The Hills are Alive! (Salzburg, Austria)

I have always wanted to go to Salzburg. I never really knew what drew me there, but it is possible that the countless times I watched The Sound of Music as a child had something to do with it. We were a big musical family, but The Sound of Music was always one of our favorites. So, after a car share ride from Vienna to Salzburg with a Greek couple and German intern we booked the famous Sound of Music tour to get to see the places where one of my childhood favorites was filmed.

Salzburg

Salzburg

Our tour was scheduled for the next morning, giving us a few hours to walk around Salzburg, eat some soup, and drink some beer. Back at our hostel (the first one since our first week in Italy!) we had to take care of some very important business… watching The Sound of Music!! And get this…. Logan had never seen it before!!! I was dumbfounded. Flabbergasted. Shocked. Insert other amazed emotions here. Who hasn’t seen The Sound of Music!?!? Well, no more. He now has those songs permanently running through his head, just like the rest of us.

Christmas ornament shop (real eggs!)

Christmas ornament shop (real eggs!)

I wanted to buy some, but egg shells and backpacking do not mix.

I wanted to buy some, but egg shells and backpacking do not mix.

Unfortunately, the tour did not live up to expectations. We did get to see various places where to movie was filmed, including the “I am Sixteen, Going on Seventeen” gazebo, the lake the children fall into, and the church where Maria marries the Captain. Everything else we just drove by. “Look, there’s the abbey. See it? Way up there on the hill? Want a picture? Too bad, we are on a moving bus and you are sitting on the wrong side.” We did take a nice drive through the countryside, but we were headed there after Salzburg anyway, so it felt like a waste of our time. The guide was okay, but TripAdvisor led me to believe that we would be singing. There was no singing. On top of that, it was EXPENSIVE!! So, was it worth it? Probably not, but I guess we are glad we did it because if we hadn’t I think I would have felt like we had missed out on something.

DSCN3952

“I am sixteen, going on seventeen.”

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Back in Salzburg we continued our own Sound of Music sightseeing by visiting Mirabelle, where the iconic “Doe-a-deer” scene with the children dancing down the ivy covered arch, running around the fountain, jumping up and down the stairs, hand patting stone statues was filmed. We had a lot of fun (well I had a lot of fun) recreating moments from the movie.

Do-a-deer, a female deer.

Do-a-deer, a female deer.

Do-a-deer, a female deer.

Ray, a drop of golden sun!

Pretty sure that is not in the movie...

Pretty sure that is not in the movie…

Finally feeling a little Sound of Music burn out (okay, I wasn’t, but Logan was), we decided to visit the imposing fortress on the hill above the city. On our way up the mountain to the fortress we stumbled on a jazz orchestral concert where they were serving whole fish grilled over a fire and slathered in butter, which we ate greedily with our hands.

Before

Before

After

After

The fortress was interesting, and was a nice way to stay out of the torrential downpour that hit right as we entered. Luckily, the rain stopped just in time for us to grab a beer and dinner at the old Augustinian monastery, which has been brewing and serving beer for centuries.

View from the fortress

View from the fortress

The next morning we woke up earlier than usual so we could get a few more hours of sightseeing in before catching our bus to Austrian lake country. We took the cable car up Untersberg mountain, and were treated to beautiful mountain views and morning coffee and cake.

View from the top

View from the top

On the way back into the city we stopped at Hellbrunn Palace to visit the “Trick Fountains”, which are apparently world-famous (although we had never heard of them). The “trick” is that you never know where water is going to come from. Below you, next to you, above you. The owner of the palace designed the fountains as a party trick to entertain his drunken guests. 400 years ago. Logan got wet right away from sitting on a bench with water squirting up from below. I managed to stay dry until the very end of the tour, when I thought I was in the clear. Nope. Water came through the bushes and hit me in the back. Our guide had so much fun tricking the group. The adults enjoyed the tour just as much as the kids did, us included.

Water from below

Water from below

We loved Salzburg. The tour was not everything we hoped it would be, but the rest of our time in the beautiful Austrian city was amazing. It is so beautiful and there is so much to do. The hills were alive with something. Magic. We didn’t even scratch the surface and I already want to go back. Until next time Salzburg.

“Is that a pickle?”

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3 thoughts on “The Hills are Alive! (Salzburg, Austria)

  1. Too much fun! love, mom

  2. Well, what lame parents would not show The Sound of Music to their kids – ha-ha! Gordy and I are in agreement that there is a memory lapse going on here, perhaps due to a preconceived notion by a young boy that he would never like musicals. I’m pretty sure I remember being told that The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins were “dumb” and “lame”, and “why would we want to watch that stuff when we can watch Batman, TMNT, and Power Rangers”. Hope you don’t mind my tongue-in-cheek defensiveness; I enjoyed your post about Salzburg very much and made it a point to show it to my dad, who says that Salzburg is one of his favorite places in the world. Keep on having the time of your lives!

    • Haha- too true. When I asked why he had never seen it he pretty much said the same thing about it being lame and not liking musicals. He still maintains that it is not that good and that he was not missing out on anything. I am still working on the Mary Poppins viewing (Mary Poopins as Logan is now calling it). We loved Austria as a whole. One of our favorites so far.

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