Tag Archives: The sound of music

Salzburg can be a winter wonderland!

In my previous post, I wrote about my experience in Salzburg on the Sound of Music movie tour. Salzburg was on my bucket list specifically for the Sound of Music tour, but what I also found was that the city of Salzburg is so much more. It was a winter wonderland! If you want to read about my experience on this tour, check out my previous post and continue reading this post to find out more about what Salzburg has to offer!

Walking across the bridge to Old Town, Salzburg in Austria

Salzburg’s Old Town is picture perfect

I’ve been to many cities in Europe and have seen many “Old Towns”, but to me, Salzburg’s Old Town is a cut above the rest. Salzburg’s Old Town has been designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO and when you visit the site, it is obvious why. Old Town is located next to the Salzach River and features many uniquely designed buildings, cobblestone pathways and is almost completely a pedestrian zone.

Old Town, Salzburg in Austria

One of my favourite places in Old Town is Residenz Palace and the square that surrounds it. When we first set eyes on the square, we felt like we had traveled back in time, to a time when horse-drawn carriages transported people around the city centre. These horse-drawn carriages can be hired for tours. but we decided to continue walking around Old Town while enjoying the Old world charm.

Residenz in Salzburg, Austria "Old Town"
Residenz in Salzburg, Austria "Old Town"

The Fortress in the sky

View of Hohensalzburg Fortress from Old Town, Salzburg in Austria

We could not keep our eyes off the Fortress Hohensalburg, which is located high above the mountains that overlook this beautiful city. The Fortress was a castle that once housed generations of Prince-Archbishops and it is one of the largest and  well-preserved medieval castles in Europe. The easiest way to reach the fortress is by funicular, which takes you up the mountain within minutes. If you fancy a walk, you can also walk up the mountain for approximately 15 minutes.

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg in Austria
View from the top of Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg in Austria

We spared our tired feet and decided to take the funicular up to the fortress (11 Euros including entrance free). When we arrived at the top, we were greeted by 360 degree views of Salzburg ! The castle had a mystical feel as a slight fog had started to gather. We enjoyed the view and then ventured inside for our guided tour.

View from the top of Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg in Austria

We had to wait for the previous tour to finish before we could begin ours. Only 40 people can enter the castle at any one time and are always accompanied by a tour guide. We wandered through the narrow corridors and into rooms that now contain artifacts from past eras, then through to the torture chambers which still had an eery feel. We were given insight into the building of the castle. The castle was originally used to keep enemies away and was modified slightly as each generation of Prince-Archbishops began their rule. Walls were built higher, a moat was created and additional towers were built to ensure the safety of all castle patrons.

Torture chambers in Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg Austria
Inside Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg in Austria
Inside Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg in Austria

Music is in the air

Salzburg is famous for being a musical city, and boasts its most famous resident, the classical composer and musician – Mozart! Mozart was born and raised in Salzburg. His homes, where many of his masterpieces were created, are now museums. There are two museums dedicated to Mozart; Mozart’s Birth Place (aka Mozarts Geburtshaus) and Mozart’s Residence (aka Tanzmeisterhaus). We didn’t go into these museums as we had spent quite a lot of time wandering Salzburg, but this is a must for music buffs!

Mozarts Geburtshaus

We also visited the final resting place of Mozart’s family at St Sebastian church. The cemetery was quite pretty and was surrounded by flowers and fauna.

St Sebastian Cemetery, in Salzburg, Austria
St Sebastian Cemetery, in Salzburg, AustriaSt Sebastian Cemetery, in Salzburg, Austria

Another interesting place that we visited was the Sound of Music museum. Visitors are able to learn more about the making of the movie but also about the real Von Trapp family that the movie was based on.

Before visiting Salzburg, I had become fascinated with the Von Trapp family and wanted to know more about them. Firstly, because I had just found out that a real Von Trapp family existed and also because their story is one of courage, music and adventure. When we first stood outside of the museum, I was excited to see a bus bench; one very similar to the bus bench that Maria Von Trapp would have sat on as she waited for the bus that would take her to the Von Trapp mansion. I managed to take a few happy snaps on the bench, as I imagined how it would have felt like to be Maria! She must have been excited and nervous at the same time!

Feeling like Maria at the Sound of Music Museum

When we entered the museum, we were amazed to see old family photos of the Von Trapps and details about their family tree. They had been a wealthy family, but during the war, they lost a great deal of their fortune, and formed a singing group to make a living. Then, during the times of Hitler, Gorg Von Trapp refused to fly the Nazi flag on front of their house and also declined a request to sing at Hitler’s birthday party. He knew that their time in Salzburg was limited and organised for his family to escape the only way they knew how – singing on tour in Europe and in the USA. Read the real story about the Von Trapps here.

Maria wrote various memoirs about their lives and many of these are in the Sound of Music museum. I loved looking at newspaper articles and books that Maria had written, but also loved looking at parts of the movie that reflected the lives of the family. We laughed at snapshots of the movie, such as the puppet show that Maria and the children performed. We also enjoyed being able to look and touch the real puppets that were used for the movie. If you’re a lover of the Sound of Music, you’ll love this museum! I spent hours reading, looking and listening!

Puppets from the Sound of Music movie
Outfit that Maria would have worn

The gardens are luxurious

As a lover of castles, I had to visit the Mirabell Palace and it’s amazing garden. As I mentioned in my previous post, the palace gardens were also used on the set of the Sound of Music movie.

The palace can only be viewed by those who attend musical performances and since there were no concerts that day, we decided to enjoy the garden instead. The Palace’s beautifully maintained garden is decorated with fountains and sculptures. If you look carefully at the photos, you’ll see the beautiful Fortress set in the mountain side as if to guard the city.

Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg in Austria (can you see the Fortress in the background?)
Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg in Austria
Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg in Austria

Snitzels!

A visit to Austria is not complete without trying a few snitzels. Now, snitzels are one of my favourite foods in the world. In fact, I enjoy eating snitzel at least once a week! I was not disappointed with the way that Austrians make their snitzel. The snitzels were golden brown, slightly crispy and absolutely heavenly to taste! This was the deal maker for me – this made me love Salzburg even more! I’ll be back one day for sure!

Snitzel time!

Have you visited Salzburg before? What is your favourite site?

The sound of music tour in Salzburg, relive the movie!

Salzburg, Austria is a picturesque city best known for it history in music! Salzburg is where Mozart created many of his masterpieces and many of the sites also formed the backdrop to the movie “The Sound of Music“. The Sound of Music Tour was the highlight of Salzburg for me and for so many reasons. The Sound of Music was a movie that was released in 1965 but has managed to enchant many generations of children and adults around the world.

Being on the tour made me feel like I was part of the Von Trapp family’s world just for a day!

Singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ in Mirabell Gardens

I grew up watching the Sound of Music with my siblings during school holidays. When we drove past the Mirabell Palace and it’s gardens, I was excited to be told that this was the backdrop for one of my favourite scenes; where Maria and the children dance around the statue of the winged horse, Pegasus. They were singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and dancing about in true musical movie style. Our tour bus did not stop at the Mirabell Palace but we made a mental note to return and take in the beauty of the garden. I will write about our visit in a separate post but you can see from the picture, that since we had visited in winter, the fountain had turned to ice but was still a pretty sight to be seen.

Statue of the horse Pegasus, in Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg

The back of the Von Trapp family home - Leopoldskron Castle

In the Sound of Music movie, the Leopoldskron Castle was used as the setting for the back of the Von Trapp family home. The children were often seen playing in the beautiful garden. This was also the scene where Maria takes the children out for a boat ride and they all fall into the Leopoldskron lake.

When we arrived at this site, the lake had frozen over and stretched out for miles. I could imagine the surroundings turning green and boats sailing the lake in the summer. It’s definitely a beautiful place during both summer and winter. The Castle has been preserved and is now used as a conference centre but maintains its 18th century charm.
The back of the Von Trapp family home in the movie 'The Sound of Music', Leopoldskron Castle, Salzburg
Rick and I on back of Leopoldskron Castle and it's lake

Nearby was also the path where Maria danced a sung her way to the Von Trapp mansion at the beginning of the movie (see 2:34 minutes of this video). Today, people use this as a running path, but I could just imagine Maria with her suitcases singing “Confidence in me” as she started her new journey with the Von Trapp family.

The path where Maria sang "Confidence in me" during the Sound of Music movie

I am 16 going on 17, Hellbrunn Castle

The path to Hellbrunn Castle

The Hellbrunn Castle was built by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus in the 17th century. In the movie, Liesel Von Trapp and Rolf (the mail boy) sing “I am 16 going on 17” around a glass pavilion. This glass pavilion used to be located in a private property but has since been moved to a public park near Hellbrunn Castle to allow tourists to visit anytime.

I was excited to see this glass pavilion because it was one of my favourite parts of the movie. I remember looking up to Liesel as a child and wishing that I could be 16 going on 17 too!

When we arrived at the glass pavilion, I wanted to jump up onto the benches just for a few seconds but before that thought became reality, my lovely tour guide mentioned that the pavilion was locked. Apparently, many before me had the same idea, and after reenacting the scene a few times, someone broke their leg. I will just have to settle with a picture where I pretend to dance into the pavilion.

This is also the scene where Captain Von Trapp and Maria share their first kiss and sing the romantic song “Something Good“. ‘Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good’… to be able to see this glass pavilion in real life.

The abbey where Maria was a novice, Nonnberg Abbey

We were able to see the Nonnberg Abbey where Maria was a novice. The abbey was used at the beginning of the movie to show the nuns going to mass as Maria runs inside the abbey after dancing about on the hills. The abbey itself is not open to the general public so we did not get to see the interior, but what I found fascinating is that the real Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in this abbey.

The Nonnberg abbey, Salzburg

Amazing Scenery from the movie

The movie captured the beautiful mountains and lakes of Salzburg, especially St. Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang. The scenery was breathtaking especially with the snow. When I looked out at the frozen lake, I could imagine people kayaking or swimming there, having family picnics and just enjoying the sun during the summer season. A mental note to self was made – return to Austria in summer!

St Gilgen and Wolfgang Lake
St Gilgen and Wolfgang Lake

Maria and Captain Von Trapp’s wedding at Mondsee Cathedral

Who doesn’t like a good wedding scene? The last part of our tour took us to Mondsee Cathedral so that we could visit the place where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married. The Cathedral is exactly as I expected and just as grand as I remembered it in the movie. We spent about 15 minutes in the church and then spent the majority of the time eating delicious Austrian deserts in a nearby cafe.

The church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in The Sound of Music
The church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in The Sound of Music

Singing songs from the movie

These tours are meant to help you relive scenes in the movie as you listen to songs from The Sound of Music in between locations. However, our tour group was not a singing bunch, so we listened to songs from the movie and enjoyed the scenery. I had just as much fun on this tour either way – singing or no singing! However, if you would be disappointed with a lack of singing, these tours operate in groups of 10 so why not bring some friends along so that you can sing “Do-re-me” together!

So…

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.

Have you been on this tour or suggest other tours that you think might be just as fun?

Look out for my next post about the other sites that I visited in Salzburg and don’t forget to comment and subscribe! Happy travels!

Want more?

The ‘Real’ Von Trapp family

Before going on this tour, I found out some facts about the real Von Trapp family which were later mentioned by my tour guide.

  • Georg Von Trapp was actually born in Zadar which was part of the Austro-Hungary empire but is now part of Croatia
  • Georg Von Trapp and the children later moved to Salzburg after the death of his first wife
  • There was actually 10 Von Trapp children – 7 from the first marriage and 3 from Maria
  • When the family escaped the Nazis, they did not dance off to Switzerland. Instead they escaped by train to Italy to do a concert tour and later ended up the USA
  • Georg sadly died 4 years after they escaped Austria and Maria lived well into her 80s
  • The Von Trapp family music legacy lives on with the great grand children of Captain Von Trapp. Click here for a youtube video I found!

I also went to the ‘Sound of Music’ exibition where I learnt all about the family, and will talk about that in my next post. Until then, read about the real Von Trapp family here.

Helpful Hints

Who provides these tours?

We booked our tours through Viator because I was slightly more organised and wanted to book in advance. The local tour providers were Panorama Tours so if you arrive in Salzburg and did not book in advance, give them a call and see if they can fit you in. They operate the tours in a number of languages so let them know in advance about your language preferences. I’ve read about English-speaking tourists who have had to listen to audio guides during a tour as the only places available were in German. We were lucky to have an English-speaking guide.

We spent AUD$47 per person because the exchange rate was good but check on the site to see what the prices are in Euro as they have a number of packages.

When is the best time to do the tour?

We went in winter and it was beautiful, but I recommend doing the tour in spring or summer as the places will look more like the scenes in the movie.