mozart’s grave, and St. Margaret’s Chapel. This was the oldest church in Austria and Germany. There was a tomb with a tree growing out of the grave, tombstone, and wall. Next we hurried over to the Salzburg Square and Cathedral, which housed the largest organ in Austria. There was a Dominic organ and we listened to a recital. As I looked around I noticed the small altar. And the cathedral had been bombed and was being rebuilt.

Then we went down through an old gate to a little bakery which had been operating since 1429 a.d. We bought delicious honey bread and ate it in front of the shop while it was warm. We rushed back to the Glockenspiel in time to hear the bells play Minuet of Don Juan.

A small mad search ensued for the “john.” We hurriedly rushed up one alley and down another. Thankfully a lady looking out a window took us up to a private one up the stairs.

Afterwards, we wrote letters in the post office while some kids left to go back on the bus. Eloise and I went over to buy tickets for the concert. While waiting we sat near an American lady who taught music in Vienna. Then we purchased tickets for the trolley to St. Leonhard in case we were rushed for time getting to the concert.

Arriving at the concert Lucile and I had different seats on the top of the balcony. One seat on one side and another seat on the other side. There were mostly tourists and students in the audience. I sat next to an Italian fellow and lady from the eastern United States who had been teaching in Vienna for the past year. She had been to Utah and when I told her we were from BYU she replied that there were 50 Mormons in Vienna. I hadn’t even told her I was one, but she just presumed it.
The chamber music started and it was good. Afterwards, while we were waiting for the trolley we went to the ESS Snack Bar but they wouldn’t serve us. We didn’t have a PX card. We took the trolley back in the dark. Thankfully there was a delicious dinner waiting in our rooms.

Manner, Dress of Austrians Intrigue Visitors From Utah

Editor’s note: This is another in a series of articles by Mrs. Afton Hansen of Provo giving her impressions of an European tour she is making with a group of Utah college students.

Dear Friends;
Since last writing to you about our entrance into Germany, we have crossed the Austria-Germany border many times, with the usual passport procedure. Now in Austria we are partaking of its hearty hospitality.

“Its meadows living green, its harvests gold.
Broidered with flax and saffron, blue and yellow,
Sweet spiced with flowers and many a fragrant fruit,
A rich bouquet of blossoms every-where,
Tied with the Danube’s bow of silver ribbon.”
Franz Grillparzer.

Innsbruck on the River Inn is a fairy-tale city, so the guide book says, and that, we can easily believe, for we reached it late at night after traveling over curved mountain roads for hours. The lights of the valley town seemed so far below the lights in the darkness above. Not being able to see the outline of the lofty Tyrolean Alps, the lights from those castles, really seemed to be in the sky. Though at night, not in dream, they were castles in the sky.

Next morning, songs of birds in the wooded area close to our window was a pleasant awakening. The entire day at Inglerhog Hotel was a paradise enjoyed by the wealthy folk and also by us. Majestic mountain scenery seen from lawn chairs or walks in the garden or on mountain paths was relaxing to our travel weary selves.

The homey countryside added to our repose, with its ripened fields of heavy headed grain, hay being pitched and hauled, and in several spots, close to a tree, was a canopied crucifix where these sincerely genuine peasants could kneel to thank God for their plentiful harvests and good families.

Many steep mountain slopes are also cultivated. Often, farmers have not a meter of level land and it is said that even the chickens have climbing irons.

It is no wonder that these Tyrolean ladies wear no makeup. Climbing steep mountains, working in the fields, riding bicycles to work in town and factory, gives them a natural glow and sparkle with sturdy wholesomeness.

More often in these Alpine villages and towns, than in other countries, is the native dress worn. The Tyrolean dirndle skirt of the women of course is worn all over the world, but here combined with it is the puffed sleeve blouse over which is the red sleeveless basque with its sweetheart shaped front. An apron, low heeled shoes and half socks complete the costume and often the wardrobe. Very little jewelry is worn, nor is it seen to any extent in the shops.

The costume of the Tyrolean men is delightfully amusing to us. Those everlasting short leather pants are worn by many workers, hikers, natives and tourists. You will see some of our girls wearing them when they come home. They haven’t yet purchased the green suede hat with a 16 inch white chicken feather or brown brush-like decoration worn by the men of Tyrol. Tyrol is one of the nine provinces of Austria which has so much local color and atmosphere. Here we would love to stay longer.

The choice piece in many an inn is the colored tile stove.

In the dining room of our Sasthaus zum Schorn, in St. Leonhard, is one of light-green ceramic tile, narrow high-boy style, tall enough to reach the ceiling. In the next room, the beer parlor, is another beauty in tile stoves. It is dark green tile about five feet square, domed with cream colored tile which is studded with balls of dark green. Around the stove, and close to it, is a well polished hardwood bench (probably polished by the leather panted sitters), where the jolly people can sit and warm their backs during the cold winter evening.

During the month of August, as many as four opportunities a day are given for music lovers (and who isn’t such a lover in this spot) to enjoy the music of native musicians. Mozart, Hadyn, Bruchner, Schuber, Ravel, Strauss, Beethoven and others. If we were going to be here long enough and had we made reservations fully 10 months in advance we could have seen and heard the seasons rich offering of The Marriage of Figaro, The Misanthrope, The Magic Flute (we visited the house where Mozart wrote it), and The Love of Danae, Strauss’ last opera, only by a few hours did we miss Everyman, a play performed so effectively in open air in front of St. Peters cathedral.
Being scheduled to give the program in church in Vienna the bus and most of the students went on. Only four remained to attend the Sunday morning offering of the festival in Salzburg, of which I may tell you more, at a later day.

In Austria as in Germany, American G.I.’s are everywhere present. In Salzburg there are about 50 LDS servicemen, who hold their regular Sunday services.

Since 1946 the Allies have been conducting negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement on an Austrian State Treaty for the long promised freedom and complete independence. Just recently the Austrian government has appealed to the United Nations to bring about evacuation of their territory. The four powers have held 258 meetings on the problem, at the last of which the Soviet delegate was not present. In the meantime, the natural resources are unlawfully held from the Austrian people. Direct costs up to 1951 amount to $530,000,000 aside of the losses to Austrian economy. By far are those losses and expenses created by the Soviet Forces. Chief of them is the seizure of Austrian oil products. Some 270,300 acres of farm land in the richest provinces of lower Austria have been seized for maneuvers and proving grounds. One half of the fleet of Danube River Steam-ships and virtually all warehouses have been seized as well as 600 railroad engines with thousands of box cars, and at least 30,000 telephones.

All this is disheartening to the Austrian people, but they bravely carry on. Austria is a democratic republic. All citizens of the federation are equal before the law. Privileges of birth, sex, position and class and religion are abolished. Freedom of worship and conscience, freedom of press, freedom of assembly and association and correspondence are guaranteed by the basic laws.
The letter to me from my folks, which reached me in Vienna, was censored.

Within an area a little larger than the state of Maine, and with population of seven million there is a total of 6,105 schools of various levels—not including the Peoples University Movement, which is in full swing.

Austria has a rich and varied background, dating back to about 3500 b.c. when the first settlements began. About 2400 b.c.  the Indo-Germanic tribes found their way to the Danube River and Alpine regions—then in 400 b.c.  came the onrushing Celts. The expanding Roman Empire overflowed into what is now Austria about 200 b.c.  and about 300 a.d. Christianity began to spread in Austria and then in 1952 came the students from Brigham Young University in America in a bus chauffeured by Andre’ Gullchard, a Frenchman. Austria will “never be the same,” but it will undoubtedly recover from this visit as well as the visits of the warriors and bombs.

Afton Hansen


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