I feel sorry for Mozart, Salzburg is his birthplace but it’s more famous because The Sound of Music was filmed here.
As a matter of disclosure, I actually only watched the film in preparation for my visit and obligatory Sound of Music tour a few weeks ago, but it holds special importance for my mum as it was the first movie she ever saw at the cinema.
I have to admit it’s actually surprisingly good and Christopher Plummer who plays the Captain surprisingly good looking.
As for my obligatory Sound of Music tour, it consisted of eight girls and one boy, which when our weedy lank of a Austrian tour guide welcomed us made a point of stressing the gender imbalance with – ‘good morning ladies and gentleMAN’ – because really what man in his right mind would willingly sign up for a day of being driven around Sound of Music film locations in a minivan while the CD player blasts out ‘the hills are alive?’
And on that note, may I just point out that they’re not hills – they’re mountains.
But much in the same way as potato doesn’t fit in this ‘Favourite Things’ song lyric ‘schnitzel with
potato noodles and warm apple strudels,’ ‘the mountains hills are alive with the sound of music’ doesn’t have quite the same ring tone.
While I’m on the subject of the mountains… may I also point out that if the Von Trapp family did actually attempt their daring night escape on foot over the mountains (in real life they actually caught a train to Italy) geographically they would have ended up in Germany – not Switzerland.
I digress, back to the tour… Our first stop was Schloss Leopoldskron used to create cinematic magic at the rear of the Von Trapp mansion including the pink lemonade scene, Captain and Maria’s first dance and the children falling into the lake in their play clothes.
Technically the gazebo where Leisl has her first kiss with Nazi nark Rolf should be here too, but they moved it to the middle of nowhere because the neighbours got pissed off with people skipping around it singing ’16 going on 17.’
Disappointingly you can’t actually go inside the gazebo these days either – thanks to a 90-year-old woman falling off one of the benches and breaking her hip while performing her rendition of the hit song.
Again I digress… Our next stop was Mondsee – home of the wedding church.
Getting here was an ordeal though – an hour long trip in the minivan listening to the movie soundtrack starting with ‘confidence in me,’ which when it finished prompted our tour guide to pronounce – ‘well clearly you don’t have confidence in your singing voices, don’t worry there’s plenty more songs to practise too.’
And oh there was, so so many, too too many.
I personally think the best stop was saved till last – Mirabell Gardens where the children jovially skip around practising their do-rey-mis.
He had me in so much of a daydream I pretty much threw my hot chocolate at him.
It went everywhere – the computer screen, the keyboard, the pens, the paper, the desk, the scissors, his pants.
Together it took us half an hour to clean it up, which on dabbing the last drop of liquid from the desk he remarked – ‘are you always this clumsy?’
One word for you – mortified.
So later that night when I managed to lock myself out of my dorm room wearing only the large holey t-shirt I call my pjs I couldn’t bring myself to go downstairs to get him to open my door, so I sat outside it for an hour until the Australian guy in my dorm room (who was convinced he had a collapsed lung when it was really just a bad chest infection) came back from the hospital – all of which gave the dreadlocked Hungarian busker in our room ample time to steal my favourite/only beanie.
My bad luck continued the next day when I was lured into this place with the promise of rice and vegetables, only to be served up a plate of gluggy rice and flaccid browning cabbage and then charged €10 for it, because according to the metallic purple shirt wearing slime ball of a salesman – ‘€5 VIP price, you read sign wrong, you €10.’
I paid and left gutted and had a bit of a cry, which in hindsight was really silly but all I wanted was a plate of rice and broccoli.
I then stewed on it all afternoon so decided to go back and check out the sign to see how I’d got it so wrong.
Here’s what I found:
Convinced I was in the right I stormed inside and demanded a refund, which when they refused I decided to get passive aggressive on it – going outside and taking photos of the sign and then loudly telling tourists walking past eyeing up the menu not to eat here.
My refund soon followed.
But as trivial as that incident was, what it made me realise was that after three months of solid backpacking predominantly by myself and in non-English speaking countries I need a break, so I booked a one-way ticket to my home away from home – London.