The highlight of our time in Austria was the second day we were in Salzburg. On that day the weather was fabulous (the first non-rainy day of our trip!), we woke up early and spnet the morning walking walked town. It felt as though everyone was out and about. After days of rain everything looked clean and bright. It was the Saturday before Palm Sunday and everywhere little stalls set up with baskets of ribbons and greenery, flowers and pussy willows. All the children were making bouquets (for lack of a better word) to carry in the parade the next day. Many older people were wearing traditional Austrian clothes and there was music everywhere. What a great day to be in town.
We walked into the main square which was graced by 2 statues one of Mozart and one that you may recognize if you have seen the "Sound of Music"! of horses, a fitting place to be home base for the horses and carriage rides. We thought it looked like fun so we hired one. Zoe got to sit up front for the whole ride. Our driver gave us a consise yet thorough history of the city. It was a great way to see the city! You should have seen Zoes face as she rode up front with the driver. Pure joy!
Next up that afternoon was what Zoe had been waiting the entire trip! The "Sound of Music Tour" We climbed aboard a big coach which had Sound of Music scenes painted on it and off we went. The first stop was the Mansion with the lake in the front (which the kids fell into)........in reality two different mansions were used, one for the front view and a different for the back view and the whole inside was a set! And the mansion with the lake is now owned by Harvard University! We stopped everywhere learning more and more facts about the filming of the movie.....the gazebo, the monestary, the church, all the fountains and statues, and of course the hills. It really was fun! not a shabby tour, I really did not know what to expect. Zoe befriended a few American college students who were studying in The Netherlands and who also loved and knew all the songs and together they sang their hearts out! She sat with them the whole way. They were awfully sweet! The scenery lakes and snow capped mountains were glorious! Ironically most of the hills filmed were actually in Germany!
The next day was also full. We went on a tour of the Salt mines. Salzburg means "Salt town" We had to wear miners suits! Zoe looked awfully cute in hers! Not so flattering on Gina and me however. First, we sat on a "train" to enter the mine and then we walked a while before sliding down a slide. It was 30 meters long and steep as can be. We sat with legs over the slide and forked one another. The first time down Zoe was a little scared! but when we were ready for the second one we were all excited. As we walked through the mine we learnt all about how salt was made. At the end we rode across a lake deep under ground in the middle of a mountain on a boat . The lake was so salty, we even got to taste it. There was as much salt in it as there is in the Dead sea! What an educational trip. We do not have too many photos of the Salt mine as it was so dark down there.
The following day was the last day in Austria and we just spend the day walking the local markets and enjoying the spectacular views. We kept seeing thee painted and decorated bulls/cows around town and were dying to learn the story. Finally we did. Salzburg is a completed fortressed city and during the war they were all up on the hills behind the walls and were running out of food. In fact there were down to the last cow and someone said that they had an idea....so that night they painted the cow black and put her out to pasture on the hill so that the enemy could see. The next morning they washed the cow and painted her white and that night let her out on the hill so the enemy could see and so on for many about 10 nights.....the enemy thought oh these people have so much food left they will never give up and soon walked a way!