Salzburg Travel Blog

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With a sweeping aerial view, the film opens with a left-to-right camera pan through the clouds and across rocky, snow-covered mountains. The camera dips into a green, wooded valley with steep cliffs that descend into a snow-fed lake. Reflections of the hills are viewed in the mirror-like images on the water's surface. As the camera moves over the European landscape and village, it discovers an open, green area nestled between the peaks. It moves closer and zooms into the green field, where it suddenly finds a happy and joyous Maria (Julie Andrews), a novice Salzburg Austrian nun, walking across the wide expanse of land. With open-armed appreciation of the beauty of the surrounding majestic peaks and vistas of the Austrian Alps, she twirls and sings the title song. For her: "The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music."
This is the opening sequence of "The Sound of Music",(SOM) a much-heralded, breath-taking piece of film-making. And it was shot here in Salzburg, Austria. Now it would be unfair to say that the film was shot in Salzburg coz the locations are spread far n wide. So to check out the places where this historic musical was shot I took the SOM Tour by Panorama Turs on the first day. The tour which lasts for about 4 hours, costs €30 and if u have an interest in movies then it is a must for u. There are some other tours as well like the Bavarian Alps, Salt Mines and the Ice Caves (this is conducted only in winters) which may be of interest to you. The places that we visited during the tour were:-
Leopoldskron Castle(pic above) - this was used as the Trapp family home.
Hellbrunn Castle
St Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang - adjoining village of Salzkammergut is the birthplace of Mozarts mother
Mondsee Cathedral- The wedding scene was filmed here. Maria led by liesl, walked down the aisle to meet the Baron in front of the stairs ok the main altar

Lake Wolfgang

Mondsee Cathedral

The SOM tour ended at the Mirabell Castle n Gardens. The Mirabell castle was built by Prince-Archibishop, Wolf Dietrich,in 1606. Today the Palace accommodates the office of Salzburg's Bürgermeister(mayor) and the municipal administration. Just besides the castle is the Mirabellgarten (Mirabell Gardens). In SOM, Maria and the children were seen dancing around the statue of Pegasus, the winged horse, and throughout the gardens singing "Do-Re-Mi".

Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself, Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread, La, a note to follow So
Tea, a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back to Do

Doesnt that remind you of your rhyme singing, primary school days?

This is a nice place to take a break and if you like photography, you'll find many good spots. The garden enchants visitors with it's statues, fountains and elaboratly decorated flowerbeds.

The next day was reserved for exploring the old town of Salzburg (Alstadt), so we got ourselves this Salzburg Pass for €20. The pass allows travel on public transport and includes admission into many of the city's tourist attractions and usually comes out to be a good deal. The two day pass costs €27, so in case ur stay is gonna be longer u cd exercise this option. The day began at the Cathedral Salzburg. Its been consecrated, destroyed and rebuilt 3 times and the dates are commemorated at the gates (see pic above). The three main bronze doors represent Faith, Hope and Charity.

Under its roof is the most important musical instrument and one of Salzburg's treasures, the 4000-pipe organ where Mozart played his court-commissioned masses, psalms, litanies, chorals and sonatas. The four statues in front of the cathedral are St. Rupert, St. Paul, St. Peter and St. Virgil.

The octagonal dome that rises 71 meter high with its copper silhouette is recognisable from everywhere in the old city and the surrounding hills and mountains. Pic below is the dome from inside.

Outside, there is a statue of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the square. If you go out in front of the statue and walk toward it, it appears as if the angels on the facade of the cathedral, set the crown they are holding, on her head. Solid funda ...Haina??

Ok now something odd. Look at the below pic closely and in the middle u will see two alphabets. This is the Christian Anarchy Symbol, Alpha & Omega, meaning the first and last which in turn is to represent God and/or Jesus. (Refer to the book of Revelations 1:8, 21:6, & 22:13. Rev. 1:8 says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."). Basically, the symbol is a visual play on the "anarchy" symbol but with a different meaning and intent.

Christian Anarchism (also known as Christian libertarianism) is the belief that the only source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable is God, embodied in the teachings of Jesus. Christian anarchists feel that government and established churches do not, and should not, have power over them.
I've never ever seen anything like this in any other church and I have no idea what it was doing here. Actually I realised this only when I had come back and was editing the pics. If some one can explain to me whether they generally have such symbols in church. It was too obvious for a trained eye to have missed it, so I rule out all symbolism in this episode. Da Vinci Code anyways didn't get sucha favorable start at the Cannes :-P

Viva Mozart!!! Next we went to Mozart's House of birth n stay. Two diff buildings not very far apart. The pic below is of the house where he was born. Not much inside the house to see. The other place, where he stayed, provides much more info about his work n life. Visited it later during the day. And since this happens to be the 250 anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birth therefore its kinda special this year with everything from chocolates to spirits, key chains, shot glasses embalmed with Mozart. Everyone conveniently forgets the fact that Mozart though born here, was virtually kicked out of the city and hence took refuge in Vienna.

Next up the Castle Hohensalzburg, which stands on a steep hill, Monchsberg. It was built in 1,077 by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach. This medieval castle is one of the very few castles in Europe that were never conquered by foreign military force. To reach the castle u can either walk or take the funicular.

The view of the city from the top is absolutely gorgeous. There are a few restaurants at the top. So enjoy some pizza along with Weissbier but be prepared to wait a litle longer here coz the service is everything but quick. The view from these open air restaurants is also quiet breath-taking. The valley below is actually quite picturesque. Now if u look at the mountain in the pic below, then the Austian alps are to the left of it and on its right is German/Bavarian Alps. The mountain is half Austrian half German.

At the foot of the hill are lotsa shops selling souvenirs. I would recommend anyone to shop here as it is comparitively cheaper than the souvenir shops. A bell which I bought for €15 at one of the shops earlier was on sale for €9.

Also at the square is a huge chessboard, so I decided to sit there for a while n enjoy the game. Now about the game which i saw... It staretd off beautifully with the Ruy Lopez opening which incidently is my fav. Later White went in for the Flohr-Zaitsev Variation which you would agree can force Black to choose a different defence. So the black guy shifed from Arkhangelsk Defence. Now, I would have choosen the Closed Defence but that guy went for Delayed Exchange Variation Deferred, hence the black knight and bishop were not on their best squares.

OK...that was some really authentic sounding 100% crap...Except Ruy Lopez I dont know anything in the paragraph.. White won eventually and we moved on to explore more of the city.

One thing which we missed out was the boat ride in the Salzach river, which is a part of the Salzburg Pass. Since it wasnt officially summer the last boat left about 5 pm and we missed it. Strolled in the old town for some more time just exploring the streets, not visiting any place in particular, not in a hurry to reach a destination or landmark. Just letting the ambience of this old town seeep into me and etch itself in memories for later times.

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photo by: travpro11