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Behind The Scenes of Salzburg: Tour with a Night Watchman & Historic “Almkanal” Crossing

Austria, Travel With Locals, City Travel, Europe, Travel Blog 0

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The historical night watchmen. More and more, we find those particularly intriguing, talented “storytellers” all over Europe, who thanks to their traditional clothing and use of language appear to have time-travelled straight from the Middle Ages. My first point of call with the “his-story” of a night watchman was in 2013 in the Danish city of Ribe, followed by a visit to Waidhofen an der Ybbs in the Lower Austrian Mostviertel district, as well as Austria’s oldest brewery town, Weitra in the Waldviertel. And now, it is Hans & his wife Marinette who receive us all too well dressed in the city of Salzburg, Austria’s (secret) beer capital and home to musical geniuses such as Mozart or the Sound of Music. It really is entirely fascinating to be listening to the historical figure of night watchman Hans and dive into the city of Salzburg of about 500 years ago. Wow!

Wir starten unseren Aufenthalt in der Stadt Salzburg (wie könnte es anders sein ;) ) mit dem überaus genüsslichen Frühstück im Hotel Auersperg, einer erstklassigen Adresse für den Besuch in Salzburg.

We start our stay in the city of Salzburg with this sumptuous breakfast menu at the Hotel Auersperg, an excellent address for planning your stay in Salzburg.


Hier begrüßen uns Nachtwächter Hans mit seiner Frau Marinette ...

Here, “our” night watchman Hans and his wife Marinette welcome us in their traditional costumes …


Marinette, die sich vor allem auf Nachtwächterführungen für Kinder spezialisiert hat!

… Marinette, who has specialised in running night / evening city tours with children! …


... während sie diesmal ganz ihrem Hans die "Show" überlässt, hier beispielsweise bei der Erklärung der Tatsache, dass Nachtwächter auf den Straßen für Recht und Ordnung sorgten- und dabei gut und gerne auch mal Leute verhaften und abführen durften.

… while this time not stealing the show of her dear “Hans”, who loves to tell-tale the history of Salzburg in a quite peculiar way, showing the rights and duties of historic watchmen during the Middle Ages, such as the duty to keep order at nighttime and – if necessary – arrest people on the street!


Auf unserem Rundgang durch das historische Salzburg ...

On our walk through the historic city of Salzburg …


... darf in modernen Zeiten wie diesen natürlich der Genuss nicht fehlen: Reisebloggerin Sonja lauscht gespannt - Prost unserem tollen Nachtwächter!

… we cannot deny being spoiled to the comfort of modernity, enjoying a glass of beautiful sparkling wine as we listen to the fascinating night watchman figure Hans!


Ich empfehle jedem, eine solche Tour in der Stadt Salzburg zu unternehmen, schon alleine aufgrund der fesselnden Erzählweise von Hans in seiner wahren Rolle als historischer Nachtwächter Salzburgs. Ein Vergnügen für alle Sinne ...

I honestly and truly recommend you to take a tour with Hans when coming to Salzburg: The way he is able to present his stories borders excellent acting and a real talent for taking you back in time …


... wir sagen DANKE für einen unvergesslichen Besuch & Einblick in die Historie der weltberühmten Kulturhauptstadt Salzburg!

… so THANKYOU for an amazing visit and a unique angle onto learning more about the history of town!


But this is just the beginning.

Once a year, the Salzburg Almkanal opens up for visitors, allowing you to explore the subterranean vaults of the Mönchsberg hill and its famous Hohensalzburg Fortress.

“You really want to cross Salzburg on a dark, narrow canal underneath its old town?!” I still have to smile at the words of my friends and remember being sceptical, too, about taking a tour through the Almkanal of Salzburg! What could it possibly be? Now, I know that this canal is truly outstanding, a masterpiece of engineering science dating back to some of the oldest waterway and energy systems in Central Europe! Countless legends and stories have been woven around the miracle of its construction, its (military) use during wartimes as well as the breakthrough in supplying Salzburg with fresh mountain water. Each year in September, the Almkanal is being dried up for maintenance and repair, thus opening a short time window for visitors to come and experience a walk through it: “At peak times, we run our tours every 15 minutes”, our friendly Almkanal guide is about to explain to us. “You are best advised to rent some gum boots here!”

Gum boots?! Yes, gum boots. Do bring some torches, too – a head torch even if you can. And a good jacket, as well as a pair of old Jeans, will all go a long way for this adventure tour of a kind, crossing the Almkanal underneath Salzburg’s famous Mönchsberg hill!

Los geht's: Schicke Gummistiefel für die Begehung des Salzburger Almkanals!

Off we go: Putting on some fancy gum boots for crossing the Almkanal in Salzburg! “Lebensgefahr” – a question of life or death? We don’t think so …


... unser Führer passt gut auf auf uns ...

… after all, our guide takes extremely good care of us …


... unser Führer passt gut auf auf uns ...

… and knows where to go, at all times …


... manche Passagen sind natürlich etwas eng, aber es bleibt doch genügend Zeit ( und Platz), um die Funktionsweise sowie dem Bau des Kanals Respekt und Geschichten abzurollen ...

… some passages are narrow, I have to admit, but there is always room for stopping and stories about this ancient canal underneath the city of Salzburg …


Dennoch sind wir glaube ich alle ganz froh, als uns der Weg wieder ans Tageslicht führt ...!

However I must say that we are all quite happy when daylight greets us again …!


Und zwar geradewegs hier: Am Fuß des Mönchsberg kommen wir inmitten des Friedhof von St. Peter wieder an!

… such as the sight of this historic cemetery, St Peter’s cemetery at the foot of the Hohensalzburg Fortress!


Stadtführerin Heidi Hochrießer ...

Here, our charming city guide Heidi Hochrießer …


... nimmt uns mit auf einen Besuch in die "Katakomben Salzburgs"!

… takes us on a tour into the “catacombs of Salzburg”!


Und so entdecken wir ...

And so we discover many a detail about this peculiar cemetery that is only open for visitors at certain times, “home” to many of Mozart’s family and friends …


... noch die eine oder andere unglaubliche Geschichte bzw. kunsthistorisches Kleinod der Stadt Salzburg, wenn wir glauben bereits sehr viel zu wissen!

… with Heidi telling us lots more stories when really we thought we had seen all of Salzburg by now!


Hinter den Kulissen der Stadt, ergeben sich spannende Blickpunkte auf eben jene!

But it is when you start getting “behind the scenes”, and shift your focus, that you really start exploring. 😉


Next time, let me tell you more about the culinary highlights we experienced travelling “behind the scenes” of Salzburg, such as the famous Salzburg “Stinkerknödel” (smelly dumplings?!) at the inn of Roland Essl, or the Salzburger Trinkmoor where a moor has been converted into a … drink, beer or bread. No, I haven’t lost it (yet!), nor have my friends: Check out what my fellow travel bloggers & friends have to say about their particular experiences of Salzburg:

Cheers & Enjoy your meal! 😀

Disclaimer: We have been invited “behind the scenes” of Salzburg by the city of Salzburg. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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Behind The Scenes of Salzburg: Tasty Dumplings & Totally Awesome "Moor" Food!


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