And so, the moment had finally arrived. After years of mentioning how much I would love to go to Salzburg, I made it! Just to warn you, this is the biggest blog post to date and I’ve struggled to write essays for university this long haha
Saturday I arrived at the hostel after the shortest journey from the train station. I stayed at Yoho International hostel which was fab. I had an hour to sort myself out and then I headed down to the common area. I sat and tried to engage with people but they were all mainly girly groups that had no interest socialising with others which was pooey. In a last attempt to socialise I went to the bar and grabbed a beer. Suddenly, 3 really talkative guys walked in the room and got themselves some stalls and sat at the bar. This was the moment. I joined them and instantly got on with them.
Anthony, Jean-Francois and Louis were all visiting Salzburg for the day before heading to Munich for the Bauma convention. Anthony and Jean-Francois were brothers and Louis was their friend. They were incredibly funny and great to chat to. I also appreciate that as French Canadians they all spoke in English just so I could be involved. Furthermore, they bought beers for us and then came the shots of absinthe and vodka which may have sent me over the edge..!
For the most part, I can’t particularly remember the later part of the night but was told all about it the next morning haha
I got on really well with Anthony and still a week on we’ve been chatting everyday. I think he’s hilarious, quirky and very smart. (Speaking 3 languages very loud in a bar covers all 3 of those points!) I hope to see him again in the future!
Sunday morning I said au revoir to my new Canadian friends and headed on out to Salzburg with a hideous hangover. I rang my mum to update her with how things were going but as I walked around the corner I gasped because I had seen my first Sound of Music sighting: The do-re-mi steps in the Mirabell Gardens. At this moment whether I was emotionally overwhelmed or just insanely hungover I had a little cry on the phone to mum!
As I walked past the do-re-mi steps SO many times, the pictures of my Sound of Music travels are a little later on in this post!
I strolled through the Mirabell Gardens and out towards the Old Town. Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer beauty of Salzburg’s old town. It felt like I was dreaming and I was completely relaxed. I took a walk and found myself walking towards the fortress on the top of the hill. As I walked up I saw some absolutely stunning views.
I decided to then enter the fortress. If you’re into history of wars, battles and castles then I would definitely recommend visiting the fortress. I’m more into arty museums so I wasn’t fussed about the content of the fortress particularly but for €9 I would say the views were completely worth it.
I spent a couple of hours just sitting and looking out at the views. As a Suffolk gal, I’m used to seeing flat scenery and therefore looking at the mountains was incredible.
I went back to the hostel in the early evening and attempted to socialise but to no avail. Thankfully, the hostel plays the Sound of Music every night so I watched that.
Monday brought a new level of excitement because this was the day I was going to go on the Sound of Music tour. Having got the crying out of my system I felt confident that I wasn’t going to bawl my eyes out in front of strangers!
First stop on the Sound of Music tour: Leopoldskron Castle.This is technically the back end of the house used in the film. The lake is the one that Maria and the children fall in. Damn, if I had a house with this view I would fall into this lake everyday. The castle is now a hotel so people can stay here! *must become a millionaire and stay there*
Second stop: The Gazebo at Hellbrunn. This is the gazebo that Liesel and Rolf sing in front of in the song ‘Sixteen going on seventeen’. It was used as a backdrop in the song between Maria and Captain von Trapp ‘Something good’. However, the scenes that take place inside the gazebo were actually recreated in Hollywood (boo)
Third stop: Frohnburg Castle. Well this wasn’t a real stop because we can’t go down the road where the castle is. It’s a music academy based in a residential area and it’s a private space so tourists are not allowed down there. We did, however, get a great view of it! Basically, this is the front of the house used in the film.
Notice how it’s a completely different colour to the back end of the house! This meant in the scene when Maria gets out of the lake and has an argument with the Captain they are both in completely different locations and basically speaking up a broken monologue as opposed to being in conversation!
Fourth stop: Nonnberg Abbey. Again, not a real stop on the coach tour. We managed to get a clear view of the Abbey and earlier that day I had walked up that way and seen it all up close. So this was the Abbey that Maria (both the real and film version) was a nun at. In the film they actually shot on location so the scenes you see are in the actual Nonnberg Abbey!
Fifth stop: St Gilgen. This was quite a journey out to St Gilgen. This village can be seen at the beginning of the film where loads of beautiful shots are shown before Maria comes in with “The hills are alive with the Sound of Music”.
Sixth stop: Mondsee. This is a little town east of Salzburg. The church here was the one that Maria and Captain von Trapp get married at in the film. The organ was used as well! In real life they got married in Nonnberg Abbey. We were given an hour in Mondsee so I got to wander around a bit which was beautiful.
Seventh and final stop: Mirabell Gardens. As promised, here are the photos. So the Mirabell Gardens were used in the song ‘Do-Re-Mi’. Maria and the children run through the archway, stroll around the waterfall and climb the steps in the film.
And that was the end of the Sound of Music tour! What a magnificent day. After this I went back to the hostel and met some people that were willing to socialise! I met Michael from the US and Jakob from Vienna. One was travelling and the other was preparing himself for an exam he had in Salzburg the next day. It was a fairly chilled evening.
Tuesday. This being my last day I decided to engage in some musical and cultural stuff by visiting the Mozart museums.
So, this is where the photos stop for a bit. No photos allowed in the Mozart museums. I thought this was odd because it’s 2016 and even the Louvre in Paris allows photos! I bought a combined ticket so this gave me entrance to both Mozart’s Geburtshaus (birthplace) and Tanzmeisterhaus.
It was when I first entered the Mozart’s Geburtshaus that I realised why photos were prohibited. This is because the museum is rubbish. As far as musical museums goes this ranked very low. In my ‘Warsawesome’ post I visited Chopin’s house and commented on how I loved interactivity and how I hated museums that just had stuff on display. Well, Mozart’s Geburtshaus only had things on display. “Oh wow, a painting, and another, and another. A lock of his hair?” I’m probably being a harsh critic but I found the place incredibly family unfriendly. Imagine the situation “HEY KIDS, LET’S LEARN ABOUT MOZART!” Honestly, you learn not much about his actual musical career in the room. I did like seeing the sets of his operas but that was the only highlight.
If you are desperate to see something Mozart-y in Salzburg go to the Tanzmeisterhaus. This is SO much better. First of all, free audio guide. This is what I’m talking about, let’s actually listen to some Mozart(!) I learned about Mozart’s travels and the various genres he composed in. But before you think I found this place amazing, it was adequate and came across better because the Geburtshaus was crashingly dull.
There was an exhibition about Mozart’s son who was after his father’s death henceforth called “Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart (son)” poor kid. And there stood a hilarious section about how to diagnose a real Mozart portrait. “Just because it’s a child in a powered wig sitting at a piano doesn’t mean it’s Mozart”. You’ll have to believe what I’m saying because there re no photos.
Between these two thrilling museums I sat in Residenzplatz and enjoyed a sandwich. This fountain in the picture is the one in which Maria in The Sound of Music splashes water in when she sings ‘I have confidence’ on her way to the von Trapp house.
I also came across this place: The Rock Riding School. This was the place that the von Trapps perform their last concert in Salzburg before fleeing from the Nazis at the end of the film. Unfortunately, the tour to see the inside happens at 9:30 in the morning and that’s it. So I missed it on my last day! Here’s the outside..!
For one last time I visited the Mirabell Gardens and did not give a shit about what I was doing.
Heading back to the hostel was a little sad. So long, farewell, auf widersehen, goodbye old town of Salzburg! As my flight was relatively early and I didn’t know how to get to Salzburg airport I thought I’d have one beer and then bed. But as you can guess that did not happen. I think I had about 4 but it was my last day so why the hell not.
I left the hostel incredibly early just to make sure I got to my flight on time. On time my arse, I was at the airport 2 and a half hours early which for a small airport was rubbish.
Anyway, point is Salzburg is one of my favourite places on earth. I had the most magnificent time having met lovely people, seen beautiful sights (including the Sound of Music!!!) and enjoyed the sun. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this Austria trip is that you can meet the most fantastic people and even though they move on to the next place and you’re sad they’ve gone, you must not be sad because if you had not travelled in the first place you wouldn’t have met them. Life is awesome and throws people together in the most wonderful ways.
Cheers Salzburg, I know I will be back.