Growing up, The Sound of Music was a big deal in my family. It was my grandmother’s favorite movie and one that my mom loves a lot, too. We would watch it often and sing the songs together. It was the absolute raddest thing to be able to visit the places that the movie features, like the gazebo in the song “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” the lake that Maria and the kids fell into after running around Austria and playing in the play clothes made out of drapes, or the mountain that Maria frolicked on during “The Hills Are Alive.”
This morning, Elaine, Katie, Najeeah, and I woke up at 7:00 am and got ready for the day. We had breakfast at the hotel (picking from the same bread, meat, cheese, cereal, fruit, and coffee spread as yesterday) and then loaded our luggage (and ourselves) onto the charter bus to leave on our Sound of Music tour.
Our hotel lobby.
We stopped first at the stairs and fountain where the children dance and jump during the song “Do Re Mi” (the part where Maria climbs up to the top of the outdoor staircase and the children alternate jumping up and down a step until the song finishes).
We took our picture on those steps, and then boarded the bus again to go to the lake and the back of the mansion shown when Baron von Trapp arrives back from Vienna with Baroness Schraeder and Max Detweiler and when the children arrive back home via boat from singing and playing around Salzburg with Maria.
This picture is of our tour guide Erich and our bus driver Denis walking and talking.
From there, we visited the gazebo where Liesel and Rolf sang and danced during “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”
We saw a tour bus for The Original Sound of Music Tour, so, like true tourists, we took a picture with that, too.
Afterwards, we rode the bus to the top of the Alps in the edge Germany to see the hill that was “alive with the sound of music” at the beginning of the movie.
Pictured: Addi, Brooklyn, and myself.
The hills that Julie Andrews said were alive with the sound of music!!!!
We took a lot of pictures, laughed a lot, and then boarded the bus back towards Salzburg to drop off our tour guide and to get lunch. Our guide, Erich, showed us a charming restaurant on the way back and made reservations for us, so we stopped there. I had a wok that had rice, cauliflower, and pineapple curry sauce. It was delicious! I finished the meal with the most beautiful chocolate cake that I have ever seen. There was a small chocolate cake, a scoop of vanilla icing, a dollop of whipped cream, two slices of watermelon, and four slices of apple, all drizzled with chocolate sauce and laying on a bed of powdered sugar. I’ve noticed that the cakes here are more dry and less sweet than those we have in America, but it was still delicious!
We then got back on the bus and journeyed to Dorfgastein, Austria, where we will be staying tonight! Najeeah and I are sharing a decently large room with a good-sized bathroom and a balcony with a pretty view.
Najeeah, Felisa, Mary, Rhandi, and myself decided to break off from the group after we got settled to explore the surrounding area. We ended up taking a taxi to Bad Hofgastein where we had a sweet cake/gelato for a snack, window shopped, and ate dinner at a vegetarian restaurant. I got a salad with balsamic vinaigrette, onion, hard boiled egg, tomato, kidney beans, and radish on it, and I didn’t like it very much, but I enjoyed getting to sit outside and talk. It was a beautiful evening!
I really liked this chair in one of the stores we found.
We grabbed a few snacks from Billa, an Austrian grocery store, and then walked back to the bus stop where we caught a bus back to Dorfgastein. We made our way back to the hotel, and now Rhandi and I are sitting in the breakfast area, fighting for Wifi and praying that our blog posts upload.
It’s so crazy to watch this trip unfold and to see all the traveling we’re doing. I woke up in Salzburg and tonight I’ll be sleeping in Dorfgastein. In between, I travelled to Germany and got to see the Alps. One thing that I really liked about Salzburg was how much history it had. Salzburg felt like a small town compared to Vienna (which I suppose it is, but WOO Nelly– I hadn’t seen Dorfgastein yet. Talk about a small town…) and it was decently filled with tourists once you took a bus to the town’s hub, so I didn’t expect much from it. However, I was pleasantly surprised today at how much rich history one can find all around the area and how interesting their history is. I didn’t necessarily like, however, the smallness of the town and how far away we were from the central part of it (or how early the shops closed). I felt isolated and bored, whereas I never feel bored in Vienna because there is always somewhere to go or something to do.
I miss Vienna, but I’m still very much enjoying my trip. It’s the small, simple things that make this trip as interesting and fun as it is. For example, the owner of the bed and breakfast that we are staying in tonight just brought Rhandi and I into his office to look at his computer. As it turns out, he had Google Translate pulled up because his English is not that great and he wanted to answer a question that Rhandi asked him earlier. We ended up typing back and forth about our trip and he taught me how to pronounce the phrases in German. What a cool moment! It’s the unplanned things like that which make me love this trip more and more and make me even more grateful for the experiences I’m having.
Something that caught my attention today was part of a lyric from the Sound of Music song “Edelweiss.” One of the ending lyrics of the song says, “Bless my homeland forever.” Baron von Trapp is a proud Austrian, and it shows in his actions throughout the movie (and his life if you hear the non-Hollywood version). His pride for his country and his sacrifices for it help me to appreciate Austria even more because I see that same pride and devotion in the words and actions of Austrians I meet. They are proud of their beautiful country and are willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of the country itself and for their fellow Austrians. (For example, they pay to use public bathrooms to contribute to keeping them clean. They pay more for healthcare to ensure that everyone has some. They have multiple categories of recycling and the recycling bins are easily located all throughout the city.) How lovely it is to love your country that much and to unite with fellow citizens– regardless of personal differences– in the name of loving your country. Very cool. Well Austria, I like you, too.
Cheers to Austria; cheers to world travels; cheers to experiences that can only happen when you step outside your comfort zone and try something new.