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The Magic Is in the Smallest Things

Walking around in Salzburg, Austria offers a visual feast of bustling streets and five squares, the Salzach River, the Salzburg Cathedral, the cafes and biergartens, and above all, the Hohensalzburg Fortress high atop Festungsberg hill. The core hardscape is essentially the same for us as it was for Mozart 250 years ago. You can feel history with every step in this city. You can hear the whispers of all those who came before you.

One small detail struck me more powerfully than all the ornamentation in Salzburg combined. Walking along the Getreidegasse, with all its shops and people from all over the world, I came across a doorway with four pull cables that ran up the outside wall to the four floors above, each cable run to the inside of each apartment. It was an old doorbell system from the days before electricity, still functional today. I wanted to ring the bell and ask the local resident if I could see the bell on the other side of the cable. And imagine this has likely happened many times on such a busy street with such a tantalizing pull readily at hand for those returning from biergartens late in the day.

It’s funny the things that stick with you when you travel. I look for small details like this wherever I go, for these details are where the magic is. The smallest things speak the loudest if you’ll only slow down long enough to listen.

Doorbell pulls from another era

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