My love for The Sound of Music, I now think, is ridiculous. I believe I was only 6 when I first saw the movie. And then Dad got me a cassette that I played in my sing-along recorder. That was the beginning of my life-long addiction to the classic.
Here’s what you need to know about travelling to Salzburg. It is do-able in a day. I don’t recommend staying there unless you are planning to travel further on to Vienna or wherever. A day trip from Munich will do just fine. In fact my Dad did it back in 2002 and inspired me to go for it now. The second thing you need to know if you are a SoM fan is this : do not book a bus tour. You will be disappointed. I booked my tickets to Salzburg before I applied for my visa. The return ticket on the DB website cost me €38,00. There are regular trains leaving from Munich Hbf and the platform will indicate exactly where the coaches will stop. You do not need to reserve a seat when you book your tickets. Like our Indian airlines this costs additional charges. Instead, when you board the train, look for seats without any “reserved” marking. There will be tons of those and you can pick anyone.
The 8:18 train from Munich reached Salzburg at 9:59. The Salzburg Hbf is beautiful. It reminded me a lot of Paris Nord – one of my favourite stations. There’s a nice waiting room and plenty of delis and cafes. Pick up a city map from the information counter near the entrance. Do not bother asking them any questions about where you want to go ; they will tell you they are not a tourist information centre ! They will however redirect you to one but there was no one there when I went. Exit the Bahnhof from the left and keep walking on Rainerstrasse. In ten minutes or so, you will see the Congress House and right after that is the Mirabell Garden. I enjoyed some delicious strawberries while sitting on a bench there. Climb up to the famous SoM gate from the Do-Re-Mi song. The sun was blinding when I got here. Do not judge my pictures.
Straight ahead from the Mirabell garden is the bridge over the river where Maria and the kids are shown just before the song. Cross it and you will reach the Altstadt or old city. The August market was set up when I got there. I bought a very pretty hat with a bow. Totally flaunting it now. Once you are on the other side, walk straight and then take a left. Even with basic map reading skills you should be able to find Mozarthaus. Keep walking on and you should find the famous Horse Fountain. Try not to sing “I have confidence in me”. Then smile shyly at people when you fail to stop yourself from doing so. I bought a superb painting of Mirabell garden here. While I was unsuccessfully trying to click some selfies with the stick, I met a group of German girls.mturns out one was the bride and the others her bridesmaids. They were doing a photo shoot so I offered to help. That and the fact that I spoke German was enough for instant friendship. Here are some pictures.
If you are facing the fountain, just behind it on the left is the way to St. Peter’s cemetery. Remember the scene with Rolf and Captain von Trapp? It was shot in the studio but this is what it was based on. Right next to it is also Frauenkirche. I do not recommend the Katakombs. Go to Paris for those. Please. Not here. You can take the lift and go up to the castle for the view. It was 35 degrees. After finishing two bottles of water, I just didn’t have the energy for it. The view atop is beautiful. Also the place where Maria gave words to the do-re-mi song. You can visit the abbey and rock riding school – the edelweiss performance at the end of th movie was shot here.
I love this blogpost here on the DIY SoM tour : http://nomoneywilltravel.com/2015/04/13/diy-sound-of-music-tour/
Oh also, just before you enter St. Peter’s cemetery you will see a giant chessboard drawn on the walk leading up to the gate of the cemetery. Entry is free. You can enjoy a nice meal here as well. I decided to go back to the station after this. Thoroughly exhausted, but madly in love with Salzburg!