Growing up as Americans, we’ve all seen it, heard it, breathed it: The Sound of Music and the story of the von Trapp family. Now if you were to ask an Austrian if they’ve ever seen The Sound of Music, they’d probably roll their eyes or give you a confused look, replying “never heard of it”. The odd thing is that the American pop classic, based in the Austrian town of Salzburg, never made as much of a success in Austria as it did in the rest of the world.
Salzburg is an easy and fun day trip from Vienna. It takes about 3 hours to get there by car or train. Since my parents were in town, they rented a car, and we drove there ourselves. The road to Salzburg, itself, is full of green hills and flowing waters. My eyes were often glued to the windows, gaping at the road before me. Less than 3 hours later, we arrived in Salzburg and quickly found a parking spot for the day. Salzburg is small, so you do not need your car at all. I imagine that during the busier summer months, it would be a lot harder to find parking and you may want to opt for the train option if possible.
Like the American tourists we are, we booked a Sound of Music bus tour ahead of time. After exploring the town on our own for about an hour, we headed to the bus pick up point for our tour group. Let me confirm that the tour group consisted of 100% Americans and zero German speakers (except for the guide herself). We chose to go with Panorama tours, the recommended tour group on Trip Advisor.
Dressed in the traditional Austrian dress (Dirndl) and an almost eerily plastered smile on her face, our tour guide spoke, sang, and danced for nearly the entire 4 hours. The tour took us to many of the filiming sights which were just outside of Salzburg. The bus was a great way to get a tour of Salzburg and the areas surrounding it. We stopped at many scenic high points and sprawling lakes nestled between mountains. It was a beautiful day and the sun glistened off the water and beamed into the green mountain sides. You could also see the towering Alps, still sprinkled with snow. My favorite stop was at one look out point where you could watch the paragliders sailing through the air and landing and taking off one after another on the hill side nearby. There were at least 20 of them all around. I have never seen so many paragliders at once, not even in Malibu, and I could only imagine the view they would have from up there.
Overall, Salzburg and the tour were an amazing experience that despite how cliché it is, you HAVE to do. I liked the tour more so because it took us to places around Austria that I would not have seen if I had gone on a tour of just Salzburg. I loved being able to look over at my parents and the other parents on the bus and see how happy they were to be reliving their childhoods.
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<p>April is a junior at Harvard University studying Neurobiology and Astrophysics. When she is not in the lab or looking at the stars, she likes to force her friends to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack, get away to the beautiful beaches of Southern California, and plan spontaneous trips. April is studying in Vienna, Austria this spring to drink lots of coffee, learn some German, and finally learn how to Waltz.</p>