Auf Wiedersehen Austria
We sat contemplating our journey from Austria into Slovenia. Our overall objective was to try and keep travelling time top a minimum as we’ve been enjoying the short hops recently.
However, something was niggling me.
I had always wanted to visit Salzburg; it’s where the Sound of Music was filmed (one of my favourite movies)… but we had started moving away from the area. Plus, there’s no way i would be able to enjoy the highlights & locations with whiny kids and a grumpy husband!
I’d almost accepted it was to be added to the list of ‘maybe next time’, when I had a moment! This was my trip too! I had already made an assumption that the boys would hate it, but they loved Barcelona (another stunning city).
So I approached the idea with Keith and he said yes. Just like that. He said it would be fun… even when I said I wanted to visit the sound of music film sets he nodded. Wow! I’ll see how long his enthusiasm lasts. Let do this!
Where to stay
We ended up staying in a lovely peaceful village called Golling which had an Aires in the car park of a Spa/swimming facility. Unfortunately the Spa was a little pricey for our budget but would be a perfect place for a relaxing day. Note: Pay for the aires at the reception.
Facilities & town
The Aires had all the facilities you’d need for a motorhome, including waste, water and electric. At the end of the car park (across the road) is a large Spar, great for stocking up on everything!
Then if you continue to walk further up the road you will find the main street itself. We actually only found this on the day we were leaving – doh! It looked like there were many lovely shops and eateries so enough to keep you entertained.
Travel to Salzburg
There is easy access to Salzburg via the train station, situated just 10 minutes walk away. The trains are only 25 minutes and run twice during the hour.
When we got there we found the ticket machine was broken… hmmm! As we had our Mi-fi we just uploaded the train app and bought tickets online which then said you needed ID – arghhh! So a quick dash back to the motorhome, grab some ID and then a quick dash back – phew! Just in time for the train.
It might just be easier if you download the app, OBB, before you leave. You will find the current train schedule and also book your tickets online. The conductor who checks the tickets just checks the barcode – super easy and lovely trains!
Although, we’re not having much luck with trains – or at least the tickets!
Arriving into Salzburg
After a very smooth and really easy train ride. We arrived at Salzburg centre. It was very modern and easy directions for access to outside. After that though, there weren’t many signs for anywhere. So either make sure you have a map of the city or access to Google Maps!
The city itself is easy to navigate (with a map) if you plan to wander the streets. If not there are several buses outside the train terminal which will take you where you need to go. There is also a hop on, hop off bus available.
The boys are getting much better at stomping around the streets so that’s what we did to both save our budget and to burn off their excess energy.
Sound of Music Highlights
As with most girls I know, the Sound of Music was and still is a classic film. It was a huge part of my childhood and my sisters and I used to enjoy re-enacting elements of the film. Sorry Di & Jane. Just as many people took great pleasure in singing ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’ to me…. By the way it’s Marie, not Maria!
So a highlight for me would be visiting the famous sets around Salzburg. I was actually grinning all day and couldn’t understand why. I believe it was a combination of doing something for me and also seeing the childhood memories of Maria & the Von Trapps come to life! I couldn’t believe how much I remembered.
First I visited Mirabell Garten. I wasn’t clear before I went which scene this referred to but as soon as I turned the corner I knew immediately ‘Do Re Mi Fa’. And I was stood at the top of the steps, ha ha! There was only one thing for it. A re-enactment!! Keith was oblivious to what I was doing but obliged as I jumped into everyone’s photo and proceeded to walk up the famous steps with my hand in the air! Luckily for them I spared them the singing!
As we walked through the gardens, flashes from the film came flooding back; cycling through the archways, needle pulling thread entrance, fountain they skipped around. It was like going back in time! But through it all; it was nothing but tasteful was all tasteful. There were no giant signs claiming this was the scene from the Sound of Music. I mean everyone around me was preforming in one way or another, but it wasn’t tacky. If anything it was quite cute.
After the gardens we walked on towards Residenzplatz. This is where they were continuing the Do a deer song and road horse and carriages which you can also enjoy! From here I stumbled across the ‘Horse Pond’ which is where Maria sings ‘I have confidence’. The boys were getting bored already!
Next was Sift Nonnberg. However, we missed the turning and with the heat I didn’t have the heart to re-negotiate the streets, so instead I accepted that the nunnery would be a miss! If you are heading to this site, make sure you walk up the steps!
But the next (and my last stop) was to catch a glimpse of the Von Trapp Family House (now known as Leopoldskron Palace – now a hotel). The boys were starting to tire and as we had walked through a beautiful Park to get to the location I left Keith and the boys there to play at the park.
I wandered along the road to find that the entrance was closed with tall iron gates. I felt a little cheated, but knew it wasn’t worth persuing. Which is when I met 2 American girls. They too were looking for the house and wondered about getting it. Just as we were having a debate the gates started to open as guests were leaving! Result!!
We took our cheeky opportunity and snuck in! I didn’t stay long but was there long enough to see the famous ‘Pink Lemonade Terrace’ and the lake that the Von Trapp Children and Maria fell into.
I was in my element – how to reduce a 40 year old woman to being a child again!! ha ha. And I’m not sorry!
I strolled back to the boys with a cheesy grin on my face and happy that I’d achieved my goal, albeit a simplistic one!
We ate our picnic lunch at the park and then gently strolled our way back through the streets of Salzburg.
Other highlights within Salzburg
Although I am clearly more of a fan than I thought, I was massively impressed that the Austrians had not seized on the opportunity to over market these areas. Instead, most were there for you to freely roam as you wished. There was no tourist tat or pink neon signs directing you. It made me love it even more!
But in addition to the Sound of Music, Salzburg had other highlights which we enjoyed. Firstly, Mozart was born here! The house he grew up in is situated along a lovely decorative street which is now a big shopping area and his home is a museum.
We didn’t pop in for a visit but there were plenty of tour guides around.
Although it wasn’t a film scene (that I know of) in the Sound of Music you can’t help but notice the huge Fortress on top of the hill. Hohensalzburg Castle is looking down on you wherever you turn.
It’s bright white exterior shines all over the city and is like a beacon.
We didn’t have time to visit but we saw the Funicular that you can take up to the top. Its around EUR13 to enter including the Funicular ride (or EUR 7 for children). Don’t forget if you got the Salzburg Card I mentioned gives you a free admission!
Museum of Natural History
This was recommended to me by a few people! Unfortunately, the budget wouldn’t stretch and as we were only on a day trip time did not allow. The information I received (and researched) suggest you need to spend at least 3 hours there.
The Museum covers areas such as dinosaurs & space travel; science centre with lots of interactive activities; an aquarium and the a section on the human body. It sounded brilliant and right up the boys street – which we definitely would have visited if we had the time and budget!
The cost is EUR 8.50 per adult & EUR 6 per child. Again, the Salzburg card allows you free entry!
It’s definitely worth a visit of a couple of days and definitely worth looking into the cost of the Salzburg card.
In hindsight, I would have liked to have spent longer in the area. But this just leaves the door open for me to visit another time!
So long; farewell…. for now!