By Katie and Jen
There are several companies offering Sound of Music tours in Salzburg. We priced it as 85€ on average for a family.
A tour does mean having to scurry behind someone in a pink and green checked dirndl (dress) holding a flag on a long stick, and getting on and off brightly coloured buses, but if kitsch is your thing, go for it! It’s top of the kitsch-o-meter.
Alternatively, and for free at your own pace, do your own tour. A great way to see this beautiful town.
1. Watch the DVD or download the film. Neil and I are from the generation who watched The Sound of Music on telly every Christmas. Katie’s never seen it. The boys deny ever having seen it. Funnily enough, no Austrian has ever heard of it despite it being (loosely) about an Austrian family and filmed here.
2. Additionally and optionally, learn all the words to all the songs to create a real Sound of Music atmosphere. Neil and I already know them, Katie has just learnt them, and the boys deny knowing them. But were sometimes heard humming them.
3. Tell any teenage sons that you’ll buy them a big Austrian chocolate cake at the end if they go along with the tour.
4. Give up on the teenage son front, and go on the tour without them.
The film (THE SOUND OF MUSIC ) was made in 1965; it’s even older than my dad ! The film is about a women called Maria she works in a church as a Nun ( she loves singing). She gets sent to look after 7 children at a big house. She is the 12th nanny that has looked after the children . But the children are very naughty and don’t want her to stay .
She is nice to the children and stayed there, and the father of the children really likes her and he marries her because his wife has been dead for a few years. But the Nazis want to take the father away but they manage to escape.
Mirabel Gardens [dating back to 1730]
1. Here are the steps where the children and Maria sing Doh a Deer and jump up down them in time to the music. You can jump up and down them too. There is a unicorn at either side of the steps. My bothers gave me a lucky unicorn when I was born. It took it on my travels. The dog bit its horn off but we have fixed it.
2. This is the knome which the children skip past and hit on the head one by one. There are lots of knomes in the Knome Garden and they all have different faces and different clothes. The one you are looking for has curly hair, is sticking his tongue out, has glasses and he’s holding a hat.
3. In this flower tunnel, the children and Maria are running one behind each other like a snake singing Doh a Deer.
4. [Pegasus Statue Fountain] The fountain is beautiful. On an island in the middle there is a unicorn on top of a stone, with wings and a horn. Round the wall of the fountain, 4 children go one way and 3 the other way with Maria and they meet up at the other side. The steps are in the background.
The next fountain is this one.
Then, cross the bridge to the old side of town.
You are looking for a horse bath next! In German it’s Pferdeschwemme. There are two in town. When travellers arrived in the town long ago, they washed their horses here to get rid of the dirt from the road before they went into the city. Very fancy horse car wash. In the film they sing ‘My Favourite Things’ here. It’s getting work done just now.
Now walk along the path above the town. Salzburg looks lovely from up high. I had a lolly. The white building is the biggest cathedral – the Dom.
Head back to the old town down the cliff (there’s an elevator too) and you come to the beautiful cemetery where the family hid for real. It was filmed in Hollywood though. It’s called St Peter’s cemetery and is old [700AD with the oldest grave from 1288].
There’s another horse bath called Kapitelschwemme not far away. It’s not in the film but it’s really lovely and was built 282 years ago.
In the middle of Residenz Square is a huge horse fountain. Where I’m standing is where Maria runs through the arch to the fountain when she leaves the abbey to go to the family at the beginning of the film. She splashes in the fountain too. Now, you can get a shot in a horse and carriage from here.
There are other places to visit but that was enough for me for the day.
We finished off our Sound of Music tour a few days later with a trip to Mondsee, 20 minutes from Salzburg. Here there’s the church where Maria and the Captain got married. And LOTS of people swimming in the lake.