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Is it possible to DIY the "Sound of Music" tour?

Is it possible to DIY the "Sound of Music" tour?

Jun 21st, 2007, 05:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I'm here again.....My thoughts are still the same wonderful thoughts about beautiful Salzburg~~~~~~~
HOWEVER, you might lean toward listening to the review by TexasAggie who just took the tour a few weeks ago.
Ours was 32 yrs. ago and things DO change sometimes!

Gig em !!!!
mari5 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 03:44 AM
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karameli, we didn't take any of the tours offered but I think that is a fairly crucial point: there are several companies that offer it. Some may be better at the job than others.

For such companies as I researched, none of them convinced me that they would effectively convey how dramatic films are made in general, let alone a specific film. (This, for me, is what makes a good tour: not how many or even what places are visited, but how well the guides can tell a story about the theme of interest.) So we decided to make do with what we had managed to glean from various 'Making of...' documentaries and what we could find out from the web.

On our own, we did chance upon the graveyard of St. Peter's church in Salzburg, easily accessible on foot. This is the setting of the scene in which the the von Trapp family hides from their pursuers, and where Rolf betrays his former girlfriend. The filmmaker's sleight of hand is really evident here - I'll not spoil it for you as I'm sure you'll be able to grasp the 'tricks' for yourselves, and you'll soon be there.

If you're interested in film and heading to Vienna while in Austria, there's a fantastic website, a real labour of love, by some individuals who are truly dedicated fans of 'The Third Man.' Although sightseeing tours with a theme of The Third Man are offered in Vienna, I can't believe they are more thorough than this site, in which the website authors have painstakingly recorded stills from the film, along with descriptions of where in the city those scenes were made and how the modern-day city has changed in the interim. I found, to my surprise, that this film has a real cult following among Viennese cinemaphiles.


Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 04:15 AM
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Hello Salzburg fans! We just returned from 2 glorious weeks...stayed a bit outside St Gilgen at Furberg on the lake. While I am NOT a city person (didn't care for Munich) and I have no burning desire to return to most cities, I absolutely loved Salzburg. If I were you, I'd take the train from Munich and stay overnight in Salzburg.That way, you can take the easy 45 minute bus ride (bus 150) which runs from the bus station to Fuschl, St Gilgen, Strobl, Bad Ischl. I much prefer St Gilgen over St Wolfgang. You can walk around the beautiful lake and town. To get a great view, take the cable car up the Zwolferhorn mountain. You catch that right across from the bus station in St Gilgen. There are many good restaurants in town, but take the water ferry over to Gasthof Furberg for the best and freshest lake trout, or a number of other goodies. Fabulous food and atmosphere. We took an English tour of old town Salzburg...not sure if you are supposed to pay, we just stepped in with the walking group in front of Mirabell Castle and nobody said anything, lol. It's easier that way, you see the gardens, St Peter's, the cemetary (that scene was not filmed there, the graveyard was a Hollywood set!) both of Mozart's house, and you get lots of interesting facts. When the tour ends, you can go back to see other things in detail. We took the tram up to the castle which was cool. We also had a memorable lunch at Stifskellar St Peter's...around since the year 500 and it was not only beautiful, but yummy. Another great time was going down to the Augustine monastery and having a few in the massive beer garden. I didn't see the gazebo, but saw the church in Mondsee. That was okay...I much preferred St peter's where Mozart was baptized and where he played the organ! What a place! Lookout for upcoming trip report...
LLindaC is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Karameli, To answer your question, most of the sites on the SoM tour can be reached on your own, but Salzburg offers so much more and is definitely worth a couple of days.

I did the SOM tour on my own a few years ago and it was very easy to reach most of the sites by foot or public transportation. Heilbrunn and Leopoldskron are each a short bus ride from town. Mirabell Gardens and the Abbey (which no one has mentioned) are right in town and can be reached on foot.
I had a car in the lake area and drove to Mondsee where the church is located. After turning in the car in Salzburg I saw the other sites by public bus and on foot.

It's true that Leopoldskron is closed to the public - there are "no trespassing" signs in German - but the gate was open and I decided to chance it. I walked around the grounds to the lake and took pictures of the house and gardens. There were some people sitting on the terrace but no one stopped me. The other side of the small lake is public and you can get good views of the house from the surrounding park. There are also some outdoor restaurants by the lake.

There is a path right outside the Leopoldskron gates that leads back to town and goes right to the Abbey, an easy and pleasant walk. The Abbey is definitely worth a visit. It can also be reached from the other direction and is just a short walk up the road from town.
I also agree that a tour of Heilbrunn Castle is worth it. You will also have the opportunity to walk around on your own if you wish. A gazebo, which purports to be "THE" gazebo???, is on the grounds.
Since you have only one day I would suggest Heillbrunn, a walk up to the abbey (lovely views of the city), and definitely visit the fortress overlooking Salzburg. If you have time, a visit to one of Mozart's homes (there are two in Salzburg) is also interesting. Mirabell Gardens were pleasant, but not exceptional IMO.
panecott is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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Gee, no kiddin', LLindaC, the film shows the 'graveyard' in an obviously indoor location, and St. Peter's cemetery is...

But, there is still something most intersting to notice in the cemetery to compare to the film. And now I am gonna zip up.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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According to the commentary by the producer (David Weiss, I think), which you can hear on the latest Sound of Music DVD, none of the filming was actually done at Leopoldskron. It was privately owned and not available for the filming. They built a duplicate of the lakeside patio at another point on the lake, complete with a duplicate gezebo, and used it for the filming. When you see the scenes of Captain Von Trapp talking to Maria in front of the lake, the scenes of him, with "their" house in the background, were filmed at the house, miles away, nowhere near any lake. The scenes of her, with the lake in the background, were filmed at the temporary set on the lake.

And the gezebo, that you can see in the distance. That is not the gezebo from the film. None of the inside shots were filmed there. All of the shots were filmed in a sound stage in Hollywood, where they could control the weather, the lighting, the rain, the lightning. They didn't leave that to nature.

On your own, you can see many of the scenes from the movie - the Mirabell Gardens - the Pegasus statue, the trolls, the arbor. You can stoll to the old town and see the square where the big Nazi flag was draped from the Rathaus. You can go up the incline to the fortress. We walked down from the fortress and around the hill to the monastary.

Before you waste any money on a SOM tour, get the DVD and find out the truth about what you will be seeing. Then tour the town on your ownm
Larryincolorado is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 02:57 AM
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What you want out of a tour (says Sue, speaking through muffled, zipped-up mouth)is up to you, of course. Rather like what one wants out of a movie: does one wish mainly for a distraction or for enlightenment? (I think people have more fun if they think about these things for themselves, so will once again zip up mouth.) But before I forget yet again (which I have already managed to do for two posts)


..which might help a bit with the enlightenment end. Either way, one can have a lot of fun strolling the streets of Salzburg, trying to imagine oneself as a storyteller as well as a technician. What places inspire you even if the actual sites might not lend themselves for technical reasons to making a film? And how best to tell a good story, particularly of a type (the musical) that is not much seen these days?
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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Hi K,

>Ira -- do you have a link for info on the Salzburg card?<


Also see

ira is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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It appears that the SOM filming location site (tinyURL) has several errors. First, some of the opening lake scenes were of lakes in the Salzkammergut, but the first scenes, as anyone familiar with the area can tell, are of the Königssee and Obersee in Berchtesgaden Park.

Second, according to Robert Weiss, producer and director of the film, who should know, the lakeside scenes were not filmed at Leopoldskron. He says that they WANTED to shoot there, but could not get permission, so they built a duplicate of the terrace and boat landing at another place on the same lake and shot the scenes there.

If the sets are still there, you could probably get a more authentic SOM tour in Hollywood.

Don't get me wrong. I had an enjoyable day in Salzburg and saw many of the scenes that were part of the movie. We went around to the abbey and saw it from the outside. We were even able to go into the chapel, although I don't think any of the scenes were shot there. But you don't need a tour to see these things.

The one thing I didn't get to see, and wish I had, is the wedding church at Mondsee, but if I had know where it was, I could have gone there on my own.

As long as someone understands that the truth about the locations, and still wants to go, I have no problem, just don't be misinformed.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 09:02 AM
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Larry...I'm going to disagree with you here. Having just come back from there Saturday, I know the opening scene where they show the double green onion dome church is in St. Gilgen at the Wolfgangsee. I have about 5 pics of it in my photo album....go read my trip report, you'll see it. Before we left, we watched the 25th edition of the SOM with all the interviews, stories, etc. It was really interesting.
LLindaC is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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you may have just been there, but I just watched the DVD, and I am familiar with Könnigssee.. The VERY first scenes are of cloud shrouded mountains followed by an aerial view descending out of the mountains with Königssee down below. You can see the electric boats that ply the lake with passengers and you can see, in the background St. Bartholomew. It is a flat beige area in contrast with the steep green walls of the lake. Next scene is looking at Salat, at the upper end of the lake, with the moraine separating it from Obersee in the background.

They do eventually get to St. Gilgen, but not at first.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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Gotcha, Larry!
LLindaC is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 01:06 AM
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The DVD is fine if the ONLY thing you're interested in is SoM stuff. But our tour guide--a lifelong Salzburg resident and retired teacher--talked about many interesting topics that are never even touched on in the DVD. How the Red Bull business empire has done even more for St. Gilgen than the SoM in financial terms and how the town has changed as a result. How the overall region has been changing, what it was like for a Salzburger to attend the first Austrian live stage performances of SoM in Vienna (I also saw the SoM Vienna during its first week onstage, it was a very interesting experience). If you get a good tour guide--as we did--you will get an insider's view on the whole area, not just on SoM trivia.
BTilke is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 04:29 AM
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LarryinC and LLindaC, dunno which of you is right, but next time I go to Salzburg, I'm kidnapping the both of you to come along. Us film trivia addicts could have a fine time, and the more debate, the better! (Losers buy the beer, though....which could be me!)
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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Well, we may both be right so that means 2 beers, lol. I am watching it again right now. The very first scenes are in the smow peaked mountains which have to be either the Dachstein or, as Larry says....the region around Berchtesgarde...none of the mountains around the Wolfgangsee or Mondsee are snow capped in June. At least they weren't when we climbed them last week! When you hear the first bells chime, that's when they show St Gilgen! I studied the "Maria" scenes. You do not see the courtyard when you visit the abbey, you go left through the gate to visit the chapel. That is definitely a replica of the chapel, I could tell by the stones in the floor. I'm not sure they sang "Maria" in the courtyard either. The lighting and shadows suggest it was also a set. The real Maria was married in that chapel, however, and it's really beautiful.
LLindaC is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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Hi SoM tour fans.
Sorry I am writing now in 2008..I only looked now because we are planning to be in the St. Gilgen area again this May.

karameli...did you go to Salzburg, and how did your tour of Salzburg/ SoM tour turn out?

We took the tour in 2004..the start of the bus tour was just a short walk from our hotel. What makes a bus tour like that ....is really the guide. We had an American living in Salzburg as our guide. He truly loved the movie and was full of anecdotes that made the tour fascinating. Also, most of the passengers were interested fans of the movie...some of us sang along (with the guide)the old songs from the musical. It was an enchanting tour. The tour guide was able to connect the sites with the story in a way that kept us all engaged.

By the way, we rarely take bus tours since we like to do things independently.

You are right...visiting the sites and critiqueing the accuracy of the film takes something away from the joy of nostalgia. Incidentally, the film was not shown (and/or liked) in Germany & Austria (maybe all of Europe)because it was not considered authentic enough...probably, considered inaccurate and the story not entirely true.

That said, it is still our favorite musical.
magical is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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KL467 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 02:05 PM
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A friend and I saw the sights of SOM on our own in 2005 - personally I enjoyed it more that way - we had time to walk around the lake at Leopoldskron (a very pretty place), and take things at our own pace. We saw everything but Mondsee (but I believe you can do that on transit too), but I don't think we could have done all the SOM sights in one day, at least not well. Fuschl Am See and St. Gilgen were some good highlights, outside Salzburg.
abbynicole27 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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Hi -- we did go to Salzburg, but decided against the Sound of Music tour -- especially after we realized how simple the public transportation systems are over there. We did a day trip out of Munich and visited the Hohensalzburg fortress (interesting), Mirabell Gardens (pretty), the Dom cathedral (gorgeous), and Mozart's birthplace (ugh). The city was beautiful and we had some good eats at Gasthaus Wilder Mann.

It was a dreary day -- even by Bavarian standards, apparently -- but on a sunny day I think we would have tried to catch a bus to the lake areas.
karameli is offline  
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