When that great Austrian author, Stefan Zweig, left Vienna for a house he had bought in the hills that rumple the otherwise flat land of Salzburg, he did so to flee the consequences of war and influenza in 1919.
When I followed in his footsteps one hundred and one years later to the month, it was to flee terrorism and coronavirus, as I wrote about in these pages.
Although, that was not the whole truth: I had always had a plan not to be in a great city during the inevitable second – and third – wave lockdowns which will flow across Europe like questionable trends in fashion. My favourite capitals – London, Madrid and Vienna for example – are too impersonal to feel at home in if one cannot step into the street, too vast to police politely, and too expensive to rent the space necessary to make house-arrest, however light, tolerable.
Regional capitals, though, like Oxford or Seville, have all the beauty of former wealth and powerful minds to direct it into buildings that please the eye, but also, within an hour on foot, you are in the countryside. In Salzburg, even in the heart of the city, the countryside stares back at you.
My own residence, a perfect little 700-year-old apartment at the foot of Salzburg’s castle-hill, a charming little apartment rented from my new friend Marco, via AirBnB, is faced by the formidable 6,000-feet of the Untersberg massif, a terrifying wall of mountain that make appearances at my study window, and then disappear just as quickly, whatever the weather. Continue reading “My postcard in The Telegraph: Salzburg is well-suited to lockdown – scenic, old-fashioned and healthy” →