Salzburg, Austria: Where the Hills Are Alive

My parents and I kicked off our Spring break trip with a very early wake-up call… at 5:30 AM.  We then took a taxi from their hotel to the airport and arrived in Munich later that morning.  Our original travel plans were to stay 4 nights in Munich and 3 nights in Ireland.  But, when I realized Munich was only an hour and a half away from Salzburg, Austria, AKA the home of The Sound of Music Tour, I knew that we had to go.  So upon arrival to the Munich airport, we hopped right on a train to Salzburg.  The train ride was really cool because we met a singer from Vienna who has been trying to break into the American music business but was telling us how difficult it has been.  But we later found out that he’s pretty popular throughout the rest of the world and even does world tours.  I feel like we should have asked for his autograph! He was such a nice guy.

Old Town Salzburg

Old Town Salzburg

We spent the rest of our afternoon exploring the city.  Lucky for us since we only had a short time there, Salzburg is a very tiny and walkable city.  That night we had the most delicious Austrian meal.  I got the Easter Ham special with white asparagus and potatoes.  Then for dessert we got apple strudel and a dessert that Patricio, the singer we met on the train, recommended that we try.  This dessert said on the menu that it was meant for two people so we thought we’d be OK.  When my mom and I returned from the bathroom, a young server was walking away laughing with a giant empty platter in his hand and everyone sitting around us was laughing.  When we looked at our table we realized why.  There were HUGE mounds of this dessert on three different plates!  Meant for two people?  Yeah right!  More like eight.  Needless to say, we didn’t leave that dinner feeling hungry.

My Dad with 1/3 of our massive dessert.

My Dad with 1/3 of our massive dessert.

The next morning was the moment I’ve been waiting for for months:  The Sound of Music Tour!!  We went with Gray Line Tours and for four hours we were driven around Salzburg as well as a nearby town to see the sights that were filmed for the movie.  I have been watching The Sound of Music since I was young so I was in heaven actually seeing all of these places in person.  I didn’t expect to be with such a small group.  It was just the three of us, another couple from the U.S., a couple from Australia, and our tour guide.  But this made the tour more personal and since we were in a van instead of a bus we could go to more places and get closer to things.

The tour included the Maribel Gardens where Do Re Mi was filmed, the house that was used for filming, the outside of the monastery, and the lake where Maria and the children fell into.  Then we started to drive into THE HILLS.  Yes, the hills that are alive with the sound of music!  All I wanted to do was get out of the car and go running through the hills singing but our tour guide started to play the soundtrack to the movie instead which was a good alternative.  The ride was gorgeous driving through the Austrian countryside.  We went to a small town outside of Salzburg that a few shots from the movie were filmed.  We saw the trees that the children were hanging from and the lake where they all rode their bikes next to during Do Re Mi.  We also saw the church and the inside where Maria and the Captain get married.

Mirabell Gardens

Mirabell Gardens

Mirabell Gardens

Mirabell Gardens

The house!

The house!

The lake where Maria and the children were in a boat and fell into the water.

The lake where Maria and the children were in a boat and fell into the water.

The trees the children were hanging from.  They appeared a little difficult to climb.

The trees the children were hanging from. They appeared a little difficult to climb.

The church that the Captain and Maria got married in in the movie.

The church that the Captain and Maria got married in in the movie.

Inside the church.

Inside the church.

But the moment I had been waiting for in the tour was seeing the gazebo where 16 Going On 17 was filmed!  Unfortunately, a few years ago some idiot 70-something-year-old woman thought it was a good idea to pretend to be Liesl and dance from bench to bench.  She ended up falling and suing and now no one is allowed inside.  So I figured dancing outside the gazebo was the closest I’d get to my Liesl and Rolfe reenactment.

THE GAZEBO!

THE GAZEBO!

After the tour, we walked around the city some more and then toured the house where Mozart was born.  That night we went to a really great dinner & show event.  We ate in a restaurant that has been around since the 800’s and even where Mozart used to eat!  We were served typical dishes from Mozart’s time period and listened to an opera-type performance accompanied by a string quintet.  It was a very enjoyable night and a great ending to our time in Salzburg.  The next morning we caught our train back to Munich to meet my brother and spend a couple days there.

Dinner and a show!

Dinner and a show!

I really enjoyed Salzburg.  To me, it was the quintessential Austrian city.  It had basically everything I think of when I think of Austria:  clean streets, old houses and pastel buildings, lakes, the Alps, Mozart, classical music, and just overall sophistication.  We only spent two days there but I think that is the perfect amount of time to see everything.  It’s definitely a city worth visiting and if you’re at all a Sound of Music fan then it’s an absolute must!

A view point just outside the city.  Stunning.

A view point just outside of Salzburg. Stunning.

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