My parents came to visit us here in the Vaterland. I always try to plan trips when people visit us because coming to Europe and sitting on my couch is a waste. So I planned a couple trips for the two weeks mom and dad were here. The first trip was to Salzburg, Austria. My mom loves “The Sound of Music” and always said she wanted to see those scenes in real life.
I wanted to make sure this trip was special and memorable, so I did research. And then some more research. I found out you could stay at Leopoldskron, the outside was used for some of the garden scenes and some of the sets were designed after some of the rooms. I figured it couldn’t get anymore special than that. Plus, they offered a 4 hour bus tour with a reservation. I jumped on that and made a reservation for 2 nights.
The rooms weren’t extra special, they were clean and comfortable, but not awe-inspiring. The price that was paid wasn’t for a gold plated room, it was for the views, the tour, and to be able to say you stayed at the palace they filmed at.
The first night we just walked around the grounds and took in the amazing views and architecture. I found an old typewriter in the library that I just could not get enough of, I wanted to take it home. Instead I took an obscene amount of pictures of it. Anyway, after we’d had our fill of the palace, we decided we were hungry. Here’s a tip: make a reservation for dinner. You’d think I would have learned this after 3 years, but I haven’t. Although, to be fair, the fact that it was Easter Monday might have had something to do with the inability to find a restaurant without an hour and a half wait.
The next morning, we got up early because we didn’t want to wait for the afternoon tour. The hotel offered transportation to the bus tour. Take note they don’t offer transportation back to the hotel when the tour is over and it’s a long walk. I’d hurt myself, so my amazing hubby ran back to get the car and he said it was difficult. I suggest making arrangements or getting a taxi or something like that.
The tour itself was so much fun and didn’t have too much walking for people that have issues. We saw the hotel Julie Andrews stayed at, the bridge the children and Maria ran across in ‘Do re mi’, the first stop was at Schloss Leopoldskron, but across the lake to get a wider view. That’s where Maria and the children were in the boat and fell into the water and where the Captain scolded everyone. It was also where the children lied about picking blueberries after trying to see Maria at the convent.
Next we went to the gardens where the gazebo scenes were done. We had a quick stop by the alley where Julie Andrews sang ‘I have confidence in me’, then we drove by the village where the real Captain Von Trapp and Maria were married. Our main stop was at the church where the wedding scene had been filmed. It was an amazing cathedral, even more amazing in person than the movie. At that time we got a little free time to roam around the area, get some food, and gift shop. The little cafes in the area offered quick snacks and drinks and the Rathaus (like a city hall) had fun souvenirs.
After everyone piled back on the bus, we drove to the gardens where the Pegasus fountain and the tree tunnel from ‘Do re mi’ were filmed. The gardens were beautiful and a lovely place to stay and relax.
Here is a link to the bus tour without a reservation at Leopoldskron.
We decided to stay in Garmisch Partenkirchen on the way home, just for some fun because, why not? While there, we drove up to Neuschwanstein castle. That is the castle that Disney used as inspiration for the Cinderella castle. I would suggest reserving tickets in advance. Once you get there, you have a couple choices on how to get to the castle. If you’re up for the challenge, you can walk up the hill (or mountain, it’s more of a mountain). It’s about a 40 minute walk with a steep slope. It’s also free. Then there’s the romantic (and smelly) choice of taking a horse drawn carriage up. The horses can’t go all the way up, so they drop you off about a 10 minute walk up to the castle. The cost is 6 euros, I believe. The last option is to take a bus. It drops you off above the mountain with a 15 minute walk down to the castle. The cost for that is about 1,50 euro per person. They pack the bus like a can of sardines, though, so be prepared to have personal space compromised. The bus was the option we took and we walked down the hill afterward. Neuschwanstein castle was only about 1/3 completed, but what was completed is beautiful and worth the visit.
We’ve been to Garmisch Partenkirchen before, so we didn’t do any other site seeing, but there are many beautiful things to see in that area. Take the time to explore.
Land der Berge, Land am Strome (translated to Land of mountains, land by the river), Austrian National Anthem – Paula von Preradović