The hills are alive – with the sounds of music – with songs that have been sung for a thousand years (or at least since 1960)….
After a lovely breakfast at the pension, Harvey and I were picked up by Panorama Tours for the Original Sound of Music Tour. As this had been my favourite movie forever, I was naturally very excited.
The tour started through the streets of Salzburg as Peter, the guide, told us some history of the city and the movie. Our first stop was at Leopoldskron Palace. This man- made lake was where the lake and backyard scenes were filmed. However, the actual facade of the back of the mansion was never shown – another location was used for all exterior shots of the “Von Trapp mansion”.
Next we travelled to Hellbrunn Castle, a palace built in 1610 by Prince Archbishop Sittikus. In the gardens sits the gazebo used for the ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ film sequence. The gazebo was actually not here for filming – it was moved here later as a gift. The gardens also contain a long tree-lined lane similar to the one where Maria and the children hung from the trees.
From a distance, we saw the mansion used for the exterior shots and the actual tree-lined drive. All of the interior scenes were filmed on sound-stages in Hollywood.
. Our tour took us past Nonnberg Abby, where the real Maria served as a novitiate, and which was very realistically created in Hollywood for the movie.
Leaving Salzburg, we travelled to the Salzkammergut Lake District. The scenery – mountains, alpine meadows and blue, glacial lakes – was breathtaking and the warm, sunny day was phenomenal. The photos really don’t do justice to the beauty.
We stopped briefly in St. Gilgen and then continued to the town of Mondsee. Here the Mondsee Cathedral was used for the wedding scene in the movie. The cathedral is beautiful, although the wonder of film makes it seem much larger in the movie.
We had 1.25 hours in Monsee so after seeing the cathedral, we picked up sandwiches at the local Spar supermarket and enjoyed lunch sitting next to the lake.
Sorry, Kris, for the shot of the swan family – they really were quite majestic!
The drive to and from the lakes district included great commentary from Peter, music from the movie soundtrack and video excerpts from a documentary on the making of the film. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, both the movie aspect and the area scenery and historical information. Peter was animated, informative and very friendly (and also said that Harvey looks like a young Sean Connery?), as was the coach driver.
Our tour brought us back to Mirabell Gardens and Palace, where we met up with Deb & Larry. They had spent the morning hiking around the area. First, they made their way up to Hohensalzburg Fortress, where they explored the grounds of this imposing castle that overlooks the town. They chose to go via foot rather than the funicular.They then travelled along the Monchaberg Cliff Face along a tangle of paths, roughly following the foreboding stone wall that was built on 1634 to protect the city from the 30 Year War. They enjoyed incredible views of the valley below and the mountains in the distance before arriving at the Modern Art Museum and descending by our favorite Augustiner beer hall.
Making their way across town, after a coffee break, D & L took on the challenge of climbing the other side of the river valley, Kapuzinerberg. This daunting trek was of course no challenge for our hiking duo and they were rewarded with interesting sights and a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment. The server in the coffee shop had said that the walk was very steep but “wonderful”, and she was right. The ‘walk’ began with slow progress up a very steep road to a 17th century monastery. The road was lined with frescos of Catholicism. Given the steepness, Deb wondered if this was where the great European cyclists train because she would not have been able to turn a wheel on a bicycle! Then, there were old stone steps built all along the stone wall (again built to protect the city), and this route was much steeper than the narrow road through the forest that could be taken to Frankchlossel. Interestingly, there appeared to be two squatters who had taken up residence in one of the old guard stations along the route, high above the city. The hike was a tease for a much longer visit to Salzburg when they will bring hiking boots and bicycles!
The Mirabelle Palace is now used as a government office building but the beautiful gardens are open to the public. The red roses were in fragrant bloom, and a number of people were seated enjoying this area. Pansies were colourful and were the flower of choice for this time of the year.
The garden is of course the spot where the famous Do-re-mi frolicking took place. Deb & I tried to recreate some of the action – perhaps not too successfully and to the amusement – or not – of some of the on-lookers.
We spent part of the afternoon doing a bit of shopping, picking up a few souvenirs. Our afternoon coffee break was at the Manner Cafe and store. It was delightful, although Debbie could not enjoy the Mozartball that accompanied the coffee. The 17% hasslnuss (hazelnut) content would not have had a delightful result for her!
A look at the statue of Mozart in Mozartplatz (he really is everywhere here) and we made our way back to Haus Katrin for a short break.
For dinner, we chose SOG, a restaurant recommended by Sandra at the pension. Our pizza, spaghetti and salads were just great, and perfect portions.
Salzburg is a great city – we know there is so much more to see and do here and we would love to return.