First glimpse of glorious Austria was the Tirolachen / Osterrich ( which means East Kingdom) Border Stop which provided a rather disappointing backdrop consisting of heavy industry such as Ikea, Scania, and Bauhaus. However, the view from the roadhouse stop was surrounded by of course, Mountainous alps, not yet draped in snow :-(
I purchased rather aptly, a scarf featuring edelweiss and it has proved to be quite an asset. Made of silk, it keeps my neck surprisingly warm without the bulk of wool, and is a little decorative to boot. Heidi decided to take a few artistic shots of the frost, on the ground, as it was the closest thing we had got to snow, thus far.
Driving in to Salzburg, I snapped a shot looking up to the medieval fortress that dominants the city hills.
After we settled in to Castellani hotel room, resplendent with Juliet balcony, we had a walking tour of Salzburg, viewing a variety of sites, where Sound of Music was filmed. Including the churchyard where the Von trapp family hid, (enhanced by Hollywood) and the chapel dating back to year 1000 A.D., the wall along which the children danced with Maria, and the bridge where they crossed the river in their clothes made from curtain fabric.
Shopping: There was not much to buy here, and things were expensive. It cost me the equivalent of $5.00 AUD to send two postcards to Australia! The only thing that was cheap was Hot chocolate, made with real chocolate, so thick, it was as if it was melted chocolate. Demmel is the place to go near the old city square, for the best cakes/chocolate ever. Downstairs is a gourmet chocolate shop, and upstairs is a delightful cafe where you will be in awe of the range of delicacies to tempt you. If you are there at Christmas, remember to say "Gris godt" in the shops. A southern German/Austrian/Swiss greeting popular in this parts, meaning Merry Christmas... and don't forget to get your Mozart chocolate balls. Our very lovely guide, from Insight Vacations gave us each a Mozart chocolate when we returned to the bus.
Our afternoon was to be at our leisure, and I doubting that I could afford to buy anything in Austria, opted to see some more sites on the Sound of Music tour before our intimate dinner with an Austrian family on their farm. The full Austrian experience was about to commence!
|The lake and Van Trap Mansion in Salzburg|
If you are a fan of The Sound of Music, you must visit Salzburg. The places ooozes Austrian culture in a way I have not seen elsewhere. For years Salzburg was its own city, not attached to an empire, and later became the centre of the enormous Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to WWI. In the War, Austria lost everything, including its port, so the navy was stood down and the reputation of the once great power in ruins. It was in this wake, the Von Trapp family ( the real ones) travelled to America to seek their fortune. So the sound of music story is a real one, albeit embellished to some degree. We saw the beautiful house where the family purportedly lived, but it was in fact, a much more modest house, later occupied by the Brotherhood of the Holy Blood, and now destined to become a B&B.
|The Gazebo used in the Movie, The Sound of Music.|
We walked and posed for photos in front of the orginal gazebo where Leisl sang, "I am sixteen going on seventeen" and saw the lane where Julie Andrews sang "I have confidence." The buildings are quite magical and our guide, so sweet and full of Austrian humility. The irony she told us, was that only now was the Sound of Music becoming known in Salzburg, as it was now being sung in German. Austrians, like Germans, only watched overdubbed films, not sub-titled cinema.
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