Grüß Gott! For those of you who have ever wondered if the scenery in The Sound of Music can possibly be real, the answer is a resounding yes! As a German student, I traveled with classmates to Germany and Austria in 2001. Salzburg was our last stop on the trip and it did not disappoint.
I was excited to reach the city, not only because the travel bug had bitten me, but also because I had been in a production of The Sound of Music in my hometown. Singing “Do-Re-Mi” in the vibrant Mirabel Gardens, with their incredible symmetrical flower designs, was a dream come true. In addition, we saw the abbey where Maria was a novice, the fountain in the Residence Square where she splashes on her way to the Von Trapps’ house, the Rock Riding School where the Von Trapps performed “Edelweiss,” and the cemetery at St. Peter’s where Rolf betrays the family.
Once that was out of my system, I realized that Salzburg was an amazing place even without The Sound of Music. The city, surrounded by the magnificent Alps and built up on the banks of the Salzach, is truly a gem. The city’s narrow streets with elegant signs and storefronts exuded charm, while the market square lent an Old World feel to the place.
All the while, the Hohensalzburg fortress, accessible by funicular, stands guard over the city. As an interesting side note, if you look down from the back of the fortress, you will see a house sitting all by itself, with no neighboring houses surrounding it. This lonely house belonged to the executioner and, because of his status, no one wanted to live near him! It was in this fortress that I had the incredible opportunity to listen to a string quartet perform some of Mozart’s pieces. During the intermission, I remember walking over to look out of the window; the sun was setting as the Salzach lazily snaked its way through the city. Perfection!
For anyone interested in escaping the city for a day, I would highly recommend visiting the salt mines. Not only are these interesting historically, but they also offer the unique opportunity to slide down into the mines on wooden slides like miners used to! In addition, the ride through the countryside presents some spectacular scenery.
Overall, I had a blast in Salzburg and I would love to go back. I guess all that’s left to say is “so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu!”
Tour Communications Specialist
Academic Travel Abroad