Saturday, 6 June 2009

Okay - NOW the Hills are Alive...

Day 14.

Last night no one was in our room but us! Hooray! I had breakfast (which wasn’t free – lame) and they always offer bread rolls. Sounds rubbish but they are always freshly baked and these were still warm... mmm... It’s sad how much I write about what I ate... Well there’s more to come today so get ready.

Today is our Sound of Music tour! We were very excited last night going to sleep – usually when Miranda and I are going to sleep we just chat and laugh really hard about random stuff. We worked out some really annoying laughs that we would do whilst on the tour. Should the guide make terrible puns we would break out our annoying laughs – it’s going to be amazing.

Our tour guide, Peter, is hilarious. He enunciates and makes dramatic pauses as he talks and it’s very amusing. He also yodels = First stereotype of Austria – check. Peter, we noted throughout the tour, was very obsessed with the bus driver – Verner. He would always make notes about the sights and then somehow relate it back to Verner. It was quite odd... like “that house over there is rather large, like Verner’s house”. We were waiting for him to say something like “that building on the right is the same colour as Verner’s boudoir”.

The tour started and he began telling us some of the history of Salzburg and that the city was founded in around the 6th century. He was also telling us of some Archbishop in history who liked to play tricks on his people. He commissioned some chairs to be made with little holes on the seat where hoses were connected. His chair had a dial which he could turn so that the water would spray peoples’ pants. First he would get them drunk and then spray their pants so they would worry that they had wet themselves. The best part was in this time the guests could not stand up unless the Archbishop did! I thought that was pretty funny.
He also was telling us that everyone in the world loves the film but the people of Salzburg – don’t. This is because there was a film made about Maria Von Trapp’s life that wasn’t a musical and the “Sound of Music” changed events which upset the Austrians. Also they didn’t translate the film into German until about 11 years ago!

Oh – here is a picture of our tour bus. Peter said the picture of Julia Andrews singing looks like she’s sneezing so Miranda and I thought we would join in on the fun.

I’m glad we did this tour today because it was FREEZING. It’s easily the coldest day we’ve had and it felt like England months and months ago. Getting off the bus to see the sights was a little bothersome as the bus was nice and warm. Looking at the variety of people on the bus – young, old, very old and all different nationalities – it’s clear that war wouldn’t occur if everyone watched “Sound of Music”. So this bus took us to see where different scenes in the movie were filmed. First stop was the back of the Von Trapp house – they did use two different houses – well this one was the back. This is the Leopold Crown Palace.

Next stop was the glass gazebo which a couple of very important scenes happen in. First, the glass gazebo was originally near the first stop – in those gardens – but the people who owned the house got sick of crazy fans jumping the fence and invading their garden to see it. So they relocated it to where it is now. You can’t go inside it anymore because some 80 year old tried to jump from bench to bench, like they do in the film, and broke her hip. But here it is. And it’s a lot smaller than you would think. That’s because this one was only used when they needed to film outside the gazebo. They had a bigger one made on a film set back in America for the inside scenes. Miranda said that during the filming of the “I am 16 going on 17” song the girl who played Leisel put her foot through the glass and if you look closely you can see a bandage around her ankle. While we were looking at the glass gazebo Peter came up to us and was chatting to us about the film when he suddenly asked us if we were ready to be married and have kids! He said “the longer you wait the dumber the children get”. Wow. What the heck.

Back on the bus and this time we set off to have a look at the Austrian countryside (which I was most excited about). While we were driving we could buy drinks from their mini-bar which included a random Austrian soft drink called “Almdudler”. It’s delicious. We tried one just to say that we did but it was so yummy! It’s like ginger beer mixed with apple juice and very tasty. We even made up a jingle for it that goes “Almdudler... the dudler that alms!” Catchy. We got off and had a look at one of the many lakes in the area. It’s so beautiful! Good to see the Alps again even if they are partially obscured by clouds.

Peter was telling us that he had a girl who was 19 on his tour a couple of months ago who was crying. He asked her why and she said because her life ambition was to go on this tour because she watched “Sound of Music” twice a day since she was five. What a nutcase! That’s six hours out of your life everyday! Holy smokes. He also told us that the real Maria Von Trapp died of a cheese overdose. I kid you not. Apparently, all she would eat was cheese and because she never got any roughage her stomach pretty much folded in half and she got gangrene! Miranda then said to me “Ahh Maria Von Trapp... she died as she lived – eating cheese”.

We got off the bus in this little town called Monsee (Moon Lake) where we could see the church that Maria, in the film, gets married in. It was pretty cool. Even more cool was the fact that there were loads of townsfolk in LEDERHOSEN. 2nd Austrian stereotype – check.

Here comes stereotype number three – after the church we went and had apple strudel at this little restaurant – check. It was so delicious! It had vanilla custard type stuff and it was really tasty. It was such a cute little place with little chandeliers and loads of various pastries to choose from. It was a cute town altogether – look at the colours of the houses. Very darling.
Back on the bus and we are almost done with the tour – darn this bus lark is so good. They put on the soundtrack from the film and people started singing along. Peter said we should given that “we’d never see these people again anyway”. Fair enough. He then started talking about the Edelweiss flower. He said that the flower only grows on high peaks way up in the mountains. When a young man wants to court a young woman in Austria he would give her an Edelweiss flower to prove his love to her. The population of Salzburg is only 150 000 and this is why... haha not really. Peter also said that they use to give out Edelweiss seeds to the people on the bus as a gift but Australians kept getting arrested going through customs when coming home! How true! Man we are so crazy about all that – not looking forward to going home. We finished our tour and Peter told said goodbye or rather “I hope you both find rich husbands” – weird.

We continued the tour of Salzburg and went to the Mirrabella Gardens where more of the movie was filmed – see if you can guess the scene.
Then we wandered about the town of Salzburg and it’s so lovely! Stone houses and footpaths, under crofts – it’s just really sweet. I’d like to go back to Salzburg some day and see more. We went to Mozart’s birthplace – I saw his wig and violin – I was happy. It was a pretty cool place but the last three rooms of the museum where SO WEIRD. There were no signs so we figured that the rooms must have been representations of his operas? Neither of us really know the plotlines of his operas so... it was weird. Maybe YOU know the answer. There was one room with a piano, a cardboard cut of a guy with a gun and a cardboard dog... Anyone? The next room was completely upside down – all the paintings, lights etc. The final room had dresses looking like they were going out a doorway and the room had his letters all over the walls. Anyone? Are you as confused as we were? It was odd.

After confusing land we went to a restaurant for lunch called Zum Mohren which was like a dungeon because it was all underground... It said on the menu that Mozart and Handel dined here and that the main wall dates back to the 13th century. Wowee. Several calls of “Wenceslas” later we left and kept exploring. It started peeing down with rain so we sought dryness in this huge church. I’m not sure which church it was but it was really awesome. It had all these dark black outlines around the carvings and looked very Tim Burton. Obviously, everyone had the same idea as us because the church was pretty full. We sat under the awning outside and ate our – giant pretzels that we bought! Yes! Giant soft pretzel – which was pretty much a big donut... but we were happy. It was so big though that neither of us wanted to finish it but we felt obligated. Then we waddled back to the hostel for some internet and sleep.

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