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The sound of music Salzburg
2003 / MAY

A fairytale always distracts one here, watching this view. The city is surrounded by lush green hills. It lies on a river between mountains. There is a cathedral on a hilltop, and lower down a market square. One desires to relate a fairytale when in this city that is listed as a "World Heritage Site" and itself like a fairytale. A tale of spring. Spring was always there in Çamlıbelde Café. Yet there was no sign of spring yet. It was midwinter and cold. But in Çamlıbelde Café spring was everywhere. A sunny Salzburg day brought spring into the café. From almost every one of the small houses that lined the narrow streets came the sound of classical music, and of course Mozart, on that Salzburg day infused inseparably with Mozart which carried this shared identity into the heart of life. But there is no need for me to conceal the fact that the huge poster on the café wall had a part in this; a poster that filled us with the fresh, wild, sunny but nippy spring air that rushed down from those green hills surrounding the city.

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The sound of music Salzburg
2003 / MAY
It covered the entire length of the wall dividing the café from the wedding salon. Who knows where and how it had found its way here. Do I recognise that boy sunk in one of the wooden chairs of the café at the edge of the road in the poster? Is that young person in one of Europe's most fascinating baroque cities looking out into future time perhaps me? That is why the spring seasons of my youth were always associated with Salzburg. At that time did I ever really visit this city which has been the capital of classical music for centuries, and where Mozart was born? My imagination used to carry me into that picture in Çamlıbelde Café. On a spring morning whipped by a cool breeze I would walk along the banks of the river which divide the city in two, then turn away from the river and head for the heart of the city, for a wonderful breakfast of hot chocolate and those celebrated Austrian cakes at Tomaseli or Glockenspiel .
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The sound of music Salzburg
2003 / MAY
These cafés that are the guardians of tradition are where the heart of the city beats. On such a day perfect for aimless wandering I would probably call in at the small liqueur shop right next to the Festspielhaus Festival house. Sipping my Orangenpunsch, consisting of rum, orange juice and sugar water, I would watch the passers-by, or perhaps dream of being an angel who could read the thoughts of the young girl at the next table. As evening fell I would walk to Getreidegasse illuminated by glittering signs and explore the narrow winding streets one by one. At weekends I would visit the market in Residenzplatz, and then perhaps go to Universitatplatz where small stalls sell mouthwatering sausage sandwiches. Eating my sandwich with relish I thought of how I was just a few steps away from the house where Mozart was born. As if on wings my feet would carry me with no effort all the way to the other side of the River Salzach to see the Mirabell Chateaux, originally built in 1606 and renovated in 1721-27, and the Mirabellgarten that stretches before it.
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The sound of music Salzburg
2003 / MAY
This magnificent garden embellished with statues of gods and goddesses was always filled with people who had come to breathe the clean spring air and scent of roses. Yet I lived in a backwater of a city that was itself a backwater. The spring seasons of my youth always carried me to Salzburg in imagination so long as Çamlıbelde Café was part of my life. When did I discover that the poster was of Salzburg? I have no idea. Years later I found myself in the cities of Europe, and one weekend I went to Salzburg. I listened eagerly to what the elderly guide was saying: 'A world-famous music festival is held every year in honour of Mozart in the city, whose plan is based on those of Italy. Instituted in 1920, the Salzburg Festival is known as the world's most expensive. Until his death, Herbert von Karajan presided over the festival, which is a showplace for Mozart's music. Leading figures of international society, artists and royalty come here, adding their own splendour to that of this city.'
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The sound of music Salzburg
2003 / MAY
The city is indeed splendid, but everyone has a story of their own with which they embellish it, and this was the guidsli story. Stubbornly and with passion the guide continued: 'This city is Mozart. It is a museum in its entirety. Not only the shops, restaurants, cafés and scenery, but even their signs all make their contribution to this museum. This is the house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. Here is his first harpsichord, there his first violin. All of these belong to the life of the genius whose childhood was inextricably bound up with Salzburg.' And what about mine? In this city to which a four-hour train journey from Vienna has carried me, I am gazing upon Salzburg surrounded by the Alpine peaks that are snow-covered winter and summer. In the middle ages this city on the banks of the River Salzach became the centre of the salt trade. I am watching it from the 11th century Hohensalzburg Castle, and music from its gigantic organ is resounding over the entire city and my dreams.
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The sound of music Salzburg
2003 / MAY

And I know that apart from the palaces, chateaux, mansions and fountains, all the buildings surrounding the five squares of the city are exactly as they were when they were built. I descend the hill and join the crowds in the market square. Buying a sandwich and, of course, a piece of cake, I stretch out on the grass in the sunshine and savour them in Çamlıbelde's Salzburg or Salzburg's Çamlıbelde. Was not Salzburg the setting for The Sound of Music?

* Müge İplikçi is a short story writer

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