Salzburg, Austria, Birthplace of Musical Genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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If you are fortunate enough to be travelling in Central Europe in the summertime, (or anytime, for that mat...
If you are fortunate enough to be travelling in Central Europe in the summertime, (or anytime, for that matter), be sure to include in your plans Salzburg, Austria, birthplace of musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You know you are there when everything has the famous classical composer's face all over it. Salzburg makes no bones about its obvious pride for its native son, and statues, monuments, and references to Mozart abound in the city and its vicinities. If you are a music fan in general, Salzburg is the place for you. Each summer the city is home to the Salzburg Festival, a world-renowned attraction for lovers of opera and classical music. Salzburg is also where movie musical favorite THE SOUND OF MUSIC was filmed. One of the more curious--but delicious--aspects of going to Salzburg, and Austria in general, is a phenomenon called Mozartkuegeln, or "Mozart Balls." Wait! It's not what you think. They are scrumptious candies made of chocolate, of that delectable quality that only the Europeans know how to produce. They also contain hazelnut nougat and a delicious caramel-like substance. By the way, hazelnuts are to Europeans what peanuts are to North Americans. Mozart Balls make wonderful gifts to bring back with you for family and friends. They have a beautiful portrait of the composer on the packages, and are available in many sizes. Be sure to get the good kind, though, and not one of the cheaper rip-off versions. They are still affordable, and they are worth it to spend a little bit more. If you are unsure of which kind to get, try asking a local Salzburger. People in the Germanic countries tend to speak English, for the most part, if you don't know any German. One of the best places to see if you are going to Salzburg is Mozartsgeburtshaus, or "House of Mozart's Birth." You can't miss it: it is a large, multi-story house along one of the prettily narrow streets of Salzburg. It is bright gold in color, and has the name written right on it in large, elegantly curved letters. You climb up gorgeous old steps towards the top. Inside you will find actual instruments that the musical prodigy played: his childhood violin, which is locked up in a clear vault for viewing, and his beautiful and famous piano with the black keys. Although it has a sign perched atop it with the unequivocal words in several languages: "Do Not Touch," I must confess that I snuck a touch with the tip of my index finger in a stealthily executed, perfectly timed manner. The stern Austrian woman guarding the room was suspicious, but didn't notice a thing. I was in heaven. I had just touched Mozart's piano! The very same one that he, brilliant being that he was, did touch. I was on cloud nine for a couple of hours after that, until I went to Rome. But that's another story.