Monday, October 24, 2011

My Favorite Thing!

I know you're only here to see our Sound of Music magic from Salzburg, but there are a few pictures to show from before we left.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights we have community meals with the Bunsons.  It's so much fun!  One of my favorite parts is going upstairs to their flat in my house shoes.  We feel like we're in an episode of I Love Lucy, except with way less scheming...well, sometimes.

We've officially brought down our trunk of winter clothes.  It is cold!  Even the statues are layering.

We went to the grocery store to stock up on snacks for our weekend in Salzburg.  While we were there we found this package of chocolate?  Is it made for kittens?  Of kittens?  Was it a foreshadowing of the Sound of Music 'whiskers on kittens' favorite things weekend to come?  We were not brave enough to buy it and find out.  Oh the joys of living in a country where you don't read the language.

 Clouds sweeping across the mountains surrounding Luzern.

Mount Pilatus with snow on a clearer day.

You would not believe how many tourists still pose with a peace sign.  Really?  Every time we see this pose we all die laughing.  Cole decided to see what all the fuss was about.

We left for Salzburg early on Friday morning.  It was dark, windy, and 25 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ava enjoyed her pastry on the train, but argued with us that it was not 'breakfast' because it was obviously still night.  She wold not acknowledge the day until the first rays of sun started to peek over the horizon.  No amount of scientific reasoning from a very frustrated Cole could convince her otherwise.  I don't know where she gets her stubborn-I-am-right-ness.

The next few pictures were taken from the windows of our train as we traveled through Switzerland, Germany, and into Austria.

Seven hours later we arrived at our lovely hotel.  The kids needed food and some re-energizing.

If you ever go to Salzburg, I highly recommend Hotel Stadkrug.  It's locally-owned and the staff were just amazingly accommodating.   The hotel is close to everything you'll want to see.  The restaurant serves an incredible dinner - we had authentic Austrian wiener schnitzel and lingonberry jam, which Ava ate with a spoon.  Our room rate included free wifi and the most delicious, stuffed-us-until-almost-dinner breakfast.  No, they're not paying me for endorsing.  It was just that magical.

See the banner?!

Josh and I fell in love with a local beer, Edelweiss.  What else?

We happened upon Mozart's house just in time for the last tours of the day.

This was the house where he was born, and it is now a museum.  Unfortunately, they would not let us take pictures inside.

The city of Salzburg has really embraced their Mozart, but not so much their Sound of Music.  This really isn't their fault, as the play was just released for the first time in German the night we arrived (I saved a newspaper clipping of the event).  I kept telling Josh that I should move there and open a Sound of Music gift shop.  I'd make a killing!  Anyway, here were the boys in front of one of the millions of Mozart gift shops.

It's really okay though, because we appreciated The Sound of Music enough for the entire country.  Scenes from the movie were EVERYWHERE!  Here's a quick video to get you all in the right frame of mind.

Remember this shot from the beginning part of the "I Have Confidence" song?

We saw it within hours of arriving, no tour necessary.

This is also the plaza where they shot the Nazi's training in the movie.  See the fountain in the bottom center of the film shot?

Too bad we didn't have a helicopter to capture the exact picture.

Next we headed over to the Salzburg Cathedral.

The original Dom was built in 774, but has been rebuilt and repaired many times over the years - particularly after a bombing during World War 2.

Gorgeous inside, though it is not the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married, but the outside is in several shots throughout the movie.

This church was so intricate, it would have taken days to see everything.

The view into the highest dome.  (Your welcome for editing out the shot where it's 80% dome and 20% Josh's nose hair.)

"The spookiest staircase I've ever seen," said Josh.

We went down into the crypt to look around.  Soon I got a strange feeling and told Josh we should head back up to the main level of the church, things were just really quiet.  As we made our way back to the stairs an official with the church was rounding the corner to turn off lights.  We almost got locked in the crypt for the night!  Can you imagine?  When we went upstairs we had to be let out of the main gate to the church.  Note to future travelers: mind the hours of operation, and brush up on your military time.

Sights from the streets of old town Salzburg

Josh loved the expression the second guy's face.  I think it's because he too has a chronic issue of not being ready for the camera snap.

Our hotel was just across this bridge from old town.  It was built by imprisoned Jews from 1941 - 1945.

After dinner we decided to take a nighttime stroll/scoot.

At least they're willing to admit the sketchiness, right?

So excited to see this town once they understand how fabulous The Sound of Music is.  Get with it people!

We wore out our princess.

On Saturday morning, with bellies full of a wonderful breakfast, we went back across the bridge to explore.

Soon the church bells all began to ring and this beautiful bride rode through town.  Ava insisted that she was "the real princess,"

also known as Kate Middleton.  She was not, of course.  But why argue?

So you want to smell like Mozart?

So you want to taste Mozart?
(These were not my favorite chocolates, though we are living in Switzerland so I'm a bit picky.)

Fanciest McDonalds sign ever

It's like they knew we were coming.

Tons of ornaments filled this winter wonderland.

No, we did not let her ride her scooter in the store.  She always parks near the umbrella rack.

Four churches within a block, is this Salzburg or Norman?

Blah blah blah, more Mozart.  Where is the statue of Maria?

Another gorgeous courtyard

 View of the Hohensalzburg Fortress from street level.  We did not make it up to the fortress, but you can read about its history here.

As my Mom pointed out, the fortress is the building from which Uncle Max hears the men's choir rehearsing when he's riding with the Baroness and Captain Von Trapp.

We bought some amazing watercolors of the city from this artist, who drew a horse for Ava on the spot.

Peeking into the fountain

Soon it was time for our official tour!

First we headed to the trees where the children climbed in their curtain clothes.  The trees look a lot different, but they are almost 50 years older now.

 Too tall to climb, so we posed beneath them.


Hellbrunn Palace, where some of the scenes in front of the Von Trapp house were shot. 

The gazebo also sits on Hellbrunn property.  Because of all the dancing and leaping called for in the "16 Going on 17" song, the movie parts filmed inside the gazebo were actually done on a set in Hollywood.  The gazebo scenes that were shot from the outside were done with the real one in Salzburg.

Of course we had to smooch in the place where Liesl and Maria got their first kisses!

Our 'Gretel' was an angel for the whole tour.  I guess it helps that she's seen the movie several times, and has most of the soundtrack memorized.  Fun story:  When Ava was a baby she loathed the carseat.  She would scream and cry at the top of her lungs until one day I started singing "Do Re Mi".  She was immediately silent and happily cooed along.  After about a week of me singing that song on repeat I bought the soundtrack.  It worked like a charm, and she grew to love all of the songs from the movie.

Farther down that tree grove is the yellow wall that Maria danced by while she sang "I Have Confidence".
See the yellow wall in the distance?

The fortress, as Uncle Max saw it from the car.

The house that was used for the backyard scenes is now private property.  We still got some amazing shots of it from across the pond.  Remember these moments in the movie?

They were all filmed here.

The red dome is the abbey.  It is actually a convent, and they do not allow tours.

View of Salzburg as we headed up into the mountains to the church where Maria was married.

A lot of these settings can be seen in the opening credits of the movie.

I'll give you one guess as to what was playing on the bus CD player as we drove.   As soon as Julie Andrews started singing Ava exclaimed, "Oh!  Mary Poppins!"  Not quite dear, not quite.

A field near the church

The outside of the church

Remember this?

Still just as stunning

And pink everywhere!

I'm glad I didn't have to be a bride in a church like this.  Who would have paid any attention to the actual ceremony?

We had time to stop into a local bakery to try one of Maria's "favorite things" - Crisp Apple Strudel.  It was delicious, and served with a warm vanilla sauce.  We licked the plate clean.

One last view of the church as we headed back into town.

We made a new friend, who had fun racing and playing in the leaves with Ava.

Remember the children and Maria dancing around this fountain and singing "Do Re Mi"?
We saw it!


 Then they ran through a trellis.

Magical, right?

The entrance to Mirabel Gardens, used in the movie

When I got home I realized we were facing the wrong way.  We tried the shot again on Sunday but it was WAY crowded.  I actually think it works better the way we angled it because you can see the city of Salzburg in the background.  Take that Rogers & Hammerstein.   (Again, I have no idea where Ava gets her 'stubborn-I-am-right-ness'.)

After some time in the gardens we headed home to rest and have dinner - even Ms. Well.

On Sunday morning we headed back out to capture a few more Sound of Music memories.
Remember this?

Crazy, right?

The one shot I absolutely had to have:
Growing up I always wanted to be Liesl, but now I'm definitely more of a Maria - minus the horrible haircut.

They danced around the fountain,

and so did we!

Another beautiful shot of the gardens

See?  The other shot was way better.

We found lunch for the kiddos in town and Ava harassed pigeons with her scooter.

 We heard that you could climb up the hill and see into the amphitheater where the music festival was held in the movie. 

We hiked up and tried our best, but the retractable roof was closed.  We could have gone through the theater with a tour guide, but it would have made us late for our train.  Remember what it looked like inside?

This was one of the massive doors on the side, please note the "jam and bread" poses in the next three pictures.

Ancient stairway

The path turned into woods as we climbed higher.

Maria and the children were here too:

Stunning views of the city

Salzburg Cathedral

Climbing back down, not a scooter-friendly path

Josh and I want to return to Salzburg someday and go inside.

 Remember the graveyard scene where the Nazis are looking for Captain Von Trapp?

A lot of that scene was filmed in Hollywood, but was 'set' in this graveyard.

I had to include this shot, because it is a little bit of real life in this dreamy vacation world we're living in.  Guess what?  Sometimes I'm whiny.  Sometimes Josh is grumpy.  And sometimes Ava James needs a 'come to Jesus meeting' in a graveyard.  It happens, but we love each other through it all.

So I'm probably going to hell for this, but isn't she the cutest thing?  The perfect punctuation mark for our Sound of Music weekend.

On our way to the train station we passed this store and had to take a picture.  Ava was so proud!

See all of our kazillions of pictures here and here.