At 660 years old, the Arthotel “Blaue Gans” is the oldest inn in the city: right in the heart of the trendy and museum district, just a few steps from the Großes Festspielhaus and Mozart’s birthplace, the hotel is the perfect starting point for discovering the UNESCO World Heritage city, but also the ideal retreat from the impositions of the world. For the current issue of eMove360° magazine in german language, author Sabine Metzger was allowed to set up her quarters in the history-steeped Arthotel Blaue Gans at Getreidegasse 41. Here are her impressions:
Take a century-old building, works by contemporary artists and contemporary design: here, someone knows how to play with harmonizing contrasts. In addition, the Blaue Gans is the ideal place for exploring the city of Mozart, but also a place of peace, of informality, of coming home, once the heavy wooden door to the bustling Getreidegasse has fallen shut. The KIA Niro EV is waiting to be charged in the nearby Altstadtgarage in the depths of the Mönchsberg. We recharge our batteries while strolling through the alleys of the baroque city, discovering exotic secret spots and, above all, having inspiring conversations with Andreas Gfrerer.
“My house is actually a large collection box in which I store encounters with inspiring people,” describes Andreas Gfrerer as we sit down in the guest garden. The 51-year-old native of Salzburg has been allowed to call himself the owner of this Salzburg hotel legend for 25 years. In 1997, Andreas Gfrerer, then 26 years old, took over one of the most historic hotel addresses in the city of Salzburg.
Creativity, the will to create and youthful naivety
He says of October 1, 1997, the day he took over the hotel: “At the stroke of midnight, a nomadic student became a settled hotelier in the Getreidegasse, whose house was as strange to him as it was outrageous. My parents’ 25-year lease had come to an end and I had decided to trade in my lifelong dream in California for a new one in Salzburg, the beginning of which was more like a nightmare. The need for investment in the house was obvious and the optics a painful one. The task I had taken on felt like several Augean stables, and it would have required a financial Hercules, which I was not. However, I thought I was in possession of heroic powers, consisting of creativity and the will to create. Today I know: what felt so powerful was my youthful naiveté and the self-confidence of the inexperienced.”
“A hiding place from the impositions of the world”.
Step by step, he developed the house at No. 41 Getreidegasse into an art hotel. For the quarter century, he has remodeled for the eighth time: One of the centerpieces of the hotel, entrance area, lobby and passage to Karajan Square get a new face. A lounge invites guests to linger in comfort, and the passageway becomes the surface for a large-format graphic by artist Christian Schwarzwald.
After several conversions and renovations, a tastefully furnished hotel has emerged over the years in which contemporary art is omnipresent. 120 objects accompany guests in the rooms, corridors, entrance area or wine archive. An original drawing by Alfred Kubin, in whose novel “The Other Side” the Blaue Gans is the scene of action several times, has recently been added to the hotel’s otherwise contemporary collection.
The cuisine: Typical Salzburg with a pinch of Italy.
The Blaue Gans was once an inn along Europe’s most important trade route to Venice. “Our house founders fetched silver and precious metals from the mountains of the Tauern and sold them to Venice. On the exchange route, citrus fruits, olive oil, capers, wine, almonds, spices, even oysters and other products of the south came to Salzburg,” says the landlord, who wants to continue this centuries-old tradition with the kitchen line.
Thus it is first-class products of the area on this side and on the other side of the Tauern, paired with the ease of the south, which chef Michael Scheiber conjures up on the plate. In the shady garden, between olive and citrus trees, you can enjoy Austrian classics such as fried chicken, boiled shoulder sherzl or the legendary veal liver, but also borrows from northern Italy in the form of vegetable dishes and the differently filled Tascherl from the in-house food manufactory depending on the season. The Austrian dessert tradition is upheld in the form of semolina pancakes, curd dumplings and the like, fine homemade ice cream and sorbets round off the menus.
After a – for me – world’s best Wienerschnitzel with Erdäpfel- Vogerlsalat and cranberries as a side dish – Gfrerer has even for me, who virtually grew up in Salzburg, still secret tips ready and sends me on a surprising one and a half hour walk, on which I may not only discover a large vineyard, but also marvel at pink flamingos…..
Price: double room from 179 euros incl. breakfast, charging: Old Town garage, reduced for hotel guests, 18 euros/24 hours.
You can find more hotels in Salzburg in the eMove360 travelguide