Despite crazy windy and rainy weather the night before, my friends and I hopped a train Saturday morning to go to Salzburg, Austria for the day. One of the awesome things about living in Munich is that we’re close to several countries. Austria is 2 hours away, Switzerland 4 hours away, and Italy only a few more hours than that. I love living in Europe because of the freedom I have to hop a train and pop up in another country!
Better than The Sound of Music
Anyways, we had an awesome day! After a hilarious train ride with my three fellow travelers, we made our way up to Hohensalzburg Castle on a “mountain” in the center of Salzburg. [Started in 1077 and is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe!] We climbed up a ba-jillion steps (yes, that’s a number) to get near the top, refused to pay an overpriced fee to enter, so hopped on an outer wall and got some pictures of the most incredible view of Salzburg. It was absolutely fantastic to see what I’ve seen my whole life watching Sound of Music with my family! Oh…and so you know, it’s WAY better in real life! I will NEVER watch that movie the same way again!
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
We made our way around the fortress to Nonberg Abbey (better known as Maria’s Abbey) that is located just behind. I had one of the most surreal moments while I was there. We made our way into the main chapel area that was simple and dark (very little lighting) but beautiful. Suddenly, I saw nuns and they were singing. It was a sacred and spiritual moment. I had goosebumps–can’t get more European than that!
We made our way around looking for the courtyard where the nuns sing, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” and the Nazi chasing scene) but eventually gave up. BUT the grounds were incredible, we met 2 nuns (they are adorable!), and we took photos at the gates where the children were ringing for Maria in the movie.
We made our way down, following the same path in Do Re Me where Maria says, “Now children…” and made our way down to the main square where the children dance in front of the fountains with the horses (or maybe it’s where Maria dances on “I have confidence?”) Now I can’t wait to watch the movie again and see! 🙂 We also went to the cemetery where the Von Trapps hid from Rolf and saw the gated tomb memorials.
Serving Customers Since 1501
At this point it really started to rain so we ran to see the outside of a brothel that has been running since 1501–not sure why that was on the tour list, but it was an interesting experience lol 🙂 We didn’t go in, of course, but we certainly got pictures in front with the old sign and red lights in cute lanterns outside…”avoid the appearance of evil”? Hmmmm… 😉
Climbing Through the Catacombs
We climbed through the catacombs that are carved out of the rock cliff under the castle and above the cathedrals. The best part for me though, was standing up on a ledge when it turned 12 o’clock because EVERY church bell went off—one of the most electrifying experiences of my life! I was giddy because the churches are surrounding the catacombs so it makes the caves vibrate with every toll.
“Good Feeling Gone”
We made our way to another cathedral where, again, we had perfect timing and arrived right as a men’s choir was performing. We also went to Salzburg Cathedral–the dome was so tall and huge, my mind couldn’t fathom the height. I just sat on a prayer bench and thought about all the work BY HAND it took to build it—it was beyond my understanding. Such dedication by the believers!
We decided to go down in the catacombs beneath the cathedral which were normal tombs. However, we entered a certain stone room that was dark with light projections casting shadows of skulls and skeletons. While that was creepy enough, there was a small spinning projection of a skeleton circling around the dark interior of the room. I looked at my friends faces. Everyone had the classic traveler “This is interesting.” look on their faces, but without mentioning it, we left pretty quickly. Once we left the cathedral, we had to laugh because all of us were pretty spooked. Definitely one of the top most creepy experiences of my life and all I could do is quote Dory: “Good feeling gone!”
Recognize these places?
Before going home we made our way to the garden where they did the final “Do-So-Do!” finale on the steps and where Gretel taps the gnome statue and where Capt Von Trapp and Maria dance. The best part for me? I got to stand in the green tunnel of vines where the boys race Maria–it was another beautiful and surreal moment and the perfect ending to our day! :)
Our day in Salzburg was incredible and worth every cent of our 8 Euros! 🙂 I’m so lucky to live here in Germany and have these experiences. I am determined to convince people that there really ARE so many cheap ways to travel the world. The ONLY real limitation is whether we’re willing to work to find a way to do it.
Life is just oh-so-good!