No self-respecting musical theatre nerd could go to Salzburg and not geek out at least a little. Some of the most iconic scenes of The Sound of Music were filmed in Salzburg and this is where the real Von Trapps lived.
I stumbled upon an amazing self-guided Sound of Music tour from BigBoyTravel.com. After prioritizing locations, I followed it pretty closely. I also want to thank them for gently breaking the news that I would not be allowed to twirl on the famous meadow because it’s on private property.
I was really sad about this.
The first place you should go is Mirabell Palace and Gardens, where a lot of Do Re Mi was filmed. You’ll be able to tick off a ton of the movie shots, like the musical steps, Pegasus fountain, and hedge maze at the gardens. I’ll direct you to the BigBoyTravel.com guide for pics and more details. The guide and the movie both focus on the gardens, but skip over the amazing Mirabell palace interior. I audibly gasped at a few points as I wandered the rooms. Not everything is open to the public, but it’s definitely worth a half-hour wander. Just don’t take photos on the amazing staircase ’cause you’ll probably trip and marble really hurts.
Really, sometimes the beauty was just too much.
Next I went to the Pferdeschwemme (translates to “horse bath”–like a car wash but for horses) that is featured in My Favorite Things. The juxtaposition of the designed white and peach bath and the rough, gray face of Mönchsberg Hill is really lovely. You only really need 5 minutes at this location.
Next I went to Saint Peter’s cemetery. While the cemetery was recreated in Hollywood for the actual film, St. Peter’s was the inspiration for the scenes where the Von Trapps hide from the Nazis (and where I usually fell asleep in the movie.) The first time I managed to stay awake through the whole thing, I just remember viscerally feeling Liesl’s shock that Rolf turned out to be a big fat fascist jerk.
The cemetery is weirdly joyous and colorful–like if you let Willy Wonka design a graveyard.
If you’ve been following along, I know what you’re thinking. Dylan, you know what happened last time you went to a cemetery. You got freaked out and you ran away. I didn’t get scared this time. St. Peter’s was such an interesting and peaceful place; I spent at least an hour there. I skipped the catacomb tour because it cost money, but if I ever go back to Salzburg, it’s the first thing on my list.
The next morning I went to Stift Nonnberg, where the other nuns vent about Maria at the beginning of the movie. There was a lot of construction blocking the path up the hill to the abbey, but I eventually figured out a way to get there.
The real Maria Von Trapp also also lived in the abbey and was married to Georg Von Trapp in the adjacent church. I had the dark church all to my lonesome (pictured at right above), which was kind of intense.
Due to time, I had to skip many locations (plus I completely ignored Mozart who was born in Salzburg), so I think another trip to Salzburg is definitely warranted.
So…So long, farewell! Aufwiedersehen, goodbye!
For tonight at least.