Secrets of a Salzburg coffee house
To understand Salzburg, you have to understand its coffee house culture and the uniquely Austrian quality of "schmah".
As a child I didn’t like “The Sound of Music”. It was sentimental, I thought the scenes were just Hollywood backdrops and I didn’t see the point of the singing. But a trip to Salzburg completely changed my perspective.
At Mondsee’s cream and white church, outside Salzburg, I walk beside the beautiful lake. The church, which is known for its seven intricate wooden alters and icons carved by Meinrad Guggenbichler is where the Von Trapps were married.
The Press Conference was in the library of Schloss Leopoldskron, originally an Archbishop’s palace. Count Leopold Anton Eleutherius von Firmian, the builder of this famous rococo palace, loved it so much he had his heart buried in its chapel (traditionally archbiships are buried in Rome so that’s where the rest of him is).
It’s a wonderful place indeed. You can imagine Maria and the Baron taking cocktails on the terrace and dancing on the balcony as they did in the film. Debbie Turner who played Marta Von Trapp, says the shockingly cold water seemed to get colder every take and that Kym Karath (who played Gretl) couldn’t swim.
Shut your eyes on the Northern spur of Untersberg and you can almost hear Julie Andrews singing “The Hills are Alive”. The family’s escape looked great in the movie but it wouldn’t have worked, because the only thing in that direction was a major Nazi stronghold.
The Sound of Music Walking Trail takes me to the setting of the “Do-Re-Mi” picnic song. Hohenwerfen Castle and mountains are as beautiful as ever. Like many other film locations they remain in spectacular picture-perfect stasis.
I stop for a coffee and ask various locals what they think of the film. Most responses were similar: “We’re Salzburgers, we’re not interested!” But one lady admitted to having enjoyed the musical which has run in Salzburg since 2011.
At the Gala I sit by a family from Kuching. They’re here for the Gala and their four-year-old knows all the songs better than me. A Canadian friend is so excited that she drops her camera. It brings back memories of a simpler age. It’s the Grand Finale. Where better to sing Eidelweiss than the actual film location? I find I’m crying too.