April 25, 2015

The Hills are Alive! – Salzburg, Austria

IMG_4260Early last week, I made a last minute decision to visit Salzburg Austria over the weekend.  Most people don’t get nearly as excited by the Sound of Music as I do, so I traveled there alone.  I was introduced to the most successful musical film of all time at an early age.  I’m pretty sure I knew most of the lyrics to the soundtrack by age ten.  In my senior year of high school, my school (Towson High) did the musical.  As much as I like playing in the pit, I decided that I really wanted to sing and I auditioned for a part in the show.  I requested the part of Rolf (and got it) because I thought his song fit best with my voice.

IMG_4235I first flew to Munich, Germany and from there took a train to Salzburg, Austria.  After checking into my hostel, I wandered around into the Mirabelle Gardens (heavily featured in Do-Re-Me) and called my mother to let her know that I was still alive.  That evening, after dinner, I watched the Sound of Music (the hostel shows it every night at 8:00).  It took every ounce of willpower I possess to keep myself from singing along.  Occasionally a few lyrics would slip out of my mouth, but I usually caught myself before anyone noticed.

20150418_180855The next morning, I went on the official Sound of Music tour.  They took us to all of the filming locations from the movie.  I thought it was really interesting how the gardens and lake behind the house is in a different location than the actual house that they used.  For many of the dialogues such as between the Captain and the children after they’d been “berry picking” and between the Captain and Maria when they fall in love, the two halves of the dialogue were actually filmed in different locations.  The tour included a mandatory sing along to the entire Sound of Music soundtrack, and it really was mandatory.  The tour guide made the bus driver continue driving around a roundabout three times until everyone was singing.  I was a little timid at first, but eventually I just decided that since I would never see any of the people on the tour with me again, it didn’t matter what they heard.  I didn’t dare sing the female parts in their proper range as I normally would have.  I was afraid that would draw too much attention.

IMG_4223After the tour, I got lunch and then went to go visit the birthplace of Mozart.  The people in Salzburg are very proud that their city is the birthplace of Mozart (even though Mozart spent pretty much his entire professional life in Vienna).  Most don’t even seem to realize that the Sound of Music takes place there.  In fact, our tour guide told us that most Austrians and Germans have never even seen the film.  Apparently two German language films about the Von Trapp story existed before the Sound of Music and the local people prefer those.  Also, the Sound of Music was never promoted in Austria and Germany as much as it was promoted in the English-speaking world.  The tour I went on was only offered in English because there was no market for a tour in German.  In the evening, I went to visit a fortress way up on a hill in Salzburg.  My favorite part was climbing the tallest tower and seeing Salzburg from above – it really is a beautiful city.

IMG_4240On Sunday morning, I rented a bike and biked around the city for about three hours before heading to the train station.  I took a train back to Munich.  When I got there, I had five hours before my flight, so I texted a friend whom I knew had been to Munich and asked her what I should do for a few hours.  I walked around the city center, got lunch, and then went to visit a park.  I’ve never seen a park so full of people picnicking! My favorite part of Munich was the street musicians.  One of things that I really like about Madrid when compared to American cities is how it seems like someone is making music anywhere you go.  The musicians in Munich however, took it to the next level.  I didn’t see very many musicians playing alone, they were mostly in groups of three to six.  They also did not cut any corners.  Real pianos were not uncommon.  One group even had a baby grand.  I also thought it was cool how one moment they could be playing Tchaikovsky, and a moment later Lady Gaga.




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