Climb Every Mountain...gasp....wheeze
Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
16Trip End Jun 23, 2012
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The best re-cap to describe today was when late this afternoon Robyn said, "I feel like we have climbed every damn mountain." Now, that is the cleaned-up version of what she actually said. I am trying to keep this blog to PG-13 at worst, so I only upload pictures with white English butts and use words like "damn" and "crap" instead of what was actually said.
As I said yesterday and as you can tell by the title of today's entry, we did a "Sound of Music" tour. The weather was absolutely gorgeous today; in fact it was so perfect that I did a 2.5 mile run along the river this morning. I did this after reviewing comments to the blog. (kudos to my old high school buddy John Mason for researching why there is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in central London-- his comment can be read in the blog entry titled "The Abbey." John is nearly as big a history geek as I am.) Anyway, the run was spectacular other than watching out for all the "asses" on bikes on the bike/running path. The tour Robyn booked us with was to pick us up at our hotel between 8:45 and 9:15. The van finally made its way down the narrow streets to our hotel and got us around 9:15. While waiting, Robyn took several pictures of our hotel. She also wanted to take a picture of the Idiot Tourist standing under the hotel's sign. I refused, so she had the Idiot Tourist take a picture of the Idiot Tourist's wife pointing to the sign.
The "Sound of Music" tour was actually pretty decent, as our tour guide (dressed in traditional garb) gave us a lot of history of Salzburg along with information about the movie. The "Sound of Music" is now big business in Salzburg because of all the Americans who come over and want to see where it was filmed. (The people of Saltzburg, by the way, can take or leave the movie. They do not think of it as a big deal.) There are multiple tour groups. Robyn chose a small group that only took along seven people, which turned out to be a very wise choice. Our tour guide gave us a brief history of the city and then we moved on to the house that was the setting for all the scenes that were filmed at the back of the house, Leopoldskron Palace. The house is private and can only be viewed from across a small lake.
While we were up on the castle fortress Festung Hohensalzburg Robyn took a picture of the front of the house, which was not used for scenes in the movie.
The left side of the house is where the Gazebo was placed for the "Gazebo" scenes. It stayed there until around 1990 when the owners of the house asked the city of Salzburg to move it somewhere else because Sound of Musicphiles were constantly coming on their property to see the Gazebo, including swimming across the lake to get to it. The Gazebo is now in a public area at Hellbrunn Palace; however, due to liability issues the city now keeps the door locked to keep people from entering it and trying to re-create the scene of jumping from bench to bench from the movie. It seems quite a few people were hurt. As we were leaving Hellbrunn Palace there were other Sound of Music groups showing up (mostly on large buses) including one with scenes from the movie painted on the side. Thank God we were not on this tour. Our tour guide continually hurried us along so we could beat the big groups.
We headed across the mountain to where the wedding scene was filmed. On the way we stopped briefly, and I told Robyn the goats we saw nearby were related to the ones from the Goat Herder song from the movie so she took a picture. Ha ha.
On the way to the town of Mondsee our tour guide pointed out the unbelievable world headquarters for the drink Red Bull.
We watched some of the other people on our tour go down a toboggan run and then we stopped at a cute restaurant for some apple strudel.
The director of the movie Robert Wise had tried to use the convent in Salzburg where Maria was living before being sent to help at the von Trapp home and where they were married, but was told no by the mother superior. So he found a cathedral in the town of Mondsee that agreed to allow him to film inside. The outside of the cathedral was not used but we took a picture anyway.
The last part of the movie is the families' "escape" to Switzerland by climbing over the mountains. The picture below is the "escape" mountain used in the film. One problem--going over that mountain would have actually taken them into Germany, which would kind of defeat the purpose of "fleeing the Germans."
Also, their escape was not as dramatic as portrayed in the movie. The family's travels led to Italy where they performed for several months before heading to America on a three month visa. They went back to Italy until it became too dangerous to live there, went to London and eventually back to the US. Since the real story is just not as dramatic, Hollywood changed it up.
Something else we learned on our tour. Prior to the escape scene, Christopher Plummer sings “Edelweiss” and refers to it as the Austrian anthem (and of course Christopher Plummer singing is as funny as Clint Eastwood singing in “Paint Your Wagon”). “Edelweiss” was written for the movie (possibly the play) because the real Austrian anthem had been used as the official anthem of the Nazi Party.
After we finished the tour Robyn and I went through the Mirabell gardens(where they sang "Do-Re-Mi") and Mozart's house in the new part of the city. By the way, Old Town is called that because it dates to the 7th century; the new side dates to the 17th century. As as I said yesterday new or old does not matter as it is all OLD. Mozart's house was not that impressive because not much of the furnishings or instruments he used were there. Lots of things were reproductions. There were some original manuscripts, but I guess it is all about being in the home where a genius lived.
We headed back across the river and stopped on the pedestrian bridge so Robyn could take a picture of the Old Town side of the city and I noticed there were thousands of locks hooked through the wires on the bridge. As I looked at them they would each have two names such as John and Mary and I realized these were people "locking" there love for each other. No need for us to do that, because after 32 years of marriage, we are just locked. Anyway, we headed back to the old side to visit the Festung Hohensalzburg. The only way up to the castle is via the funicular. This thing was like a cable car and felt like it went straight up the side of the mountain--oh yea, it did actually go straight up the side of the mountain. A little scary, but pretty cool.
When we got to the top we took the full tour of the castle which included the Torture Tower and the state apartments. The castle was built during the 11th century and various additions were made to strengthen it up through the 17th century. In the 19th century it was no longer used as a defensive castle and became the base for the Austrian Army's Rainier Brigade. There were several memorials to the Rainier Brigade in the state apartments especially for battles in Russia and Italy during WW I. The Torture Tower was given its name because it held instruments of torture to scare prisoners but was never actually used to torture any prisoners. There were wall shackle's which were used to hold prisoners and it had the only entrance to the dungeons 30 feet below the Torture Room.
From the top of the Torture Tower was a magnificent view of Salzburg and the surrounding area. After we finished touring the castle we headed back down the funicular and then prepared for our next journey to Munich, Germany in the morning.