Mozart could hardly wait to get to Salzburg, Austria which is the birthplace of her blog namesake whom she is very fond of. It always tickles her now to see anything about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, so quite thrilling to be in the pretty city where he was born and grew up. She first played a Mozart tune at twenty three months on the violin and other mothers gave her that nickname when she stood and clapped in time to the music at five months in her first MusicTogether class. She has always been a very musical child and Mozart and Vivaldi are her favorite composers.
Salzburg is also the place where the “Sound of Music” was filmed and that is a favorite movie and CD of hers. She plays “Doe a Deer” on the piano, is learning “Climb every Mountain” now and sings them all. So between Mozart and “Sound of Music”, she felt a real personal connection with this city.
Thus, looking at our timetable, we decided together, that Salzburg would be the perfect place to celebrate her seventh birthday. We first thought Pompeii since she has a passion for it, but the timing was not going to work now due to our delays. She had a very special one last year in Paris, so of course we wanted to add another memorable one to the pile. She may appear spoiled and indeed she is with love, but for a child use to the trend of big parties with best friends and family at home, we like to make them special occasions with the joys of the road so that she does not miss the normal pattern too much. The road is exciting, but there are things that are sacrificed, so we try to use our creativity to minimize those things, especially for Mozart.
We think birthdays are a good excuse to splurge for all of us into a little luxury. She was perfectly excited and happy with the small, simple celebration on the Croatian coast, but sometimes it is fun just to have an excuse for a big bang. We have found that it made Paris and Salzburg more special in her memory and ours. It gave us excuses to do more research to find ways to make it more exceptional and geared for a kid. We love the idea of getting more familiar with Mozart, his life and music in a way that is kid friendly!
I must thank all my online friends at Slow Talk and Fodor’s forums who gave me lots of good ideas in planning this little extravaganza. DaVinci also got to celebrate twice this year due to timing and once was in a fancy hotel (in Santorini), so that gave Mozart the idea of wanting a hotel night. Kathy Woods (from www.luberonexperience.com), who has been an inspiration for us, has spent four visits to Salzburg with her family and daughter through different ages and suggested Wolf Dietrich Hotel (www.salzburg-hotel.at), which was perfect.
Part of the joy of celebration is the planning and anticipation and I included Mozart in my research as she looooves to plan. She has been filled with anticipation for months and counting down the days. When we saw that they had special suites called “Papageno” and “Magic Flute” and looked at the pictures on their website, we KNEW we had to book one. (No matter that they are usually used as romantic get-a-ways or honeymoon suites).
The only problem is we never know when we will arrive, since we travel by whim, so it is hard to book things in advance. Herr Armin Schmelzle, the manager and owner was extremely helpful and patient with our concerns when we contacted him via email and everybody was great at the hotel. We were lucky to have a few days to choose from once we arrived, so we just had to hope it would work out. Fortunately, September is not their busiest season, so we were hopeful.
There is an indoor pool and spa at the hotel and several hundred DVD's for their guests, which excited Mozart to no end, so even if we got a regular room we would do fine. We thought we preferred the Papageno room because of the tree in the room and she loves that character and song in the Magic Flute opera. But the Magic Flute/Queen of the Night room had a projection screen for DVD's which would be like watching movies from bed, so also tempting.
We realized that we would not get in all that we wanted to do in one day, so we divided things up, so Mozart got almost a week of being the special birthday girl which she ate up gladly. We decided that she could get three small gifts, so wandering in Salzburg, she quickly found the ideal toy store to pick them out. She planned that she would pick one and we would each pick one, but in reality, she ended up telling us what to pick once we were there.
She stuck with our small theme and got a Polly Pocket with a closet, toilet and bathroom and such to add to her collection. She had me pick a princess Playmobile with a bed and accessories and convinced her dad to pick a mom Playmobile with a camera. Then of course, we had them wrap them all up for her special hotel celebration day.
One thing that she has really missed has been a real birthday cake, as we always got special ones at home. Last year, they just stuck a candle in a dessert and we did something similar on her actual day on the Croatian coast. Unbeknownst to her, I had ordered a special cake that said “Happy Birthday, Mozart” with seven candles. It did not look anything like the ones at home and I expected tiny cake candles rather than seven votive candles, but she loved the surprise and it was delicious and waiting for us when we arrived!
Only the Magic Flute room was available and I was afraid it might be too sophisticated and sexy, but it was absolutely perfect and she was beside herself with joy as she ran about excitedly looking at every corner. The bright colors were ideal for a child's party and the staff had left a nice card, a rose in a vase, some fruit and candy along with the cake with china plates and silverware.
There was a large woodcut colorful Monostatos (one of the characters in Magic Flute) on the door that said Zauberflote (Magic Flute in its original German), so she felt special before even entering. Then there was another one in the yellow hallway along with a place to hang your coats and a bright welcome mat that said Zauberflote. She ran with glee on the bright blue carpet with gold stars and balls in the living room and into the cloud carpet in the bedroom and checked out the elephant tables, fancy toilet and rose petals on the bed.
There were drapes between the bedroom and living room that made it look like a stage which suited my little actress to a tee. The sink and opulent victorian tub had its own special platform with curtain and deluxe lighting with pyramid scenes from the Magic Flute painted on the wall. The perfect setting to make my just turned seven year old feel like a queen for the day.
We had really wanted to see the famous Salzburg puppet show of Magic Flute during our visit, but found out that they were touring in the United States at this time, so it was not possible. Thanks to this hotel we got to see the second best thing, which was a DVD performance by them on big screen TV. She also picked Happy Feet which she has been wanting to see ever since she saw a few seconds promo of it on the internet about a year ago when it first came out.
We could not get into the room until two, but we came and left our luggage in the locked closet in the lobby while we toured a bit and Mozart picked McDonalds for lunch. They have the cutest MickeyD sign in the world in Salzburg I think as they are famous for their metal signs and even that one is precious. We considered going out that night, then decided it was best to just fully enjoy our twenty two hours of indulgence, so decided to have Chinese food in for dinner which Mozart also picked and we all love.
One thing that we have noticed is that Austrians seem to really love technology. We have run into more than a few over the top examples, with them sometimes not working too well. The first example was the one in our room to project the DVD's and close all the curtains. It worked great for a short while, but soon just stopped and they could not get it working again sadly. It was really cool while it lasted and the only disappointment of our extravagant night, but they did get us a big screen flat screen TV as a replacement quickly and gave us a little discountat checkout to make up for it.
We did not let that letdown faze us and Mozart had the time of her life, enjoying every moment. I forgot my bathing suit in the rush to pack, but she and her father enjoyed the pool and spa. She always takes over my robe at hotels despite them being way too large for her and I must admit that she looks cuter in them than I do. She had plenty of toys to play with and used the romantic oil gifts from the room for making potions which she loves to do at hotels with their free samples. The lights in this room were something else and she enjoyed bringing out the “stars” above the bed and in the special bathroom.
She also read her wonderful new book that we got at one of the Mozart houses, that I can not recommend high enough. It is a picture book, but says it is for eight to twelve year olds and is a great version of the Magic Flute story. They had it in several languages and I imagine one could find it elsewhere fairly easily. It is a first edition that just came out in 2006 and we had not seen it before.
Mozart loved it and it is really nicely done for kids in a way that they can enjoy and thus makes the opera more satisfying and personal for them. The ISPN number is 80- 87015-01-0 and it is written by Mozart/Schikaneder as told by Ivona Brezinova, illustrated by Martina Skala and simply called “The Magic Flute”. It even comes with a CD in the back. We are a family that can not help ourselves from doing our own versions of the Queen of the Nights famous aria or a little “papapapa-ing”. It was extraordinary for her to be in this Magic Flute suite, reading this book and seeing the puppet show.
It could not have been a more exemplary birthday experience and I think some how we actually outdid ourselves. It will certainly be a birthday that none of us will ever forget! We ended our stay at the hotel with a divine leisurely breakfast that was included and then rushed off for more celebrations.