We are not normally big tour bus people, but we decided to be lazy during our time in Munich and so booked several tours through Viator. We thought we might be tired by this point in our trip (we are), and so decided to let someone else to the driving, planning, and explaining.
Our first tour was titled, “Sound of Music, Salzburg, and Lakes District”. From what I had read about Sound of Music tours, there would be lots of singing along the way. Right up my alley! Clayton? Not so much! He needn’t have worried; there was no singing at all. So sad.
The tour started in Munich; the drive to Salzburg was almost 3 hours long. It was a rainy day and there was quite a bit of traffic, so that slowed us down a bit. Our tour guide talked most of the way (reading from a script). I thought that when we arrived, she would walk us around town and explain what we were seeing, but this was not the case; we were dropped off and walked to the old part of town and then had 2 hours to sightsee on our own. We wished that we had taken the train; we somehow thought that a guided tour meant that we would be guided!
We did learn some things about Salzburg on the drive in. One thing that surprised me was that Salzburg is the 7th rainiest city in the world. It definitely lived up to its reputation on the day we visited. Monks originally settled in Salzburg, creating their “holy bread”, what you and I would call beer. To this day, beer is considered liquid food under Bavarian law. By the way, Bavaria is a free state; they based their constitution on the US constitution.
During our time in Salzburg, we stopped for lunch and had some delicious schnitzel. Our guide had told us about a few places around town where scenes from the Sound of Music were filmed, but without having them pointed out to us, it was difficult to find them on our own. For example, she told us there were some arches where a scene was filmed. I took a picture of some arches. Are they “the” arches? Who knows?! If these are the correct arches, the real Maria von Trapp played a cameo role (along with 2 of her daughters) here.
Mozart was born in Salzburg so of course, one can tour the house where he was born and also the house where the family moved to give him more room for practicing his instruments. I found one Mozart statue, but I am sure there are more. I’ve complained in previous blog posts about the excessive heat; now I can complain about the pouring rain. It is tough to see much through raindrops! Mozartkugel is sold all over town. It is a delicious chocolate/marzipan candy that is pretty tasty. The silver and blue wrapped ones are the “original recipe” candy but there are plenty of other brands sold everywhere.
We wandered through a couple of churches. This one had 4 organs! Wow!
We ran into our first oompah band here.
There wasn’t enough time to see anything in depth; we had to be back to catch the bus at 1:45 pm. We drove though some lovely scenery on our way to Lake Wolfgang. Our guide pointed out a few more places where the Sound of Music was filmed. And, she told us the ways that the film was different from the reality of the Von Trapp’s escape from the Nazis. Suffice it to say that there are some major differences. The major one that jumped out was that the family did not cross the Alps to go to Switzerland; Maria was 6 or 7 months pregnant at the time. They took a train to Italy; the Captain had dual citizenship and so did his children, so they had Italian passports. From there, they took trains to Switzerland, France, London, and eventually made it to the US. Most of the “children” were adults by the time all of this happened.
We stopped in a little town called Saint Wolfgang. Legend has it that Saint Wolfgang threw his axe and built a church where it landed. He went on to perform all types of miraculous deeds, so pilgrims visited here during the 12th century. There are shops, cafés, and hotels here now. As you can see, it is adorable.
We were given 45 minutes to wander around town before taking a boat ride down the lake. This artwork really stood out, as did the house above it (it was very modern looking). I can’t tell if it’s spelling ear or car. Either way, since we are in Austria, it probably is saying something completely different!
The boat ride was pleasant. The soundtrack for the Sound of Music was played in the background as we floated down the lake.
We returned to the bus at 5 pm for our 3 hour drive back to Munich. Our guide talked to us off and on during the ride back. At that point, I was wishing she wouldn’t talk; we were pretty tired. When all was said and done, it was an 11.5 hour tour. We were awfully glad when it was over!