Cliff and I just returned from two weeks in Austria and the Czech Republic. Gosh, did I get some great bathroom doors. But first, the Sound of Music Bus!
“Are you sure you’re willing to go on the tour?” I asked when we got to Salzburg. “It’s a big old bus.”
Cliff is not wild about riding around on tour buses.
“Yes,” he said, “The movie is part of my childhood too.”
We ordered our tickets online, and then climbed on the bus at the appointed time.
Our guide, Klaus, wearing lederhosen, took a tongue in cheek tone, but he filled our ears with tidbits about the making of the film, the actors, and the actual von Trapp family.
First stop, the house where they filmed Maria and the children falling out of the boat wearing their play clothes made from curtains. Klaus told us that the little girl playing Gretl almost drowned during one of the takes.
Hollywood erected the gazebo next to the house, but the owners of the estate were overrun with sightseers once the movie was released. It now rests at another nearby estate. The gazebo was my favorite part of the tour.It’s beautiful. I would have loved to go inside, but the doors are locked. Klaus told us a woman broke her ankle leaping from bench to bench a while ago, and it’s been closed tight every since.
I kept wondering when the singing would start. I’d read this is the highlight of the bus ride. About halfway through the tour, Klaus said, “Time for the music!” Here he is leading us. I didn’t think our group did a very robust job with the songs, but Cliff said he definitely heard a lot of voices joining in.
I took this video as we moved past the gorgeous Austrian countryside:
Our final stop took us 45 minutes from Salzburg, to the site of Maria’s wedding. As a little girl, this was one of my favorite scenes.
When I stepped into the church, it didn’t remind me of the one Maria is married in at all. The aisle seemed short, and overall, the church seemed too small. I was so disappointed!
But then I remembered this altar the camera pans toward the end of the scene. I checked the details against a YouTube video that night in our hotel. This is it!
The church is located in the lovely town of Mondsee. We were given time to explore the town. We checked out the shops, and I bought Edelweiss soap for my friends.
For some reason Cliff, who never messes this stuff up, thought we had another half hour. We were in the midst of figuring out which cafe to visit for strudel when I asked him what time it was. “We have forty minutes left,” he said.
“Oh no we don’t,” I answered.
Yikes! We had five minutes to tear down a long path to the bus’s parking lot.
Just like Maria rushing back to the abbey, we made it with seconds to spare.
Throughout the tour, my mind kept going back to my girlhood. I remember my best friend Mari Spraigins telling me before I saw the movie that unlike Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews sported short blonde hair in The Sound of Music. (Mari saw the film first.) Soon my dad took our family. After that night, I remember wanting to BE Julie Andrews. Or one of the children. I’d even be willing to fall out of the boat.
But even though I’ve seen the gazebo where Liesl danced, I still wouldn’t want to kiss that creepy Rolf.