Monday, April 15, 2013

The Sound of Music bus tour

This is something that we did in Salzburg, Austria:

I can't think of when we've ever done something like this. We're not really organized tour kind of people, but we had a limited amount of time to be in the city and we knew this tour would be a good way to see a lot of things in a short time. Plus, we knew the kids would love it. Because, The Sound of Music.

Yes, this tour was based around the history of the movie (and peripherally, the history of the real story of) The Sound of Music. The bus drove us around Salzburg and took us to the locations where the movie was filmed. In the meantime, on the bus, a chipper British man explained some of the background story behind the movie and interesting trivia about it.

After a while, we headed into the countryside to see some lakes and a few of the more far-flung movie locations, like the church where Maria got married (in the movie):
On the 40-minute drive back to Salzburg from Mondsee (where the church is), the bus driver put on the movie soundtrack and the guide invited us all to sing along. Considering that the only people on the huge tour bus were our family, another American (?) family, and a small group of Filipino tourists who, strangely, didn't seem to be all that familiar with the movie...well, the singing left a lot to be desired. Magdalena had the most gusto of anyone, which was cute.

We really liked the tour, and the girls really enjoyed it, and we got to see a lot of Salzburg and the surrounding areas. Win/win/win. BUT. At times, I got a little weirded out that we were participating in a kind of pilgrimage to sites for a movie that, while based on a true story, was itself a work of fiction.

BUT. Then I got to thinking how even if The Sound of Music is technically just a movie, it was also a huge part of my life growing up. There was very, very little that the guide had to say (as far as plots and locations and lines and song trivia) that I didn't already know from about the age of six. So in a way, I was seeing sites and places that were meaningful and historical, just in a more personal way rather than for humankind at large, like I'm used to. Once I accepted that, the tour became a lot less meta and a lot more fun.

When we planned to go to Salzburg, I thought I would go there and really FEEL the Mozart-ness of the place, soak it in on every street and be able to readily imagine the music culture that existed there 200+ years ago. Instead, I felt the city on two other levels: The Sound of Music, and (to a lesser extent) my brother Blair, who spent time there as a missionary in the 1990s. Part of me is sad about that, sad about the fact that the only time I got my Mozart on was during the taking of this picture, and it lasted about as long as it will take you to look at it.

That's it. That's the house where Mozart was born, and that's where my Mozart-Salzburg began and ended.

That's ok, though. Really. We had a great time in Salzburg and who am I to complain on which "level" we had a great time? Focusing on Mozart would have meant that we wouldn't have been able to borrow the DVD of The Sound of Music from our hotel to watch in our room and witness this moment of Magdalena exclaiming that our curtains were just like theirs, and recreating this scene of Maria imagining how well the fabric will work as children's clothes:

So at least there's that.


Susanne said...

We went on this tour last March, only we went on a van instead of a bus. Our driver had an American mother, Austrian father (or it may have been the other way around), and had spent some time growing up in SC! Yes, we were surprised when he drawled, "How y'all doin'" for me and Andrew and asked about the Tar Heels. (That's when he revealed his few years in SC. I think his dad may have been military now that I think of it.) He said most Americans thought his accent was British, and he was so much fun!

We don't typically like tours either, but we saw this one and Samer (who isn't familiar with the movie) thought we should do it. Seeing the Austrian countryside sounded fantastic to me!

When we went back to Salzburg in the August, we went to these beautiful gardens that we somehow missed in March (lack of time probably and also March = not very many flowers blooming) and then I realized later that the "Do Re Mi" song was performed there when I was watching the movie again at home (like in November or something when it came on TV.) And we went in that same statue garden and took photos. I just hadn't watched the movie in a while and didn't make the connection while there. But it was still neat seeing the movie and realizing, "Hey, I've been there and it wasn't even during the official Sound of Music tour!"

I'm talking about the 4 minute mark here:

Anyway, good memories! I'm glad your kids enjoyed it, and I love thinking of everyone singing on the bus. :)

Susanne said...

Speaking of Mozart, I felt that more in Vienna since we toured his house which has been turned into a museum. Also, didn't they show his mom's house in St. Gilgen on the SoM tour?

Did you add a lock to the bridge over the Salzach River? We did the second time we went - just to say that we did it. It was fun going through town asking to borrow a marker. I made the mistake of asking for a "pen" and with my accent that's more like "pin" and the guy didn't know what I meant until I mimicked scribbling and he said, "oh, pen." times!

Liz Johnson said...

Ok, that is awesome. I hadn't seen the Sound of Music in FOREVER, and a few months ago I babysat a 4 year-old girl who was totally into it, and so we watched it together. I forgot how awesome that movie is! I've been trying to get my three boys interested, but alas... it hasn't happened yet.

All of this to say - I am jealous of your tour!


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