Max Peiffer Watenphul
From the handwritten account of
“Journey in Austria,” 1920
Salzburg is a wonderfully beautiful city. But to experience beauty in our age, one must endure trials.
But then one is in the sunny city. And everything is unreal as in a poem. One can walk into a park named Mirabell, with flowery plots on which old gray Baroque statues stand in dramatic poses, reaching their arms to the sky, struggling against one another and casting terrified gazes. Here, there were bishops who filled the city with splendor, men whose messengers wore vests hemmed with gold braid and with ostrich feathers swaying from their heads. There were bishops whose names were poems: Paris Laudronius, Marcus Sitticus. There were the chivalrous men who built discreet yellow and pink, little houses for their lovers in the park of Hellbrunn, and who built Schloss Hellbrunn itself, with its water features to entertain and terrify noble guests: grottos that shot sprays of water at anyone walking in, and fish that spat out water when one sat nearby. Only in Salzburg could there be poems like those of Georg Trakl, only in this city where the old Baroque churches slowly decay, the great squares lie quietly in the sun, the fountains gurgle, and the monks go through the gates, incense streaming forth from their clothes.
Where else in the world would there be a village like Anif, with a poetry surpassed only by its name? Where else would there be a Nonnberg (“Nun Mountain”), a Kapuzinerberg (“Capuchin Mountain”), a Mönchsberg (“Monk Mountain”)?
Vienna and Salzburg: that is Austria, full of music, full of the enjoyment of southern joie de vivre, with old decaying Baroque churches, splendid altars, sunny squares. I love Austria.