Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Hills Are Alive | Sound of Music Tour

During my time in Austria, my friend and I decided to also spend a few days in Salzburg.  Home to Mozart, this city is synonymous with music, and in 1965 the instantly iconic film The Sound of Music was released to audiences across the world.  For those who aren't familiar with the film, it tells the true story of a nun-turned-governess to family of seven children in pre-war Europe.  The family resides in Salzburg and (*spoiler*) when the father refuses to join the Nazi party, they have to flee.  All of this story is told in magical musical form.  Now that you're caught up, I'm sure that it comes to no surprise that there are Sound of Music tours a plenty in Salzburg.  Despite our pinching pennies for most of our holiday, we splurged a bit here so we could go on this tour.
We went on the Panorama four hour Sound of Music tour.  It normally retails for €45 per person, but our hostel was having a deal where if you booked it at the hostel you could get a €5 discount.  They offer a longer tour that actually takes you into some of the mountains where they filmed, as well as giving you more time at each location.  But €40 was already a stretch for us, and it just seemed like the best option for us.
After the whole holiday (Vienna and Salzburg included), my friend and I both found this tour to be one of our favorite things... see what I did there?  Genuinely, though, we had so much fun on this tour, and I'd love to take the 8 hour tour someday.  Our tour consisted of visiting most of the filming locations within and near Salzburg, all while singing along to the soundtrack on the bus.  It was a great day.

 Schloss Leopoldskron

The Schloss Leopoldskron was used for the exterior scenes of the back gardens of the family house.  The lake was also used, and if you remember from the film, that's where Maria and all the children fall into the water whilst on the row boat.  Due to creative editing, the actual building located here was not the house that film made you believe they lived in.  The home they used for front exterior shots is Schloss Hellbrunn, which you kinda visit on the tour, but due to where the bus parks you won't have enough time to actually get a picture in front of it.  Cinema trickery strikes once again because all interior shots are actually studio sets filmed back in California.

 The Gazebo
Songs: "16 Going on 17" / "Something Good"

The scene "16 Going on 17" has always been one of my favorite scenes because of the dance number even if the the lyrics now a days are a bit problematic.  Still, I was thrilled to finally be able to see the gazebo.  Dancing inside it is no longer an option due to too many tourist trying and failing to recreate the number only to get badly hurt.  We also learned that the gazebo was originally located within the Schloss Leopoldskron grounds, but because most of the grounds there are private too many tourists were breaking in just to see the gazebo.  Because of this, the decision was made to move the gazebo onto some public grounds so everyone could see it.
Where the gazebo is now located will eventually lead you to Schloss Hellbrunn, but we didn't have time to get there.  You do get to see the dirt road where Maria sings the second half of the "Confidence" number (my current favorite song from the film... maybe).

This breathtaking view wasn't from a specific scene in the film, but it was on the way to one of the locations.  This spot has become so popular for photo opportunities, that a small car pull off has now been created so everyone can pull over and take as many pictures as they please.  It's definitely even more beautiful in person.

 Mondsee Abbey
Song: "Processional and Maria"

Despite Salzburg having its own cathedral, they decided to film the wedding scene in the nearby town of Mondsee - specifically within Mondsee Abbey.  When on the tour, our guide said that the abbey is the most commonly unrecognizable location.  She told us that she constantly has guests asking her if she brought them to the right place.  She always assures them yes, and having just watched the film the night before, I definitely recognized the pink detailing the magnificent stain glass windows.

The town of Mondsee was our absolute favorite.  We barely (and I mean barely) scratched the surface of this small town, but in the hour we were there we both fell in love with it.  And hands down, the unassuming Cafe Braun was the BEST cafe we ate at during our entire trip to Austria.  We tried the apple strudel and the sachertorte.  Both were exquisite, but the sachertorte was the real standout.
Mondsee is also one of the few towns where you can buy a goat stuffed animal inspired by the song "The Lonely Goatherd" (my other favourite song).

 Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Song: "Do Re Mi"

This is the final place where you visit on the tour.  It's a great place to end, as it gives you endless time to try to recreate the "Do Re Mi" number.  These days, the gardens are far too crowded to actually dance around, but if you have patience you should be able to get the perfect ending shot from the song (see above).  But if the weather's nice, there are lots of benches around the gardens for relaxing and people watching.
The tour ends here and sets you free.  However, it's in a very central location within the city, so it's easy to walk anywhere from here.

Song: "Confidence"

This fountain isn't on the tour, but it's so centrally located that it's hard to miss if you're in Salzburg!  Maria stops at this fountain during the "Confidence" scene and splashes some water up at the horse.  I have to say, I'm rather impressed by how effortlessly she made the splashing look; I'm about 5'5'' and could barely reach the water.  The picture above is me standing on my very tippy toes, and I could still only splash the very edge of the water.

Like I said before, this was one of my favourite days on the entire trip.  If you love musicals I couldn't recommend it enough!

Elizabeth xx


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