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12 September 2014

the hills are alive!

we woke up on thursday to a glorious day. the sun was streaming through the curtains by the time we rolled out of bed around seven, and the view from the balcony that we'd totally fallen in love with the day before, was now a good four zillion times more impressive. there were mountains as far as the eye could see. the colours in the pastel-toned buildings were brighter, more charming, and the city of salzburg was so much prettier than we'd given her credit for the day we'd arrived.

we showered and readied ourselves for our first big adventure; the sound of music tour! we were picked up from the hotel around nine, and taken to the meeting point where we boarded a massive coach, full of like minded von trapp fans. our guide for the day was peter, and he was hilarious right off the bat. it was obvious he was passionate about not only the sound of music, but also salzburg, because he didn't stop talking about the city, it's history and heitage, the entire time. we were instantly at ease, and he chatted with us individually throughout the tour as well, and was... a bit creepy, later on.

first stop was leopoldskron palace, the gorgeous lakeside manor where the scene where all the kids fall into the river in their curtain clothes, and gretel almost drowns (true story!). the palace was used for exterior shots only, and we weren't able to get any closer than across the river as the building is used still for conferences and other boring non-musical requirements. totes annoying!

sidenote: that pointy looking mountain (not the one behind the palace) is the untersberg; the one maria is singing 'the hills are alive' on at the start of the film. she's on top of that mountain that takes three hours to scale on foot. and she hears the bells ringing in the abbey, in salzburg, and grabs her gear and runs down from that mountain to the abbey in time for mass............... oh, hollywood. stop it.

we were back on the bus after about five minutes - it was pretty clear peter ran a tight ship! our next stop was a short drive from the palace; the hellbrunn palace gardens and... gazebo! there, peter explained how the gazebo had needed to be moved from the grounds of the palace we'd just been at because of all the tourists clambering over fences and such trying to get into it on the private property, and how the government wanted to bin it!

thank god for tourists keeping the economy going, and whoever's decision it was to move it somewhere more easily accessible by them. except, massive shout out to the eighty year old lady who broke her hip leaping from one bench to the other trying to recreate the scenes! she's the reason it's now lockedl this is why we can't have nice things! the geriatrics are ruining it for everyone!

well, no sooner had he stopped talking had i started twirling, in the mud, outside of the gazebo as i clearly wasn't getting into it. it didn't take long for the rest to join in.... ha. we were in the grounds for about another ten minutes or so, before we reboarded the bus - this time, stocked with local biers and bubbles, and off we went! our next stop was an hour away, so pass the time and horrible scenery, peter played the soundtrack and we all had a wee sing-a-long.... i died, of pure happiness.

the next stop was the village of mondsee in the mountains (in the mountains!), to check out basilika mondsee, where they filmed the interior shots of the von trapp wedding. we all know maria and the captain  really married in the abbey with mother superior's blessing, but the actual abbey is still a fully-functioning abbey, and they weren't able to get permission to film inside. so, an alternative was scouted! i think she's pretty adorable too.

becks and i have seen some stunning churches in our time - some of the grandest in the world no doubt, but this wee austrian chapel had all the makings of a really sweet and romantic hideaway. it was so unassuming and twee, and to get into it you had to go through the gift shop... where they sold holy water for a donation, and von trapp memorabilia. i mean, this village clearly thrives on the comings and goings of the tourists who're there for the church, so i suppose it's no wonder it's so well... stocked. and well kept.

that was something we noticed everywhere we went, right through salzburg; everything is so well kept. so clean. so pristine. they take a massive amount of pride from their city being a beautiful destination, and...well, rightly so. everything we encountered was just breathtaking.

we were given an hour's free time in mondsee, and encouraged by peter to see and do as much as we could. he pointed out the best apfelstrudel in town, where to buy the best linens, and where you can buy exquisite cuckoo clocks. becks and i weren't bothered about any of that though, no. we were all about one thing; sausage and bier! we headed across from the church to cafe braun for one of each, and sat and basked in the sun, and the bloomin' gorgeous surroundings we'd managed to find ourselves in... honestly, how does this place actually exist?

we were pushing it for time, and so made our way back toward the bus; we had one more thing we needed to do before we left mondsee, and didn't want to miss the chance to... flail on a mountaintop! ok, technically, not a mountain top per say, but it was way, way, way above sea level, and we were looking down on other mountains, so that has to count for something, right? i mean, it was closest we were going to get without climbing up untersberg, which we just didn't have time for!

omg, becks' flailing picture was the highlight of our coach ride back to salzburg - that's some serious twirling she's got going on! she's so poised! me, i spun and spun and spun, and all the pictures that worked out just looked like me thanking the stars above for being on that mountain. i though that rather apt, so there you go. my whole life was complete at this point. complete.

from mondsee, we travelled back to salzburg, again to the sounds of the rogers and hammerstein sountrack playing along for company. the bus dropped us back at mirrabell gardens where we'd been the night before, but in the bright blue light of day, it was really something else. we all took turns taking photos in the gates of the grounds (a'la 'do-re-mi' again!), around the fountains, and bopping the heads of the ugly statues in the grounds like the kids do in the song... ha. it was maniacal. i loved it.

that tour cost us about thirty quid i reckon. i can't remember, because becks did all the planning, but i do recall seeing in the hotel literature that you can get a discount and get the tour for about sixteen euro. but, and i will say but, it only runs twice a day, and books weeks in advance. i'm glad we paid in advance and maybe double the price, because it meant we definitely got to go. i would be gutted if we had just winged it and missed out. so, there's my two cents, for what it's worth,

from there we walked into the new town, headed for the fortress. there's a funicular that takes you up the side of the steep cliff an into the grounds, and it's about ten euros to get up and back, and gives you entrance to all the museums in the fortress. we weren't bothered about museums, not after that tour! we were keen to check out the view from the highest point in salzburg, and soak all the city's beauty in at once. so we did.

and bier. there's always bier. just when you think there's no bier -- oh look! there it is! you're welcome. it took about seventy five hours to be served on the roof of the fortress, and certainly not through lack of trying. we asked probably... four times, if we could order - we only wanted drinks, "someone will be right with you"... oh, right, thanks... nevermind, i'll just sit and stare at this awful view a bit longer then.

seriously, it was roasting up on that roof, and we sat there for a good hour or so. my forehead is still peeling. it was a gorgeous day, about twenty five degrees i reckon. this day couldn't have gone better if i'd planned it myself (kidding, i would have done a terrible job. becks really did an incredible job. i mean, she can't claim the weather sitch, but everything else was her). i really do love that bish.

after our sunny afternoon atop an austrian fortress, we made our way back through the cobbled streets of the new town, making our way to the one other thing we were certain we wanted to see for ourselves since learning about it that morning thanks to peter; the bier hall, of course! it took us a wee while to locate it as we were going off some sketchy directions from earlier in the day (pre bier and sound of music), and the help of a sketchy map that has seen better days. we found it though, eventually, and it just so happened that so did one bazillion other people... it were busy!

apparently there was some austrian festival being held in the bier garden, and as we arrived the traditional band were just shutting up shop for the day. boo! we had a wander in the grounds and checked out the festivities, before deciding that it was definitely time to eat (and drink more bier). of the selection of meats (seriously, not a lot else happening in austria, just meat everywhere) were incredible, and rather than settle for another sausage or schnitzel, i upped my game and opted for pork ribs and baked potato. ermergerrd. the ribs were like eating heaven! pure heaven! (you might remember i decided to give up red meat. well. thankfully pork in all its kinds is considered white meat. it was really my only option)

full of meet and booze, we retired to our room, exhausted. it was such a full on day - we were up with the sparrows and still out with the owls, and all of the other bird cliches you can think of. this was our first full day in salzburg, and it couldn't have been more perfect. i could have died perfectly happy that night; i managed to tick my number one bucket list item off, and with my best friend in tow.

and all of the beer, let's not forget the beer.

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  1. Ahhhhhhhhh here it is ... THEEEEEEE blog post of the year, the one I've been waiting for :p
    Just seeing those first few photos made me feel so so happy :) You have no idea how long I've been wanting to do the Sound of Music tour!

  2. Sorry .... my laptop is being stupid so I've had to carry on in a separate box .. ah well!

    So glad you got to see the gazebo, I can't believe you can't go in and leap around on the benches though :( I bet you were gutted!
    I absolutely loved this post, thanks so much for sharing .. I want to go even more now :)
    Chloe x

  3. FLAIL LYFE. Most excellent recap. Let's go back naowww.

  4. This looked fantastic, I couldn't help but started singing the sound of music, haha. Love the unicorn statue, yesss!! Am glad you enjoyed yourself, gorgeous buildings too :) xx

  5. The unicorn photo is the best ever!! I'm not a fan of the sound of music but you've made me want to go. x

  6. This made me really want to watch the movie again! Beautiful pics Erica :)


    Water Painted Dreams xo

  7. This post got me so excited for you! It sounds like you had the most amazing of times! I'm super duper jealous. I used to love the Sound Of Music as a child, I also once got to play one of the Von Trapp children when I was about 8 in one of my schools drama productions, I can't remember who I played but I did get to sing two songs out of it infront of half my town! Haha.
    Kloe xx

  8. Oh my God, this is amazing! I love the Sound of Music and I've always wanted to visit Salzburg. I'm so jealous!

  9. Your trip looks amazing and makes me so excited for my trip to Salzburg next year. It cannot come soon enough! Also I love that the Sound of Music looks like it'll live up to my crazy expectations! Fi x

  10. Ohhh I am so jealous, I love the sound of music!

    Maria xxx

  11. SUCH amazing photos, even if you didn't get to play in the gazebo :(


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