The peace of ice-cold winter days
At no other time of year is the baroque face of Salzburg bathed in such pure and pristine light. The bright blue skies at the beginning of the year are a clear indication of the low temperatures that prevail at the northern edge of the Alps. The winter sun illuminates the magnificent façade of the cathedral, and also lights up the snow on the surrounding peaks out in the distance, where there is plenty of action and activity out on the slopes. SalzburgerLand and the winter sports towns such as Zell am See and Bad Gastein are some of the most urbane and modern places in the world.
Furthermore, within the city of Salzburg itself, the winter is still real! Snowflakes tickle frozen noses, dancing and up and down the medieval lanes in the icy air. At this time of year, the light thrown out on to the cobbles by the coffee houses is more tempting than ever. A brisk stroll in the snow up on the Mönchsberg is gladly followed by a ‘Melange’ coffee, a cup of hot chocolate and punch cake. It’s the time when the locals like to get together and discuss all the latest gossip.
In January, once the New Year’s celebrations and Mozart week have been dealt with, Salzburg is able to breathe out and relax, and the inhabitants of the city have their city back for a few weeks. A night-time walk around the Old Town reveals the spell cast by the many examples of baroque architectural art. Each step taken resounds along the lanes as the sounds of bells fill the empty squares. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the age of the prince bishops.
It gets dark early at this time of year and the nights are long. ‘Maria Lichtmess’ on the 2nd of February is the first sign that the light is returning. From now on the days become noticeably longer and after carnival, a celebration not indulged in in large numbers in Salzburg, there’s Lent. This period lasts 40 days and is traditionally rung in by the eating of herring spread on Ash Wednesday. In the Austrian capital city of beer brewing the people drink a traditional extra-strength ‘Bock’ beer. Of course, in the daytime, pleasure is drawn from sitting well-wrapped-up to soak up the warmth of the winter sunrays on the benches along the banks of the River Salzach and in Mirabellgarten park.