The Sound of Music Tour
Saturday started early with the much anticipated Sound of Music Tour. I heard a lot of great things about it online and it seems like a lot of other people did too, as our 9:30am bus was completely full, even on a kind of dreary day. There were even some gals from UGA sitting behind us (music majors spending the semester abroad), were not not shy at all to sing each and EVERY song our guide mentioned!
Salzburg was the main filming location of The Sound of Music in 1965, but even if you didn’t see it or hated the musical, the tour was amazing because it basically was an extended tour of Salzburg, the countryside, and a neighboring town, Mondsee.
Our guide, Peter, was the best. He showed off the sites, told jokes with the driver, gave great Salzburg tips, and had a lot of really interesting trivia.
Like, for example, The Sound of Music (which runs non-stop on a loop on one of the television stations in Salzburg) was translated into German only ELEVEN years ago, so basically no one in Salzburg has seen it, or really cares about it! Though our bus was filled to the rafters with American and British tourists who were singing the songs as we drove through the hills. I honestly felt like I was going to some kind of adult show choir camp (personal fantasy!!) or convention for musicals nerds. It was great!
We saw the Von Trapp Family house, and the pavilion where Liesl and Rolf (the bad Nazi boy) sing, “I am sixteen going on seventeen”. You used to be able to go into the pavilion, but a tourist (80 years old according to Peter) broke her hip trying to dance around the seats like Liesl did. We saw the hills in the opening scene, the road where Maria rides her bike to the house, the convent and of course the church where Maria and the Captain get married at the end.
The wedding scene was filmed in a nearby town called Mondsee. It is about 30 minutes from Salzburg and if you have a car, it is definitely worth visiting. Very quaint and cute. The church was kind of severe, as medieval Catholic churches tend to be. And we were kind of hungry by that point, especially after Peter had put the little seed into everyone’s head about one of the town’s specialties…
So we headed over to the café, where most of the rest of our tour bus was sitting, and ordered.
And we feasted on apple strudel with vanilla sauce. The café was strangely quiet, as everyone was eating the same thing. I can’t describe it. Is it bad to say that maybe the highlight of a tour is apple strudel? But don’t worry Internet, I had my medicheck yesterday in Szeged and my cholesterol, blood pressure, ekg, and ultrasounds are all quite good, according to the docs. So all of you long-time readers out there, you can rest your concerned hearts for me for right now.
After the tour was over, we walked through the Mirabell Gardens. This is where almost the whole Do Re Mi song was filmed, and it’s a really beautiful part of Salzburg.
We didn’t linger long in the gardens because we had a really packed day planned. So we went back into old town, and straight to Mozart’s birthplace on Getreidegasse 9. You weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, so unlike our usual covert pictures, we decided to just enjoy the museum and not try to sneak around. But it was a cool museum (which has been open since 1880, by the way). They have his small child’s violin, his clavichord, pianoforte, some of his clothes, letters, original sheet music, etc. All pretty neat stuff. And the third floor of the house, which is where the family lived, was surprisingly big for that time period. Probably three times the size of my apartment in Budapest!
Since we hadn’t really eaten anything except the apple strudel, we got a famous pretzel and headed up to the fortress via funicular. If you’re afraid of heights, it might not be the best thing to do in Salzburg, but even though the ride up was steep and high, the funicular basically sling shot up mountain at a break-neck pace so by the time you had a chance to have a panic attack you were already at the top.
Unfortunately the clouds blocked the view of the Alps and Untersberg Mountain, but the sites of the town was still beautiful.
Inside of the fortress there is a museum, look out points, and a small cobblestone courtyard where the government of Austria pays for artists to live and work (kind of like Yaddo, only government-granted and in a fortress in Austria).
After the fortress, we walked across town to have a beer at Augustiner Abbey & Müllner Bräu Brewery. Hermits founded the abbey in 1605 and it is the oldest (and most famous) beer garden in Austria.
I adore these traditional Austrian steins.
And since we were exhausted, hungry, a little cold, and at a loss for somewhere else to go, we decided to head back to our (now) favorite restaurant in Salzburg, Die Weisse, to warm up and have an amazingly delicious pork and potato soup.
As we walked from the restaurant back to Old Town to catch a cab back to the hotel, we marveled at how old and charmed the city looks at night. It wasn’t majestic like (for example, um,) Budapest at night, but it was quiet and peaceful. And even though it was a long day packed with activities, it was certainly one of my best days of traveling yet.