Word to the wise: buy a Bayern ticket -unlimited day travel- if you will be traveling from anywhere in Bavaria to Salzburg. The Austrian town is so close to the border that the German rail system considers it part of Bavaria, which will save you a lot of money if you depart after 9:30am. Since the ticket is good for the entire day, several people at the train station in Salzburg approached me and asked to borrow my Bayern ticket to return to Germany!
Salzburg. How has it taken me this long to visit? It’s such a perfect and quaint little city. I fell in love with it the second I arrived. After a rest in my hotel, I spent the first night exploring the town.
These are a few of my favorite things:
2. Bike riding
4. The Sound of Music. OK, it’s not technically on my favorites list, but I do love this movie. I can recite whole sections of it by heart. When the movie was shown on TV every year on a Saturday night as I was growing up, I would stay up as late as I could to watch it and then sob when little Gretl had to go to sleep. I have been known to claim that Christopher Plummer’s Georg von Trapp is my ideal man. I once sang “The Lonely Goatherd” at a karaoke bar in South Korea. I’m a fan.
So when I heard of something called Fraulein Maria’s Sound of Music Bike Tour in Salzburg, my inner geek nearly lost bladder control in my excitement to book a spot. It made for one of the best days of my trip thus far.
We met near the Mirabellplatz gardens in the morning. There was a forecast for rain in the afternoon, but we were fortunate enough to have a beautiful sunny morning for our tour. I was also lucky that there were several other movie geeks on the tour. When I would take what might otherwise be an embarrassing tourist photo during the tour, it was always followed by some relieved person saying, “Oh thank God you wanted to do that, too!” and then taking the same shot :). It was a fantastic mix of Salzburg history, movie anecdotes, current city culture, and the nearby natural environment. And I swear that I was only singing “The Lonely Goatherd” in my head as I sped along. (OK, maybe just a little yodel here and there).
Our tour guide, Claudio, was fantastic and even suggested an idea for a video for anyone interested. So of course I accepted.
CAUTION: the video you are about to watch contains gratuitous dorkiness. It may not be suited for cool people or agoraphobics. Viewer discretion advised.
[My apologies for being anticlimactic and not being able to post this video at this time. I have been having video issues again with this site but was delaying any further posts until the problem could be fixed. But I’m tired of waiting! Please try to visit this post again in the future, and I will do my best to provide the aforementioned cheese :), ]
After the tour, I had arranged to meet Peter, my train buddy, for lunch and coffee at one of his favorite places near the river. I got to watch some of his video footage of a recent trip he had taken to Mongolia. We then took an elevator ride up the side of one of the cliffs and leisurely made our way back down to the city. Thank you, Peter: it’s always nice to get a local’s perspective!
That evening, I went to see a show at the Salzburger Marionettentheater. Puppet shows are not typically a “must-see” for me, especially in a town that I would only be visiting for one full day, but this was highly recommended. The calendar showed that the evening’s performance would be Die Fledermaus, but I was happy to find when I arrived at the theater that the show had been changed to Die Zauberflöte, or The Magic Flute by Mr. Mozart himself. I have to admit, it was incredible. I was amazed at how fluidly the puppets moved. It was difficult to perceive how large they were due to the setup of the stage, so within minutes I began to feel as if I were watching life-size marionettes. (I was also getting major flashbacks to Being John Malkovich). What a shock came at the end when the proscenium lifted, showing the puppeteers above the stage and their puppets only about two feet tall!
Before returning to my hotel, I stopped for a drink at a floating bar that was docked along the river. It was one of those moments where every inch of me felt gratitude for being able to enjoy a day like this.