In preparation for this trip, we again watched The Sound of Music, and we put that research to good use today.
We took the official tour dedicated to said movie, and were treated to a tour of Salzburg and its environs that only true fans of the film would fully appreciate. Everyone else would just think they were seeing pretty sites, but we knew what we saw was more than that. Doesn’t it take your breath away to think of seeing the pavilion where Liesl and Rolf sang about being 16 going on 17? I was 16 when I saw it and can hardly believe I touched it today! (Naturally, we have both aged in the interim.) And then there was the setting across the lake of the back of what was supposedly the von Trapp villa. In this case, only the view from the house to the garden and the (now frozen) lake were used. The yellow mansion – as seen from the moving bus – was used for the exteriors, and all the interiors were shot on a sound stage in Hollywood.
We also saw the town of Mondsee, which contains the Collegiate Church of St Michael, where the wedding scene in the movie was filmed. They chose well, as this 15th century beauty is wonderfully ornate, yet rather small and intimate.
To get to Mondsee, we went through the Salzburg Lake district, which was spectacular on this sunny (but very cold!) day. We even saw the castle of the cement baron we once battled successfully in the far away town of Hudson. Guess he is sitting in there nursing his wounds.
Back in Salzburg, we saw the Mirabell Gardens, setting of much of the “Do-Re-Mi” song scene, as the children and Maria ran around the garden and up the stairs.
It was great fun, and a good way to see a lot of the area, which is just made for a sunny winter’s day. However, I did almost choke on my strudel when a young man from our tour sitting next to us in the café asked his girlfriend, “Do you think that was her voice in the movie or did they hire someone?” Guess Julie Andrews has not survived the turn of the century.
Back in the city, we walked across a pedestrian bridge covered with the obligatory lovers’ locks to the Old Town, where we now happily live.
How interesting to learn that the bazillionaire who owns Red Bull is from Salzburg. We saw the corporate HQ in the Lake District and see Red Bull shops everywhere. There is money in that caffeine!
We ended our day with a tour of the cathedral, which underwent quite a bit of restoration in the ’50’s, judging from the photos of the effect of WWII bombing. One thing that did remain intact is the font from which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized. Amazing. He was also the church organist here for two years.
As part of the same complex, we saw the residence of former prince-archbishops of Salzburg, who ruled for almost 1,000 years with absolute control. Much of their riches came from the output of the nearby salt mines, as salt was a very precious and valuable commodity. They ruled until the 19th century, when Salzburg became part of Austria. Bet they weren’t happy about the sudden de-secularization of the church. They only had half as much power then, and there went the salt mines.
Don’s Food Corner
We’re staying at a hotel that includes an elaborate buffet breakfast so after filling ourselves up in the morning, we didn’t really think it was a good idea to keep eating all day. However, we did our best.
The tour bus guide promised that a café outside the church where the Sound of Music wedding was filmed served an incredible apple strudel with an even more incredible warm vanilla sauce. Were we going to just take his word for it? Ha! We tried it and had to agree it was pretty good, but we are still dedicated to continue tasting this regional specialty for comparison. It’s all research, you see.
Then, late in the afternoon, we hopped off the wiener schnitzel rail and opted for a meal of flavor-filled Indian food. Onion fritters. Chicken in cream sauce. Nan. Raita. Basmati rice. A welcome change of pace.