The Hills are Alive in Salzburg, Austria
by Esther K. Choy
Flying for seven hours is not fun. Flying alone for seven hours on a red eye flight next to a snoring man, who is not my husband, almost makes me want to turn around and go home. But then, there is the thought of beautiful Salzburg and the Sound of Music Tour.
After spending a 60-hour workweek, I hastily pack my carry-on, jump on the Kennedy Expressway and make a mad dash to O’Hare for this long-awaited second honeymoon. My husband has been in Munich, Germany for the last week spending time with family and friends. From Munich, we plan to drive 90 minutes southeastward to trace the tracks of the von Trapp family in “The Sound of Music”.
“The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years!” As I sit on the airplane the voice of the inimitable Julia Andrews floats sweetly in my mind. Gratefully, this soundtrack is trumping over the sounds of my snoring seatmate.
In real life, Salzburg lives up to its Hollywood image and reveals a land rich in art, beauty, and history.
In the movie, “The Sound of Music,” Salzburg seems like a fairy tale world. Majestic, snowcapped mountains hover over a city of handsome cathedrals, regal castles and miles of jade green grass. Grand churches with onion-shaped steeples stand guard over the city like lighthouses on a jagged shoreline. Small villages surround the city in clusters of farmhouses with red, slanted roofs. Old cafes, pubs, and boutiques with hanging, metal signs line the narrow, stone-paved walkways of this sleepy town.
In real life, Salzburg lives up to its Hollywood image and reveals a land rich in art, beauty, and history. Roman Catholic missionaries founded Salzburg in 696 AD. It is divided into two main parts: the old town of Salzburg from its original founding year, and the new city, which was founded in 1415. For a thousand years, the Church ruled it until Napoleon assumed power. “Salz” means salt, and “berg” means fortress. The Fortresses of Hohensalzburg and Hohenwerfen were built in 1077 to protect its vast salt mines.
Salzburg runs at a slower pace than other cities I have visited. Initially, my husband and I were still running on “Chicago time” and found this to be irritating. But, we quickly adapted to “Salzburg time” and appreciated their refreshing sense of hospitality. BCB, which stands for bridges, churches, and beer, is a well-known abbreviation in Salzburg for domestic and international tourists alike.