Beautiful Salzburg! Tourists from all over the world identify this city as the setting for the 1965 movie, The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Americans, in particular, flock to Salzburg to see the sites where memorable scenes were filmed–the Abbey, the gazebo, the Trapp Family home. Austrians, on the other hand, care little for the movie, as it depicts a low-point in their history. At the beginning of our trip through Austria, Violet, Lilli and I loved seeing the locations featured in the movie, but to our delight, we discovered many other wonderful places. Gradually we found our rhythm, alternating between buses, walks, funicular, walks, carriage ride, walks, and in late evening, a cab. Another alternation was between protein/veggies and ice cream. Still another was from Violet’s choices to adults’–playground/Modern Art Museum.
The Festung Hohensalzburg, or High Fortress, dominates the city and offers expansive views. We took a cable car to the top for an overview of the Salzach River and the many churches and Baroque buildings. The Marionette Museum prepared us for the show we saw that evening.
The front of the Salzburger Dom, or Cathedral, has two dates marked in gold: 1628, when the present structure was dedicated and 1959, when restoration was completed after a single Allied bomb collapsed the dome during World War II.
Mirabelle Gardens, movie location for “Do-Re-Mi” and one of my favorite places in the world, offered great play spaces for Violet and allowed us to see the city through her eyes.
The Haus der Natur, a Museum of Nature and Technology, provided hours of stimulation for all of us. Violet rejected the dark displays of marine and rain forest life and headed straight for well-lit, interactive technological exhibits, working up an appetite for lunch in the outdoor cafe.
The superb Spielzeug (Toy) Museum had lovely displays of collectors’ items and plenty of toys to play with, plus a well-appointed reading room built right into the adjacent mountain. I’ve seen many children’s museums, but I liked this one best.
Mozart was born in Salzburg January 27, 1756. We saw his birthplace and his statue in the central square, but had no time for a concert. It was more important to take a carriage ride around town and relax with a beer. My hope is that after seeing Mozart’s early environment, listening to his music will now have deeper meaning for all of us.
So how did we celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music movie? First, we stayed at the Villa Trapp, the actual home where the family lived until 1938. It did not appear in the movie, which employed two other grander houses. The Villa, now an Inn, included photos and mementos of the real Trapp family and allowed us to understand how the family had escaped to Italy via the nearby train station, rather than by walking to Switzerland, as inaccurately shown in the movie. At breakfast we met a mother and daughter visiting from Beijing. The mother works for Autodesk there, the same company that employs Lilli in Massachusetts! That night we attended a stunning performance of The Sound of Music in English by the Salzburg Marionettes.
Best of all was the 3-1/2 hour Fräulein Maria Bicycle Tour we took around Salzburg. With Violet in a “tag-along” bike behind Lilli, we joined 20 other Americans to cruise through the lovely outskirts of the city with our guide, a Ukrainian guitarist who had recently graduated from the Mozarteum, the music school of the University of Salzburg. At Maria’s Nonnberg Abbey, a fellow biker took this photo, which captures the joy of our trip to Salzburg.