Destination Unknown Anniversary

20:37 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

Paul loves surprises. He loves surprises so much, he can't wait the surprise out. So rather than wait until my birthday or Christmas, he tells you about the surprise right away! I can't help but love his excitement about the whole thing.

For our anniversary, we decided to take a weekend trip to celebrate, since we have been in the process of moving countries for the last two years. And, to complicate the thing, we decided Paul would plan it all and it would be to a destination unknown to me!

I loved the idea at first - so much fun and suspense. Then the trip got closer, and I realised, I am not someone good to surprise. I asked lots of questions - what's the weather like, do I need my passport, is it a new country, will it be the beach, city or outdoors? Needless to say, Paul wasn't pleased, but kept the secret underwraps.

So finally, on our anniversary, I come home, having decided we are probably going to Cinque Terra, only to be told we'll be going to Salzburg!

I was excited. A new country and one thing I have been talking about since we moved to Europe - The Sound of Music Tour.

Our trip got off to a rough start after we missed our connecting flight to Salzburg, but we finally made it, just a few more hours later than expected. It was too late to go sightseeing, but we still wandered around the city centre a bit, finally stumbling upon a great little restaraunt for beer, goulash & dumplings.

Getreidegasse Street
 The next day was the main event - The Sound of Music! Paul had arranged this in advance, but rather than taking the typical bus tour, we took the bike tour. It was a great way to see the city, and very easy biking minus the one hill up to the abbey. It also meant we got to get off the bikes and get up closer than you would have in a bus.

Mirabell Gardens with Hohensalzburg Cathedral in the background

St. Peter's Cathedral - they weren't allowed to film SoM here
but the producers recreated this cemetery in the studio

It was interesting to learn about how the film was shot, and some odd ways of going about it. For example, they used the front of one house (by the tree lined lane), but the back of another for the river & patio shots. And some things, like the intro scene and tree climbing, weren't even filmed in Salzburg, but the Lake District, which is a bit of a drive away.

The front of the Sound of Music house. It is now a music school

And don't worry, I found a few opportunities to do a sing along.

That night, we enjoyed music of a more classical nature. We took the cable car up to Fortress for a classical music concert. Salzburg is proud to be the birthplace of Mozart, although Mozart much preferred Vienna to his hometown of Salzburg. The concert was in the state room at the top of the fortress and was wonderful - not just Mozart, but several of the classics. We wrapped the night up at a roof top bar overlooking the fortress and river.

The State Room before the orchestra came in

The city from the fortress at nightfall

We decided to spend it at Untersberg, yet another cable car ride up a mountain. This one was quite a bit steeper than I would have preferred, but gave great views of the city. Unfortunately, the mist was rolling in our way up, so we didn't get the best views of the day. The mountain is a popular place to hike and houses all types of interesting natural attractions, including ice caverns.

View from the top of Untersburg

The end of our time in Salzburg came too soon, but we grabbed one last beer and some local food before we had to head back to London.

What to see
- City Centre: it is a classic European city centre, and company enough you can walk.
- Mirabell Palace: this palaces best views are from it's beautifully sculpted gardens.
- Hohensalzburg: hike up, or follow our lead and take the cable car to the top. There may be tours during the day, which are your best bet to get a better history of this fortress. The views can't be beat.
- Hellbrunn Palace: we made it out here to see the Sound of Music pavillion, but didn't have time to go in to see the trick fountains, which are supposed to be quite fun.
- St. Peter's Cathedral: this church has an interesting and beautiful cemetery (which they recreated in the Sound of Music's hollywood set), and some crypts which we didn't make it to. Right by the entrance is Salzburg's oldest bakery.

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