'The Hills Are Alive, with the Sound of Music'
Yes, yes, yes, today is the day...today is the birthday and christmas presents all rolled into one, today is the Sound of Music tour today and a luxury of a real bed!!! The only day in which i'm putting Ellie into a hotel room to crash out and enjoy the peace whilst i'm off doing a bus tour whilst singing a long to the tracks and re-enacting the scenes from the film. I think i may be a tiny bit excited!! First things first and thats heading to Salzburg and we are packed up and ready to get to the city for 12.45pm, where we will park up and get into our early check in time of 1pm at the hotel.
First though, long walk for Ellie to get it all out of her system the toiletry requirements and tire her out a bit before she's in a hotel room for a good 5 hours. The best thing to wake up to this morning was seeing the blue sky, we're going to get blue skies today for the tour so i'd take that over the cloudiness of yesterday for the Alpine drive. As we drove on through the mountain ranges once more i really could sing the hills were alive with the Sound of Music! We entered Germany....erm, am i going the right way?! Yep i am, just cutting through and back into Salzburg, they are right on the borders here these two! Which brings me to the film...if at the end they are climbing over the mountains to Switzerland then they've gone the wrong way as in fact they are heading over to Germany, the place they are running from and closer to enemy lines!! Switzerland, now that i know my geography doing this trip, is south and no where near the Salzburg border!
Well that's the geography of films for you and later in the tour i found out that in real life they got on a train with their backpacks on, all kids including the 3 that they had together (yes timescale of it all was shifted too!), pretending that they were going on a weekend break into Switzerland. As i was getting closer to Salzburg that's when i saw it...i saw the Mozartkugeln factory and luckily i didn't have time to stop!! Maybe tomorrow if the route i'm travelling takes me near it! To the hotel and i got an email yesterday, after asking them, where best to park and there were 2 discounted places and stated the underground one was 2.2m (i got them to check) and the other is outside. Both were a 5 minute walk to the hotel and i went for the underground one as slightly cheaper...but as i got there it stated 2.1m!!! I found the outside one and luckily i managed to get a space as it was really only a street with a barrier across it with about 30 spaces in total.
Van parked, the cases already packed are bought on out, well the Carrefour plastic bag of a suitcase. As it's a 4* hotel it isn't so bad if it were a 5* and i won't be expecting a porter to take this up to my room! Now which way in which we've parked...i try to look at the map i've saved on my phone but being at the other car park i wasn't expecting i'm trying to figure it out. Of course i went the wrong way!! Having this heavy bag and Ellie's lead over my shoulder it isn't the best time to be getting this wrong but we manage to find it, creating a 10 minute walk and not the 5! So here we are, just after 1pm and now i need to get Ellie settled with a kong (already full of treats) her drinks bowl and toys out. Not forgetting the TV on so there is a bit of noise from what's going on outside and keeping her settled on the bed.
Key got and we are off, its now 1.30pm and i'm out of the room and there certainly wasn't enough time to have a shower so i'm so glad that i stayed at a campsite last night to have one this morning! Once again what i thought was a tan turned out to be a bit of dirt thrown in! I head to where the bus picks you up in the square just a minute from the hotel but i can't see that stop in which i'm looking for. I head into the tourist information centre and they ask me if i put down for the bus to pick me up here as it was an optional request apparently. Erm no. Therefore that means, she says, that i have to walk for 10 minutes over the bridge to the main pick up point. Oh man!! With it being 1.40pm now i'm starting to cut it fine and by her hand action to her saying over the river ain't giving me much direction! Luckily i had that map of the other pick up, just in case (!), of where i needed to be and of course once more i was heading in the wrong direction...give me a town to walk around and i'll find my way back to the start again. Give me a map to follow and i always need to put it on the ground and step on it to the way in which i need to go, but its still always the other way! Its 1.53pm and i'm starting to sweat, not only as the sun is beaming down but also that i'm going to miss the bus!!
I get to the square and i look around but i can't see the name of the company Viator anywhere?! I can see other ones I saw when googled for a tour but not this one...i ask a driver of another bus and he points to the white one that has nothing stated on it. Are we sure about this one. I ask the man at the front taking the tickets off those boarding and he says if you're booked for the tour then you must be on this bus. But all i could see of what people were holding were of this other tour company i could have booked it through but i didn't. As i took at my e-ticket i read the small print, that even though i've booked it through Viator that the tour is actually done by the company of which people are holding tickets off. Phew, this is it, i'm on the bus. Although ours is a plain bus and the other 2 have the whole Sound of Music graphics on it...oh well, i can't see the outside of the bus when i'm on it anyway!
The tour guide in the end i think was the best one to get as with this one full there were a few people behind me that had to squeeze on the other two behind. This tour guide knew his stuff, met some of the Von Trapps and was the main tour guide for the likes of the BBC when they came to town to do a documentary on the Von Trapps. The strangest thing, and one that i knew before i had arrived, is that if you ask an Austrian if they've heard of the Sound of Music the majority of the answers will be no. Those that have is only because of the buses in Salzburg that they will see, not that they've seen the film! Of course they know of the Von Trapps but they have read the autobiography and seen the film version, not the Gilbert and Sullivan musical film version. A lady lost 65,000 euros on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as they asked her which flower was the Sound of Music famous for and sang about, she went for the flower that's considered the national flower, which isn't Edelweiss!
Now i could go through how the lake of the Von Trapp house is different to that of the exterior so its shot in 2 different locations, how the gazebo was smaller in the grounds for the exterior shots than it was in the studio for the interior, how the age difference was 25+ years more between the Captain and Maria, how the real Maria is actually in the film, how they had 3 children themselves before they left Austria, how they ended up in the USA and the church interior was shot in another and not at the Abbey. I can bore you with it all but all in all we had a sing-sing, we had beer, we had ice cream, we saw the Red Bull headquarters with the largest bronze statue in the world and oh yes, where Mozart was born! The tour was 4 hours long and it didn't show you all of the areas in which the scenes were shot so tomorrow i've made a note as to where i need to head off to in the van tomorrow to see them. The main one is when Julie Andrews turns around to the opening of the film singing those famous words...need to re-enact that one before i leave!
I headed on back to Ellie, but before i did we went into the gardens where a lot of the 'My Favourite Things' sequences were shot which was the best solution as dogs i saw were not allowed in here. Ellie was relaxed as i entered the room and we went on out and saw Salzburg old town before the sun was setting and what a city this is. It still claims its independence, although part of Austria, but has its own rights. The Hohensalzburg castle is one of the largest and most well preserved medieval castles in Europe and the nunnery here, where the film was allowed to film inside for 'How to Solve a Problem like Maria' use to have in the day over 400 nuns, now there are only just over 20. Shows how times have changed. We walked past the Mozart museum which is where Mozart was born, on 27th January 1756. Then there was his residency where he wrote a lot of his masterpieces that we all know of at least one today, whether you know its Mozart or not is another question but you'll certainly know one if played to you. And you most probably remember it from an advert of some kind!
We grabbed some food from the food stalls here and headed on back to the hotel where i could catch up putting blogs on the internet, as well as some photos and just chill on a comfy double bed. I switch on the TV and what do i find...Starlings, Starlings is on BBC World entertainment that i worked on for Baby Cow!! Of all of the hotels and channels in the world i put one on in which i program i've worked on and my name on the credits at the end, and i find that in Salzburg!
Wish List - see Salzburg and Sound of Music tour: tick, tick, tick!