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Salzburg was magical. Salzburg was lovely. Salzburg was freezing. I'm told the magic of Salzburg is in the hills, but we had trouble looking too far up, as the wind was out of the north and the snow flakes were falling in our eyes as we looked around.

We noticed one of the first miracles of European Union integration as we departed Innsbruck for Salzburg: our train almost immediately left Austria at the border at Kufstein, and traveled the rest of the way through Germany – endless fields buttoned up for the winter with rolls of hay stacked at the margins – before arriving. Imagine how different things were a few decades ago when Germany was divided and Austria represented the frontier and the Iron Curtain that demarked the two philosophies of the Cold War.

This time, the only thing that was Cold was possibly our toes. But we trotted around the city in a horse-drawn carriage as the Austrians tried to get us to take interest in the sights and sounds of Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music. We visited some museums, took the cable car up to the castle to enjoy the exposition of Middle Age armor and World War I fighting implements. We also caught a presentation of Mozart's Magic Flute, performed by marionettes. But we did a lot of this, too: enjoying hot chocolate in lovely cafés.

And that was to warm up after we did a lot of this: ice skating on Mozartplatz. After all, this was vacation, and this is what we were here to do. Sure, it's the birthplace of Mozart. That was three hundred years ago – if the place has lasted until now, I reckon it will last a couple more while we make this vacation kid-friendly!


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