Let me confess. I'm not a Catholic, not much fan of musicals and yet, I love The Sound of Music. I guess we all love the movie. Saying this, I personally slipped a (side) trip to Salzburg — setting of the famous 1965 musical film — during my visit to Vienna, Austria.
Luckily, I don’t have to climb every mountain, follow every rainbow or ford every stream. I just took a nostalgic 2 and a half train ride from the Westbahnhof station in Vienna to the "City of Mozart". I was literally playing The Sound of Music soundtrack on Spotify, sitting by the window and daydreaming like I'm about to meet the von Trapp family! Well, not quite but let's just say, something to that effect.
Arriving at the 150-year old main train station in Salzburg (Hauptbahnhof), I headed straight to the iconic 17th-century palace and gardens of Schloss Mirabell or Mirabell Palace — on foot. The iconic song "Do-Re-Mi" of The Sound of Music movie was filmed here in the Mirabell Palace Gardens in Salzburg. I quickly recognized the Pegasus Fountain where the von Trapp children danced around. This is also where terrace steps are located leading to a rose garden north of the fountain where Maria (played by Julie Andrews) belts out the final notes of the song. And the backdrop — amazing view of Hohensalzburg Fortress.
From Mirabell Gardens, I then crossed the Makartsteg Footbridge spanning the Salzach River which leads to the Old Town. Oh, that was a love lock bridge, by the way. Prepare to witness a sea of padlocks clasped to the bridge’s fence — to all who love and are loved.
Continue straight ahead and there's the Medieval Horse Bath locally called as Pferdeschwemme at the Herbert von Karajan Square. This was the scene where Maria and the children sang "My Favorite Things" while walking through the city.
At the Old town lies the 900-year old Hohensalzburg Fortress — the world-famous Salzburg silhouette. I did not hesitate and took the funicular (Festungsbahn) to experience what is known to be the largest fully preserved castle in Central Europe. Whilst I may have to pay for the entrance, it's definitely worth it. So, I took my time to really enjoy the moment and appreciate the most breathtaking view over Salzburg.
Down at the Old Town is a large square called Residenzplatz with the iconic 45-foot Horse Fountain. One would recognize the fountain where Maria splashes in while singing "I Have Confidence in Me". Then at the Mozartplatz Square, there’s the statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart right at the center of Old Town. Just close by, is the Mozart Footbridge.
Finally, I just couldn't miss the Nonnberg Convent Abbey (Stift Nonnberg) — setting of some of the great scenes of the movie including the nuns singing "Maria". It was said that the real-life Maria lived here. Truly, the hills of Salzburg are alive with the sound of music.