The hills are alive with the sound of music! Salzburg -- the setting for the Sound of Music -- is an incredibly beautiful place. It is probably the most picturesque city I have been to yet. The Salzburg fortress sits atop a hill high above the city, the old town has been preserved (survived WWII bombs unscathed), and the small city has over 36 churches! It is really beautiful. You can see why the Sound of Music was filmed here. Of course, it is based on the true-life story of real Salzburg residents - Maria and Georg von Trapp. I took the half-day Sound of Music tour -- and it was really fun! Our guide was great, and told us many stories about both the filming of the movie and the true story of the family. One of the highlights was touring the lake district outside of Salzburg. It is absolutely beautiful. Rolling green hills filled with cows grazing, snow-capped mountains in the distance, beautiful lakes and classic Austrian farm houses.
Salzburg is a beautiful city to just wander around in. It seems that I walked all over the city several times over. The streets are so quaint, and there are a lot of squares in the old town. There are also several beautiful gardens. The town is really made for strolling or biking, and the riverbanks have wide promenades for both. The first day was a little rainy, but it was still beautiful to wander in the rain. My second day in Salzburg it was clear and sunny -- a perfect day for strolling.
I spent the next afternoon at the fortress. It is really beautiful and it dominates the Salzburg skyline. It was originally built over a thousand years ago to defend the city, and it was never attacked. It was interesting to imagine living in a fortress like this and all the different parts needed to make it work. Plus the view was amazing! The rolling green hills with the mountains behind them is just breathtaking!
Salzburg is known as a city of music -- and the most famous resident was Mozart. It seems like everywhere you turn someone is trying to make a buck off of Mozart. People dressed as Mozart plugging concerts, tours of his birthplace and his house, etc. I didn't make it to any concerts -- too little time here. I did manage to eat some "mozart chocolate." Not sure what made it Mozart's, but it was tasty!
One of the highlights of my time in Salzburg was the Augustiner Braustubl. It is an old-fashioned beer hall connected to a monastery. The beer was originally brewed by the monks and served to the locals. It was such a fun place! It was a huge open hall, filled with wooden tables and lots of locals greeting each other for a beer and dinner. You just grab a mug from the wall, pay for a beer, wash your mug yourself and head to the keg! The beer was delicious. There are also several small food stands in the hallway -- you walk up and serve yourself. After sitting and enjoying the scene for awhile, a group of Austrians invited me to join them. It was really fun. They were of all different ages and were entertaining a friend from India -- so they were all speaking English. I really enjoyed having a beer with them and talking about all sorts of things -- from beer to Obama to travel.