Water Tricks and Zoology

I’m warning you now.  If you don’t feel like looking at a bunch of animal pictures, you can opt out of this post.  But the zoo at the Hellbrunn Palace was so totally worth it, not just because of the animals, but because of its proximity to the Alps and the fact that it’s actually built into the side of a mountain.  Before we spent our afternoon and early evening animal-viewing, we spent some time at the Palace itself where we were introduced to the Prince archbishop’s trickery and deception–water-style.

The Palace itself is named for the clear spring that feeds the palace and surrounding fountains.  Rumor has it that on warm summer days, the prince-archbishop would gather his friends in the gardens, lure them toward his various fountains and grottos, and soak them thoroughly.

Hellbrunn Palace

The start of the fountain grounds

We don’t have very many pictures of the gardens.  As soon as Russ found out that random guests would at times receive a very soggy welcome, his camera went into hiding.  Regardless, it was fun watching all the kids and “brave Americans” on the tour get targeted by our tour guide and squeal with laughter when water undoubtedly shot from some unidentifiable area.

One great area was the bishop’s table, a stone table set up in the garden where the head of the house often dined with his guests.  At some point during their visit, water would shoot out from the middle of the table and from the back of the guests’ chairs, soaking everyone, except for the dry princebishop, of course.

Hellbrunn Trick Table-picture borrowed from http://www.kaprunerhof.at/hellbrunn-palace-salzburg

At other times we were led into grottos or told to stand on staggered steps to view a puppet show propelled by water.  It’s an uneasy feeling, knowing that there will be water coming from somewhere but not knowing where or when it could get you.  In some cases, the water shot out from behind you, from the floor, or from the sides of the walls.  No one was safe. It was fun!  Russ and I almost made it through the entire display.  Right at the end, however, I got sprayed right in the thigh.  It was after one of those relief-filled moments when I thought I was in the clear.  Then….wet.  It felt like one of those slow-motion sequences in movies when someone gets shot.  Almost made it!

Russ's camera makes a reappearance...far away from the trick fountains

After enjoying the tour, we headed over the Salzburg Zoo, a quick 5 minute walk from the Hellbrunn Palace.  First of all, let me just say that I love zoos.  No one has to convince me to go to one, but the incentive to visit becomes even higher when the zoo is surrounded by scenery like this:

View from Salzburg Zoo

Love the parrots in the foreground of the mountains


We had a fantastic time walking around and enjoying both the scenery and the animals.  I’ll share some of our favorites below. By the way, the safety fences and guard rails at the zoo are definitely a bit more lax than US standards!

Brown Bear


House mouse and House Rat exhibit

There's very little perspective for how small this guy actually is, but think "ping-pong ball"


"Do you understand 'wolf-speak'?" We liked this one because it clearly identifies our shy pups

Flip up the poster and read about what the position of the animal means:

"I don't have anything to say," submission, anxiety. And beside that, "I want to play!"

I can't get over it.

Don't pet the monkeys!

This little dude was sitting right over us as we went through the monkey house

Nice view, monkey.

Big Kitty


Giant cat with giant bone...glad there's a fence

Red Panda...Russ's Favorite

We had a really fantastic visit to Salzburg and feel really lucky that we made it there before our travels end.  By the way, as of today, I only have one month left to live European-style.  A sense of bittersweetness is starting to invade all of our travels.  For now, though, we’ll enjoy every second we have left…especially our upcoming travels to the Greek island of Santorini!




The moon rises over Salzburg


To check out all of Russ’s photos from our Salzburg weekend: http://rlabarca.smugmug.com/Travel/Salzburg-June-2011


And a final note: If any of you painters out there (ahem, Aunt Maryanne) feel compelled to paint any of these beautiful images that we’re showing you, we won’t claim copyright. 🙂


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by dad on June 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Nice time in Salzburg….Pam and I really enjoyed the town when we were there last summer!


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