Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mirabell Gardens

This past week brought something very very special for me. I got to Guest Blog on the Go Ahead Tours Travel Blog Site! You can read my blog HERE! It was so cool to be asked to talk about one of our trips and great to share my photos there too! 

But I promised all of you a trip to Mirabell Gardens and I found lots of photos to share with you so you can get a good "feel" of the place. Located across the river from Old Salzburg this beautiful garden is definitely a gem. Created in 1689 and altered again in 1730, these gardens are considered the best of the Baroque gardens of the world. (click on the photos to see the full sized version!)
 Our hotel was just a very short walk down the block and across the street so we visited the gardens a few times while we were in the area. Right at the crosswalk there was this painted cow! This type of artwork is very popular in the Western United States and we have seen painted whales, eagles, bears and even moose...this was our first cow! However it shows just how much this entire area was changed by The Sound of Music.
 A peek at the other side of the cow. Not terribly detailed but enough that it does get the point across!
 Most people in our tour group walked right past this entrance gate and didn't give it even a glance. I couldn't resist it! I loved the shackled look with it's flame type points. Nothing was exactly the same leaving me to think that it was all hand forged. 
 On the right hand side of the gate there was a vibrant indication of what we would find inside! These clematis flowers were just beautiful and as big as salad plates!
 There is a smaller garden area before you walk through these gates to the open gardens. We were to find that there were several smaller areas to explore like this one.
 But once you did walk through the gates you were afforded this amazing view of the Castle. Some of the new Spring flowers had been planted but you can tell by the swirls mid-ground that they were still a work in progress in some areas.
 Incredibly beautiful marble statues were gathered in one part of the gardens. Walking through the statue garden leads you to another entrance to the park as well as a way to walk towards the bridges that take you into Old Salzburg.
 Looking back from the statues gives you an idea of how it must have been to walk this promenade arm in arm with your best friend or family member enjoying the shade and beauty of the gardens.
 One thing I noticed was that the urns throughout the gardens were different. Of course I loved this one with the little lion appearing to crawl out of the sash around the urn!
This little rose hedge maze was one of two mazes we found on the property. I would love to see it in full bloom. 

At the other end of the gardens is this balustrade which overlooks the entire main garden. You can see the beginning of the promenade as well as the shady tunnel next to the tall hedge maze. From here you get the first look at the Pegasus that Julie Andrews dances around with the kids in The Sound of Music! 
 And once you reach the gates you are afforded the best view of the main gardens and the Castle. I think I fell in love right then and there. (To see the detail better just click on the photo for the larger version!)
 It was actually quite hard to get a photograph of this unicorn because there were so many people who wanted to take photos with the unicorn. I had to wait very patiently but I think it was worth it! While we waited these two young girls, Japanese students in their uniforms, came to stand close to the wall where I was waiting and just started singing the music from The Sound of Music. They sang beautifully and helped make a memory that we will never ever forget. 
 Several months later, watching The Sound of Music on the Big Screen again, it was very cool to see the Pegasus and think that I had stood right where one of our favorite films, and one of my favorite scenes from the film, had taken place.
 Wandering the gardens I found several lions. Most of them held very serene looks upon their faces. 
 This one actually stands guard over the gates to another one of the smaller sections of the gardens.
 Once you walk through those gates you are greeted by these funny little characters that form the gateway to the bridge that leads over a small walkway to a larger open lawn.
 But when you exit that area you come up this forlorn lion. His countenance just broke my heart. Instantly he was my favorite lion of these gardens.
 Standing next to the lion, up on the ledge, I got a peak at another view of the main gardens. Just lovely. Because it was located so close to our room we were able to take the time to really explore and also to just sit and enjoy the gardens and views like this one.
 Here you can see two of the very different urns in one view. The one in the background has a very frightening face carved into it while the one in the foreground is very pastoral with its ram and flower vines. And the details are everything. Look at the fence line behind the second urn. Just so very ornate, like iron lace to set off the delicate gardens.
 The second maze area was a full sized model. Most of the time you are completely unsure that you are turning the right way but in the center you find this little lion waiting for you and giving you a clear view of the way out as well as revealing a little amphitheater area!
 And when you do come out you find that you are, once again, looking down upon the little rose hedge maze across the gardens.
Walking down the steps to the main garden level we looked back towards the rose maze and saw the church that is right next to our hotel, reminding us, once again, how lucky we were to be staying so close to some place as beautiful as Mirabell Gardens.

Next stop is Melk Abbey and our first glimpse of the Danube River. Yup,  that in Blue Danube. And, yes, it is, indeed, blue.

See you then!


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