Finally catching up on all my blogs! So last weekend, my friend Lauren and I went to Salzburg, Austria! One of my friends from Delaware, Rachel, is studying abroad there so we were able to stay with her which was great and a lot of fun! Lauren and I took an overnight train which was an interesting experience. It was direct without any stops which was great and we even got a compartment to ourselves! But, neither of us slpet very well at all which wasn't very good :( It was about a 7 hour train but we left at 9pm so we got to Salzburg at 4am! AH! Since the public buses didn't start running until 5am we had to wait inside the train station for an hour which was VERY COLD and we were obviously exhausted. But we survived and when the buses started running, we took one towards my friend's dorm which she had given me directions to. At that point it was still only 6am, so we luckily found a hotel that was open where we were able to get some coffee. We felt like homeless people for a little bit, sitting in the hotel lobby for an hour without any intent of checking in HAHA but at 7am I got in touch with my friend and she told us she'd come meet us! She found us and we got to her dorm, got ready for the day and headed out. She had a class field trip for the day but she gave Lauren and I places to go and we were off!
First, we headed to the Feldstung Fortress which overlooks the entire city- you can basically see it from any point in the city! We crossed over the river which runs through the city- the water is this beauitful clear blue! We trekked up the path to the fortress (what a workout!) and were able to walk around inside and get some great views! It was an actual fortress with a whole little city inside- a school, a church, pubs, and the ruler's home. It was so cool! From there, we got lunch (the best pancakes I've ever had!) and then headed to catch our Sound of Music Tour! Along the way, we stopped at Mirabell Platz, where part of the movie is filmed! Really beauitful gardens and a fountain, and also the famous tree-lined tunnel that the kids run through! (See videos section of blog- HAHA I did a little filming of my own there...)
The tour was a lot of fun! We first drove by the von Trapps' real home which is pretty tucked away but we could see it a little bit! And our tour guide told us a lot of interesting facts about the movie: first of all, the names, genders, and ages of the children were edited for the movie. And Maria didn't fall in love with the captain at first. She loved the kids and wanted to be their mother, so she agreed to marry the captain. Also, the von Trapp's home in the movie was created using two homes- one for the front and one for the back. Although the filming outdoors was all done in Salzburg, most of the inside sets were created in Hollywood- so we did not go inside any the buildings since it wasn't what you see in the movie! And at the end of the movie when you see the family escaping and climbing over the Alps, they are actually climbing into Nazi Germany (who they were supposed to be running from)- it was the director's joke! Next on the tour, we went to the gazebo from "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" which has been moved from its original location. Then we saw the path where Maria runs along and sings "I Have Confidence" which leads to the home they use for shooting the front of the house. Then we drove to see the home they use for shooting the back of the house- the patio- which backs up to a pretty lake (where the kids fall in the water!). Then we drove past the abbey where the nuns live and then drove out to the church where they get married! On the bus ride to the church, the tour bus played the movie soundtrack which the tour guide told us we "were invited to sing along with." So obviously, Lauren and I belted the songs (see other video). But just picture our tour group: 8 older Indian men, a married couple with a 10 week old infant, another older married couple, a few older women. And Lauren and I. So Lauren and I were the only ones singing and we had a TON of fun, but I'm sure the other tour group members were not too fond of us. Haha! The church we went to see was beautiful- and as we were in there taking pictures, a group of small kids came in with luminaries. Apparently processions like this happen all over Austria this time of year in preparation for the holidays. They were all so cute! As they walked in, the church played that beautiful wedding song- I think Pachbel's Cannon?- so obviously I jokingly started walking down the aisle pretending I was getting married.... HAHA From there, we took the bus back into the city and met up with Rachel and her friend Brian for dinner! We went to a traditional Austrian restaurant for dinner and I got beef goulash- I loved it! Lauren and I were so exhausted from our sleepless train ride that we just went back to Rachel's dorm, watched a movie, and went to bed!
We woke up the next morning and went to this delicious breakfast place called Demel- there's only two in the world, one in Salzburg and one in Vienna, but apparently they're opening one in NYC! :) I had the best hot chocolate of my life there! It was sooo amazing! We walked around a little bit, saw the ice skating rink that was set up for the Christmas market, and went to see St. Peter's Church and cemetary, which inspired the one that was recreated for the movie! (where they hide at the end) From there we went back to her dorm, got our bags and left for the train station! Our first train ride was from Salzburg to Innsbruck which was a beautiful ride through the Alps! It was foggy for a while but then it cleared up for sunset which was amazing! Then, we had a train from Innsbruck to Trento, another northern Italian city, where we had a short layover (Laur and I got dinner) then we took a train into Bassano and a short taxi back to campus!
It was a short weekend, but so much fun and we're so glad we went! Salzburg is such a beautiful city and with my Sound of Music obsession, it was so exciting to see! I LOVED it and even though we missed the Christmas Market by a few days, we both want to go back one year for the market! Just being there got us both excited for Christmas (maybe too soon! haha!) Lauren and I decided that Austria is one of our favorite countries :)