It doesn’t hurt to be a little adventurous, right? I’m so blessed for nearly half of the year I have here in Europe because I got to achieve things I never ought I would do – and that’s what makes this specific trip so special. For the first time, I got to travel alone. That meant 6 days of ‘eat, pray, love’ moments with myself. It’s scary at the first thought, but the fun begins when you wander and get lost! Austria has always been #1 on my travel bucketlist in Europe for one reason only: The Sound of Music.
Salzburg is known to be a place that experiences a lot of rainfall – 7th in the world as far as I’m concerned. The gloomy weather did not hinder the beauty of the countryside. I signed myself up for the original Sound Of Music Tour by Panorama Tours and it was my money’s worth because not only did we get to see the locations of the Hollywood movie and the real story of the Von Trapps but also got to go outside the outskirts of Salzburg. The 1965 film remained to be one of my favorite films of all time, probably for the magic of music and of course, Ms. Julie Andrews herself.
Before the tour, I went a little out on my way to see Salzburg myself. I visited the Salzburg Marionette Theatre where I watched a marionette show of The Sound Of Music that evening. This was also the place where Maria and the Von Trapp children learned how to puppet marionettes for The Lonely Gothered scene.
In case you didn’t know, The Sound Of Music fever is so real in Salzburg that it is widely known as The Sound Of Music City. 150,000 people live in Salzburg but over a million tourists visit it primarily because of the film. Yes, those are the powers Austria, music
and Christopher Plummer can do to you. It’s actually the 50th Anniversary of The Sound Of Music so Salzburg expects a lot more visitors this year.
Up on a hill is Hohensalzburg Castle where you can spot it as a backgroup during the Do Re Mi scenes.
Above is the Mozart bridge where the children and Maria cross when they are out in their play clothes before singing Do-Re-Mi. Musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is actually from Salzburg. Before Salzburg became known as ‘the Sound of Music city’, it was widely known as Mozart’s birthplace. Below are photos of his home that I visited, which unknown to me, photo taking inside wasn’t permitted.
Leopoldskron Palace’s exterior may seem familiar to you to be the Von Trapp Family villa’s garden and pavilion. Famous scenes including the children and Froleine Maria falling off from the boat and Max Detweiler, the Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Captain Von Trapp having pink lemonade by the terrace. This palace was actually built by archbishops in Sazburg, as well as the lake being man-made. Fact: Because Kym Karath (Gretl) did not know how to swim, she nearly drowned during the filming of the boat scene. Water was freezing despite it being filmed during a summery day in Salzburg.
Okay, you may not exactly see the facade of the Von Trapp villa in the movie (aka Frohnburg Palace, now a music academy) since it’s covered by trees. It’s actually in the Hellbrunn Schloss alley where Maria comes to meet the Von Trapps for the first time with a guitar, luggage and strong cardio while singing, running and skipping to “I Have Confidence”, as well as the scene where the children are seen climbing trees after Captain Von Trapp returns from Vienna. The famous, romantic gazebo, known for love scenes of Rolf and Liesl ‘I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen’ and Maria and Captain Von Trapp ‘Something Good’ was relocated here from Leopold’s Palace for easier access for visitors. Personally, the gazebo gave me butterflies – the same ones that fluttered in my stomach when I was watching those scenes. Another fact: Charmian Carr (Liesl) got injured while filming the dance here and her foot went through the glass. Yike! Luckily that did not stop her from discontinuing so she went on with it and got a standing ovation from the cast and crew afterwards.
We went outside Salzburg where we were able to see the Salzburg Lake District, where some panoramic shots and the picnic scenes were shot. We were also able to spy the Red Bull Headquarters! When we got to see the countryside with all the hills, the mountains and little houses, ‘The Hills Are Aliiiiiiive with the sound of music” started to play in my head – that was the vibe it gave off. In fact, that scene where Maria’s up on the mountain is no longer in Salzburg but in Germany, a little away from Austria. What I also loved about this tour is that it played soundtracks from the film – I could not help but sing along.
The Mondsee Cathedral was where the wedding scene was filmed. This is where one of the few indoor scenes were filmed – majority of these were in a studio in Hollywood. It is the few of the oldest Catholic churches in Salzburg, where prince archbishops ruled Salzburg for over 1000 years. In real life, Captain Von Trapp and Maria were married at Nonnberg Abbey where the nuns sang ‘Maria’.
I learned so much about the real story of the Von Trapp family as well as bits of the movie! I share below the top 10 I remember the most.
1) Liesl (Charmian Carr) had no acting experience prior to The Sound Of Music and she was 21 years old, not 16.
2) The real-life Maria Von Trapp was the disciplinarian between her and the Captain, and the captain only used his whistle to call out his children when they played in the field.
3) Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) grew 5-6 inches in the duration of the film that he towered Charmian already – which she had to stand on boxes to appear taller than her ‘younger’ brother.
4) The real-life Maria Von Trapp had a cameo in the movie. She can be seen in the tunnel where Julie Andrews passes by before singing “I Have Confidence”.
5) Christopher Plummer despised the movie so much that he called the movie ‘The Sound Of Mucus”. He was even drunk during the filiming of ‘Edelweiss” in the Salzburg Music Festival.
6) The Von Trapp family did not escape to freedom in the Alps to Switzerland as portrayed in the movie but simply hopped on a train five minutes away from their home to Italy. In fact, the direction where the Von Trapps were going was to where Hitler’s Eagle Nests were located. Yike.
7) For clarification purposes in case you were wondering: two locations were used in the movie as the Von Trapp villa – the front of Frohnburg Palace and the back of Leopold’s Palace. The interiors were shot in a studio in Los Angeles.
8) The eldest of the Von Trapp children was actually a boy (Rupert), not a girl.
9) Julie Andrews sang “Supercalifragelisticexpealidocious” (Mary Poppins) to the children off-screen to cheer them up and they thought she made up the song. Mary Poppins premiered a year before The Sound Of Music.
10) The Reagan White House thought “Edelweiss” was the Austrian national anthem. In 1984 when then Austrian president Rudolf Kirchschlager arrived, the song started playing in the honor of his presence. He found it extremely hilarious. In reality, according to the tour guide, she would have thought Edelweiss would have been a better song than their present anthem.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and made you a little intrigued to watch the movie if you haven’t seen it yet as well as to visit Salzburg. Book your tour now!
Salzburg Panorama Tours
Book: Original Sound of Music Tour – Tour 1A
Driving times: 9:15 am / 2:00 pm
GmbH Austria, 5020 Salzburg
Tel: +43 662 883211-0 (office) Tel: +43 662 874029 (bus terminal)
For more details, visit HERE!