I do have to start out with a brief warning, this is a picture long, quasi-cheesy, Sound of Music post. Now that you’ve been warned please read on in you’re still interested…
Day 3, long before we booked this trip and began planning, mom and I had set our hearts on following in Julie Andrews’ footsteps and singing through the hills of Salzburg – never mind that the first shot of her singing on top of a hill was in Bavaria, details. As we began to iron out the details of the trip we realized that we needed to see as much of Salzburg and the surrounding area as possible without being over-crowded on a bus so we opt-ed to take part in the Fräulein Maria Bike Tours. One of the best choices we made so far.
Fast forward to today and us getting fitted with a boy bike (being petite in stature ruled out the bikes for adult and the little girl bikes weren’t right for whatever reason). It wasn’t until after the tour began that we realized that ours didn’t have gears!
Too late to stop and switch it out we trouped on determined to have a good time, and that we did! Our tour was 12 people and a knowledgeable and funny tour guide who took us through the city stopping at important scenes in the movie and teaching us a little about the history behind each place and the town along the way.
There were some hills and a point fairly early on in the tour were we had to stop to push our bikes up a hill to get to the abbey but nothing to fatal.
Once out of the town center the crowds cleared up, as did the clouds that had filled the sky the entire trip. Elise, our guide through all this, began to play some of the music from SOM and held a brief sing-a-long as we biked through beautiful green land dotted with trees, houses, and even two horses! Riding through the country with almost no one around, breathing in the fresh air, looking up to the sharp alps – it is something that cannot be described by pictures or words and must only be experienced in person.
I understand some people’s hesitancy to do such a “touristy” thing and such a cheesy sing-a-long/tour but this is something that I really enjoyed and am so glad I did. Especially after you get out of the city and a chance to move around, the area is simply lovely.
Our 8 mile, 4 hour tour ended in the Mirabell Garden. Energized by the bit of biking mom and I decided to continue wander through the gardens and wander around the water front. The gardens, built by Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau (who, if you visit the city, seem to have built have the city and invested significantly in the architecture – that being in addition to the archbishop with a sidekick who nearly burnt down half the city after knocking over a candle and choose to ignore it thus allowing Wolf Dietrich even more area to build) for his mistress and many children.
Very beautiful gardens, worth a stroll if you’re so inclined. Then we stopped in at the train station to purchase our tickets to Vienna for tomorrow and make sure everything was running well – it was.
Along the way back we saw a sign that I’ve seen quite a bit around the city that illustrates pedestrians on one side of the road and bikes on the other but it shows a picture of a man with a hat holding a child’s hand and all I can think of when seeing it is stranger danger. Not entirely sure why, but that’s what it reminds me of!
We found a nice little beer garden near our hotel that had been around for over 110 years so we ordered a beer, wine, bratwurst and wiener schnitzel – we were hoping for a very Austrian dinner and were not disappointed.
Full, we walked around a little more before deciding to hike up a small mountain in the city center and look at the old wall that ran around the city. It’s a tiny little path that’s a little off the beaten path tucked behind some stores. So, so, so many steps and steep inclines – plus a few wrong turns – and we eventually found the old city wall and breathtaking views of the old town framed by mountains. We hiked along the wall for probably half an hour before stopping just in time for the 7PM bells and just stood and listened.
Looking out on the city below, fortress above, and mountains beyond; listening to the echoes and choirs of all the city bells ringing; the crisp-ness of the air just as the sun is setting – again, words do not do this justice, I couldn’t have planned a more beautiful end to the evening and my time in Salzburg.
Tired and sore (plus a little of a cough that I’m trying to get past), I cannot wait for tomorrow and am happy to enjoy the splendor of this day.