I wanted to blog about this yesterday but real life got in the way. I did manage to post a mystery question on my Instagram account, though, and wanted to share more about it.
My question was: ‘Where is this, and what’s the link to my latest book?’
Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have seen the answer already, so now it’s your turn! This little scene is in Salzburg (Austria), and is something we discovered on a city break there a few years ago. Poking around in an area across the main bridge from the city centre, we found a steep cobbled street heading under an arch, then taking off uphill past a whole series of large, ornate stand-alone shrines. Intrigued, we followed the shrines, and the street as it wound ever higher, until we popped out under the high stone walls of an old monastery with a lookout platform that gave stunning views across the river to the castle, cathedral, and the rest of the city.
A bit of research on Google shows that the monastery is the Kapuzinercloster, or Capuchin monastery, which gave its name to the hill it perches on – the Kapuzinerberg, or Capuchin Mountain. The shrines are stations of the cross, and the street, at least in its lower reaches, is called the Stefan Zweig Weg (Stefan Zweig Way). Zweig was a famous Austrian writer who lived in a house on the mountain for several years before going into exile to escape the Nazis. He spent some time in Bath, which he called ‘little Salzburg’ – and I can understand why as the architecture and hilly landscape is very similar.
I fell in love with Kapuzinerberg. It had one of those magical, almost fairy-tale atmospheres of somewhere that’s real but somehow not quite real at the same time, and the combination of history, art, and that sudden surprise view made it really special. So much so that I used it as a location for a short story titled Night Music, which wove Salzburg’s musical heritage (especially Mozart, of course) with the magic of the setting, and more than a little romance. The story turned out quite naughty, as two men find inspiration in the naked statues of the shrines and create a little ‘night music’ of their own! Recently I polished the story again and it’s now available in my latest book, ‘Heat Haze: Summer Sizzlers‘, where you can read more about the Kapuzinerberg, and its effect on my characters, for yourselves.