It’s hard to believe how quickly summer is approaching. As these last few weeks of spring come to a close and my fingers and toes finally defrost after that brutal winter, I’ve made Salzburg, Austria my chosen home base before heading back over to Martha’s Vineyard for some manual labor (although with the beach and friends to keep me company, it’s really not too shabby of a deal).
Salzburg is a bit of a sleepy, storybook town. It’s less than a three hours drive from Vienna, but despite their proximity and heritage these are two entirely different cities. Just a couple of steps off of the main avenue you’ll be met with a maze of side streets and quiet storefronts that will make you feel as if you were the first to have made this wonderful discovery. The private homes, reminiscent of the fairytales you read as a child, are incredibly ornate, often painted in pastel hues featuring every shade of the rainbow. And perhaps the most charming feature of all are the townspeople themselves who center their livelihoods around the glittering Salzach River that splits Salzburg down the middle.
The most common draw for tourists is the sound of music: be it in the form of the many classical composers who have called Salzburg their hometown or the famous Von Trapp family who served as inspiration for the 1965 musical. As someone who has seen this film more than her fair share of times I was eager to see some of the filming locations. Way too excitedly, I decided to embark on one of the many ‘Sound of Music’ tours the city has to offer.
Despite the fact that the tour guide was a 70-year-old who couldn’t climb stairs due to a “bad hip” and constant professions that she hadn’t actually seen the film since the ‘80s, I was definitely geeking out. We went to the actual gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sang ‘I Am 16 Going On 17’ and the long path leading to the house where Maria would ultimately find her true calling. The best moment by far though, happened at the nunnery who had originally sent Maria away. Located at the top of a very steep and winding set of stairs (meaning no guide to accompany us), the nunnery, which is still in operation, was available to visitors. What with my complete lack of manners or sense of social cues, I forgot we were meant to keep quite once inside. To my delight, I was shushed and lectured (I think that’s what she was doing, it was all a mess of raspy Austrian babble to me) by one of the praying nuns. Just like Maria! I can die fulfilled now.