Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg | Part Three

Three Cities, two countries, one weekend.

On October 7-9, I took a whirlwind trip through Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg. This post will focus on day three: Salzburg. 

Leopoldskron Palace, whose facade played the part of the back of the Von Trapp house.
Leopoldskron Palace, whose facade played the part of the back of the Von Trapp house.

Salzburg, the fourth largest city in Austria, has two major claims to fame. In 1756, it became the birthplace of the famed classical composer, Mozart. Then, many years later, the Von Trapp Family Singers put the city on pop culture’s map. The Sound of Music, as a book, stage show, and movie, told the world the harrowing story of how this family of musicians escaped the Nazi regime, captivating the hearts and imaginations of millions. Having loved the movie and its songs since I was a kid, I was so excited to learn that we would have the opportunity to take a “Sound of Music tour” while in Salzburg. We got to see so many of the movie’s filming sites, plus the real places that the Von Trapp family lived, and some breathtaking sites of the Austrian alpine countryside.

Our bus arrived in Salzburg from Vienna just in time for lunch, so we stopped by a little cafe for a quick bite to eat (and an apple strudel!). Then, it was time to meet our guide for the tour. She was a delightful woman, clearly in love with her job. That was the first sign that it would be a good afternoon.

Our first stop was the Mirabell Garden, located on a beautiful palace complex once owned by Austrian imperial emperors. The palace was originally built in 1606, and was opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854. Then, in the 1960s, it was used to film parts of the movie – most notably two scenes featuring “Do Re Mi” and “I have confidence.” Nowadays, it’s home to the famous gazebo, though during filming the gazebo was located elsewhere. The city of Salzburg had to move the gazebo because it was originally on private property, and too many tourists were trespassing to go see it. Now it is open to the public!

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The path that Julie Andrews skipped down during the song, “I Have Confidence,” outside the Mirabell Gardens.
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There’s the gazebo! This one was used for to film the exterior of the movie’s gazebo. The interior was a Hollywood construction, since it had to be much larger than a real gazebo would have been.
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We had some free time to explore the gardens – a welcome break from our weekend of big-city exploring.
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We loved the garden’s flowers!
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We loved them so much that they got their own photo shoot.

Then, we got back on the bus. We drove by the yellow house that the film crews used for the front of the house, and then we passed the neighborhood where the real Von Trap family lived. Then, we headed to the beautiful lakeside Leopoldskron Palace. This sprawling palace’s exterior was used as the Von Trapp’s backyard in the movie. Now that its time in the spotlight has passed, it is a successful hotel/bed and breakfast.

Leopoldskron Palace, whose facade played the part of the back of the Von Trapp house.
Leopoldskron Palace, whose facade played the part of the back of the Von Trapp house. The palace’s yard was the original home of the gazebo, but the owners of the now-B&B were not too fond of the crowds of tourists stopping by each day.

We took some time at the lake to stop and appreciate the view. It was so nice to just take in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery. The way that the clouds reflected in the water reminded me of a certain lake back in Syracuse, where the water is so still that the trees and sky are always reflected like a mirror.

Then, it was back on the bus, this time bound for a destination outside of the city. Had to see if the hills really are alive, after all!

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We drove by the Hohensalzburg Castle, one of the largest remaining medieval castles, on our way out of the city.
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We also passed the famous Nonnberg Abbey, the convent that Maria belonged to in the beginning of the story. Since it’s a real, still-active convent, we didn’t stop to see it, but it was still cool to drive by!
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The hills looked pretty alive to me!
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We were entering the lake district, just west of Salzburg. Look at those mountains!
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We stopped on a hillside overlooking the Austrian village of St Gilgen. The lake in the background is Lake Wolfgang – one of the landscapes used in the film’s panorama scenes.

Then, we headed to a lakeside village that looked like it was straight out of someone’s tabletop Christmas village setup. There, we got to see the church used in filming Maria and the Captain’s wedding, and had some free time to explore. My friends and I walked around the town before picking up a slice of cake each to eat by Lake Mondsee.

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The adorable village of Mondsee, Austria.
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St. Michael’s Church in Mondsee, used in filming the last scene of the movie’s first half.
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The church was beautifully decorated with carvings and paintings. 
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Its interior is decorated in the Gothic style. 

 

What a weekend! It was a definitely busy one, and definitely one I’ll never forget. I’m so grateful to have seen all that I was able to and to have experienced the different cultures that I did.

‘Til next time, Austria!

 

 

Gelato Count: 34

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