Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Hills Are Alive!

I wonder how many people use that as a blog post title after they go to Salzburg for The Sound of Music?  Probably a lot.  Oh well.

Also, I realized that since I'm blogging late, I should probably be dating my entries because it doesn't quite match up.

Ok so after Dad and Jeff left, we took a break.  And we needed it!  The kids are still in school and the laundry needed to be washed and the house to be cleaned.  Everyday life does NOT take a vacation!  When my dad was here, we did things that he hadn't seen before.  He served his mission in Germany 40 years ago and even though I'm sure it's changed by now I can understand wanting to explore new and different places.  But my mom has never been to Europe before and there were a few places she wanted to go to.  One of those was Salzburg.  Now I may have nudged the idea along when a friend told me about the Sound of Music bike tour that they took in Salzburg!  But mom didn't protest!  The problem was that I hadn't been there before and it's a big enough city that I didn't want to go alone with her.  And 3 kids who don't ride bikes is a lot to haul so I talked Chopper into it as well.  

Friday, June 2 when he got home from work we got in the car and drove the 3.5 hours there.  We stayed in a hotel in Berchtesgaden that had the most beautiful setting!  I picked up a lot of information about the area there as well and it's somewhere that we definitely need to go back to at a future date.  One day just doesn't do it justice - but it was an absolutely beautiful day!

It was rainy the night we came in but we walked down to see the river but not quite to the lake.  Then we all crossed our fingers and said a prayer that it wouldn't rain on us on the bike tour the next day!

Hooray!  Our day dawned sunny!!  (Honestly, by the end of the bike tour I would have welcomed a little rain!)  We drove into Salzburg and parked.  The bike tour meets at Mirabell gardens and we had reserved a bike with a tag-along trailer and one with a regular trailer.  We reserved 2 tag-alongs but they decided to put William and Abby in the trailer together and there were tears shed over that.  We made Megan and Abby switch for a bit but Megan is honestly too big for a trailer and so she rode with me most of the way and loved it.  I really want to get bikes for our family because our area has so many safe trails to ride and it would be good for us!

I'm really proud of Chopper.  A bike tour was not his first choice but I thought it looked better than a bus tour and would be more fun for the kids.  And I had read online that it was ok if you aren't in good shape.  HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Ok it's ok if you're not in good shape but if you're not in good shape and you're pulling an extra 150 lbs?  Not fun.  Chopper didn't complain and he had the hardest job of any of us.  Also, the bikes are beach cruiser types - heavy and awkward.  I had a hard time getting going with Megan and we nearly crashed once.  Plus cobblestones.  Oh man biking can be rough on cobblestones!  I'm not giving it a very good review am I?  It was awesome, we just should have been better prepared physically I think.  Or had kids who could ride on their own!

Our first view as we crossed the Salzach river.  That's the Hohensalzburg Fortress on the right.  One of the churches on the left.  Salzburg has 49!

Our first stop was this horse and carriage bath -- you drive through to clean the wheels of the carriage and it's built into the side of the cliff like many things are.

We sang a little bit here.  Most people on the tour were not as enthusiastic as we were!

Then we went into a courtyard where the building is that the Von Trapp family sings their final songs for the Austrain festival. We couldn't go in to see the concert hall but on the outside is this cool stone organ.  It doesn't work but it's neat to look at.  But while we were there learning about SoM, multiple church bells started pealing.  It was beautiful!!  Turns out that the Saturday we were there was a holiday.  Our guide didn't know what the holiday was but we were able to see some amazing things because of it.

We then rode out to the Residenzplatz where the horse fountain is that Maria splashes in on her way to the Von Trapp's.  This square has some great buildings that we didn't look inside but while we were there a parade went through!  It was all Austrians in traditional dress with a band and these guys on horses that did this whip cracking thing that was so loud!  I thought at first they were guns.

My splash in the fountain was not very successful.  It's too tall and I had to kind've jump and splash at the same time!  Turns out Julie Andrews stood on a box to reach in and splash!

The procession

I can't find my videos of the whip cracking!  I posted them to Facebook though and I won't be able to print them in the book so I guess I won't stress about it!

There was going to be dancing but we had to continue with the tour

I didn't hear what this is with all the noise of the procession except that they have a confection that is special to Salzburg that is a ball that I think this is modeled after although apparently you want the ones in blue and silver paper, not gold.

 Back on the bikes we went up a steep hill (we walked) but were rewarded with fantastic city views.

At the top was the convent or nunnery!  This is where the real Maria was going to take her vows and also where she was married to Captain Von Trapp.  It's the only wedding that has ever happened here.  It's not where the wedding scene was filmed though - that church (despite there being 49 in Salzburg) is about 40 minutes away.

This is the gate that the children come to to ask for Maria to come back.  And the door that she comes out of.  As in -- they really filmed here!  In fact, in order to get some of the shots, they had to cut out a bar on the gate and then sodder it back in later.

It was an absolutely beautiful building and still is a working nunnery.  Most of the nuns are cloistered - they don't go out in public - but have a few that do.  But the church and surrounding garden/cemetery are open to the public.

 Abby is posing here.

Isn't this a magnificent building?

Then it was down the hill (that was really fun!) and out into the countryside where it was nice and flat!

Two houses were used in the filming of the outside of the Von Trapp home.  This one is the back of the home where the kids fall in the lake as they're coming home.

This one is the front where Maria arrives at the Von Trapp house.  It's student housing for music students now.

Our guide singing "I Have Confidence" -- he was a good guide but he kind've messed up on some of the words.  (Insert eyeroll here)

 Then back through the countryside to a park where they have the gazebo.
This is sort've the gazebo.  It's the one they originally built but they had to build a second because this one was too small for the dance scenes between Liesl and Rolf.

Then it was back to the Mirabell gardens!  There's a lot of fun history here but yes, it's also where the singing through the covered archway and the steps scene is.

And that was it!!!  After our 3.5 hour tour we desperately needed food and drink so that was next.

Then we went back to Mirabell gardens to explore more.  These gardens were laid out for an arch-bishop and his mistress (well lover I guess since he couldn't marry) and have a lot of interesting statues including this one of a bird woman that Megan was fascinated with.

The best we could do!

We walked back along the river where a crafter's market was going on and bought a few things and let the kids play at a park for being so good.  Then we had to leave so we could get home at a decent house and Chopper could fly to Miami the next day!

One last view over the river!

Hmmm I guess I don't have pictures but Salzburg had one last musical surprise for us before we left.  We stopped in at a church where we were parked because we heard organ music.  There wasn't anything going on, just someone playing the organ.  We sat and listened to that glorious music for about 15 minutes until the player was done and then got on our way.  Salzburg is known to be a musical city (oh yeah it's also the home of Mozart!) and it was particularly good to us in the short time we had.

We drove by this on our way out!  Nothing like mixing old and new!

I would totally do all of that over again.  Although when I read my tour guide about Salzburg I realize how much we missed!!  It's on my list of places that I would really REALLY like to go back to.  Sometimes though we have to weigh that list against things that we haven't seen yet!  What a wonderful problem to have!!!!

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