After a relaxing time in Croatia doing my Physical therapy to get back on my feet, we decided to visit the Czech Republic where Jodee’s ancestry is from. I looked at train timetables and found there were 3 routes to get to the Czech Republic. Through Budapest, Salzburg or Vienna.
The train line to Budapest I heard from some fellow travelers was broken. So people were made to get off the train when the tracks ended, take a bus across the broken bit, and reboard another train to continue on their journey! I decided to avoid that adventure and route through Austria. As it turned out, it didn’t matter because the tracks in Czechie were also broken and we had to go thru the same rigmarole there as well!
Now I was left with the tough choice of picking Vienna or Salzburg. Life was tough☺. Since we’d lost a week in Zagreb for Therapy and only had one day to explore any town we went through, I picked Salzburg, as Vienna seemed a much bigger city deserving more days to visit.
And so it was that on a sunny day in September, two weary travelers ended up in the town of Salzburg. This town, contrary to what people might tell you, is famous for one thing and one thing only – The Sound of Music! I hear there is also some musician that was born there by the name of Mozart. But who cares. The Sound of Music!
To prep for our journey into Salzburg, we meticulously watched the movie en route to Salzburg (Nerds Alert!).
The scenery entering into Salzburg is Breathtaking. I think the countryside in Austria is probably the most lush and beautiful that I have ever seen. No wonder the Nazis wanted to take over Austria (as The Sound of Music chronicled faithfully for us. Yes, I get my history lessons from Musicals.)
The town of Salzburg is a quaint beautiful town as well. I heard that 3 times the population of Salzburg enters the town as tourists due to the Movie alone! Salzburg is overrun with tourists clicking away at the various sites, posing goofily and wondering if a fairy tale ending will happen to them as well. The funny thing I heard is that Austrians aren’t really big fans of the movie at all!
The Sound of Music (I’m going to write SoM from now on to save space) was originally a book written by Maria Von Trapp chronicling her life before she and her family made their way to the US of A to open the Trapp Family Lodge which runs to this day. There was an Austrian movie made that was quite faithful to the book I hear. Unfortunately, it was made with German levels of Accuracy (and Emotional Depth). That movie didn’t fare too well. Come Hollywood, and some producer decides to take the original story, throw away historical accuracies, sprinkle on some good songs, and bang! A legend was born! Though the story now takes lots of liberties from the Von Trapp family’s real story (for instance, they didn’t really escape over the mountains. Like most boring escapes, they just took a train out of Austria), it has captured the hearts and minds of millions of starry eyed fans, and continues to line the pockets of all the tour operators in Salzburg.
Given that we only had a day here, we spent it doing the most important thing possible:
This was probably the height of Touristic-ness on our trip. It’s tough to beat this. Clambering aboard a bus with a bunch of Movie Geeks, going from site to site where different shots of the Movie were filmed, listening to Songs from the Movie, and taking tons of pictures in front of each and every monument; It was Touristic Hedonism at its most commercial. And we loved it!
Going from the lake into which the kids fall when they see the Baroness for the first time,
To the Gazebo that 20th Century Fox gifted to Salzburg after they were done with the movie, which filmed the 2 love affairs in SoM, viz. the “I am 16 going on 17” song and the “I must have done something goooooooood” song…
To the big horsey fountain that Maria splashes to reinforce her confidence in herself…
To the park where they filmed the “Doe a Deer” song…
Finally to the church where the Captain and Maria get married…
This was a movie feast, and a perfect holiday from a backpacking quest!
Interesting Tidbit. Other than SoM and Mozart, the other thing that comes from Salzburg, very surprisingly for a sleepy elegant town, is RedBull. The RedBull headquarters are located in Salzburg! Perhaps that was it that gave the Von Trapp family wings to fly over the Alps…