After a short drive from Bavaria we arrived in Austria, in Innsbruck at the wonderful campsite of Natterer See (Thanks Alison Q for the tip). We parked up overlooking the peaceful lake in one direction and the towering, snow covered Alps in the other.
Innsbruck itself is a town of two halves. On one side there are many immigrant beggars and people hanging around eyeing up unsuspecting tourists. On the other side are the old buildings, café culture, cable cars and cobbled streets.
We left Innsbruck, for our first mission without the caravan, on the fast train to Salzburg. Dot was excited, having watched the Sound Of Music for the first time a few nights before. I, however, was beside myself, this was a city I have been dying to see for as long as I can remember!
We easily found our hotel (Hotel Villa Carlton), which was lovely and allowed us to check in early. Dot was very happy with her pull out bed, in her own room, with her own TV. I was even more happy with a warm toilet in the same building!
The Sound Of Music Tour was the first thing we booked as we passed through the station. It lasted for 4 hours and took us to all the main sights from the movie. Walking from our hotel to pick up the tour I almost wet my pants with excitement!! There, in the gardens next to the hotel, were the infamous stairs, fountain, statues and pergola from the Do Re Mi scenes.
The famous steps
When we got on the coach I met a man called Peter, our tour guide, he was really nice and very funny. I chose the back seats of the coach cause all the rest were full of tourists. Our first stop on the tour was at the Leopoldskron Palace, the lake scenes were all filmed here, as well as the bits where the family are out on the terrace.
Next we drove past the house which was used for all the outside house scenes, now a music school. Sadly it is a pedestrian street and we didn’t get to go along it. However we headed to Hellbrunn Palace, which is home to the famous Gazebo!
The Von Trapp house
The original gazebo ("Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee"
‘Apple Streudel Heir Detweiler?’
I love apple streudel, its like apple pie but with more cinnamon and they serve it with vanilla sauce)
‘How many have I had so far?’
‘Make it an uneven 3!’
At this point we left Salzburg and headed up into the lakes and mountains region. The Untersberg is the mountain Maria sings on at the beginning of the film and also the mountain they climb at the end. This was the point where I got to go up to the front of the coach and sing into the microphone. I was really scared but did it anyway. I sang ‘Do Re Mi’ everybody clapped, cheered and filmed me! I won a free drink.
Our next stop was a lovely, lakeside town called Mondsee. This is home to the church where the wedding was filmed. We really wished at this point we had brought the caravan, as this is definitely an area we would like to explore. A good reason to come back again! Absolutely gorgeous.
Back in Salzburg we went to visit Al's first choice, the Beer Hall. It was incredible. Wood covered walls, arched ceilings, Bratwurst and huge clay steins. Everyone had a smile on their face and was enjoying the atmosphere of the 2000 seat hall!
After a very warm nights sleep (so used to a freezing caravan) we went out to explore the old part of Salzburg. It is the home of Mozart, what a shame I am more of a Rogers and Hammerstein fan, but we did visit his house. Then we headed up to THE ABBEY!! We stood by the gate where the children called for Maria and the Nazis invaded. We even got to go inside the chapel where they filmed the ‘Rolf with gun’ scene, I almost wept. It is all so incredible being there and seeing it all for real!
‘I’m scared! Should we sing about our favourite things?’
‘This is one time that that won’t help!’
I was ‘Sad to go, I cannot tell a lie!’ but I thought of ‘My favourite things’ and that got me through! ‘I have confidence’ that I will return to Salzburg. It was such an amazing treat ‘I must have done something good’ to be there and experience it all. ‘The hills filled my heart’ with their beauty but I must now say ‘So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersen Goodbye!’