Wednesday, May 31, 2006


With a sweeping aerial view, the film opens with a left-to-right camera pan through the clouds and across rocky, snow-covered mountains. The camera dips into a green, wooded valley with steep cliffs that descend into a snow-fed lake. Reflections of the hills are viewed in the mirror-like images on the water's surface. As the camera moves over the European landscape and village, it discovers an open, green area nestled between the peaks. It moves closer and zooms into the green field, where it suddenly finds a happy and joyous Maria (Julie Andrews), a novice Salzburg Austrian nun, walking across the wide expanse of land. With open-armed appreciation of the beauty of the surrounding majestic peaks and vistas of the Austrian Alps, she twirls and sings the title song. For her: "The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music."
This is the opening sequence of "The Sound of Music",(SOM) a much-heralded, breath-taking piece of film-making. And it was shot here in Salzburg, Austria. Now it would be unfair to say that the film was shot in Salzburg coz the locations are spread far n wide. So to check out the places where this historic musical was shot I took the SOM Tour by Panorama Turs on the first day. The tour which lasts for about 4 hours, costs €30 and if u have an interest in movies then it is a must for u. There are some other tours as well like the Bavarian Alps, Salt Mines and the Ice Caves (this is conducted only in winters) which may be of interest to you. The places that we visited during the tour were:-
Leopoldskron Castle(pic above) - this was used as the Trapp family home.
Hellbrunn Castle
St Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang - adjoining village of Salzkammergut is the birthplace of Mozarts mother
Mondsee Cathedral- The wedding scene was filmed here. Maria led by liesl, walked down the aisle to meet the Baron in front of the stairs ok the main altar

Lake Wolfgang

Mondsee Cathedral

The SOM tour ended at the Mirabell Castle n Gardens. The Mirabell castle was built by Prince-Archibishop, Wolf Dietrich,in 1606. Today the Palace accommodates the office of Salzburg's Bürgermeister(mayor) and the municipal administration. Just besides the castle is the Mirabellgarten (Mirabell Gardens). In SOM, Maria and the children were seen dancing around the statue of Pegasus, the winged horse, and throughout the gardens singing "Do-Re-Mi".

Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself, Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread, La, a note to follow So
Tea, a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back to Do

Doesnt that remind you of your rhyme singing, primary school days?

This is a nice place to take a break and if you like photography, you'll find many good spots. The garden enchants visitors with it's statues, fountains and elaboratly decorated flowerbeds.

The next day was reserved for exploring the old town of Salzburg (Alstadt), so we got ourselves this Salzburg Pass for €20. The pass allows travel on public transport and includes admission into many of the city's tourist attractions and usually comes out to be a good deal. The two day pass costs €27, so in case ur stay is gonna be longer u cd exercise this option. The day began at the Cathedral Salzburg. Its been consecrated, destroyed and rebuilt 3 times and the dates are commemorated at the gates (see pic above). The three main bronze doors represent Faith, Hope and Charity.

Under its roof is the most important musical instrument and one of Salzburg's treasures, the 4000-pipe organ where Mozart played his court-commissioned masses, psalms, litanies, chorals and sonatas. The four statues in front of the cathedral are St. Rupert, St. Paul, St. Peter and St. Virgil.

The octagonal dome that rises 71 meter high with its copper silhouette is recognisable from everywhere in the old city and the surrounding hills and mountains. Pic below is the dome from inside.

Outside, there is a statue of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the square. If you go out in front of the statue and walk toward it, it appears as if the angels on the facade of the cathedral, set the crown they are holding, on her head. Solid funda ...Haina??

Ok now something odd. Look at the below pic closely and in the middle u will see two alphabets. This is the Christian Anarchy Symbol, Alpha & Omega, meaning the first and last which in turn is to represent God and/or Jesus. (Refer to the book of Revelations 1:8, 21:6, & 22:13. Rev. 1:8 says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."). Basically, the symbol is a visual play on the "anarchy" symbol but with a different meaning and intent.

Christian Anarchism (also known as Christian libertarianism) is the belief that the only source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable is God, embodied in the teachings of Jesus. Christian anarchists feel that government and established churches do not, and should not, have power over them.
I've never ever seen anything like this in any other church and I have no idea what it was doing here. Actually I realised this only when I had come back and was editing the pics. If some one can explain to me whether they generally have such symbols in church. It was too obvious for a trained eye to have missed it, so I rule out all symbolism in this episode. Da Vinci Code anyways didn't get sucha favorable start at the Cannes :-P

Viva Mozart!!! Next we went to Mozart's House of birth n stay. Two diff buildings not very far apart. The pic below is of the house where he was born. Not much inside the house to see. The other place, where he stayed, provides much more info about his work n life. Visited it later during the day. And since this happens to be the 250 anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birth therefore its kinda special this year with everything from chocolates to spirits, key chains, shot glasses embalmed with Mozart. Everyone conveniently forgets the fact that Mozart though born here, was virtually kicked out of the city and hence took refuge in Vienna.

Next up the Castle Hohensalzburg, which stands on a steep hill, Monchsberg. It was built in 1,077 by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach. This medieval castle is one of the very few castles in Europe that were never conquered by foreign military force. To reach the castle u can either walk or take the funicular.

The view of the city from the top is absolutely gorgeous. There are a few restaurants at the top. So enjoy some pizza along with Weissbier but be prepared to wait a litle longer here coz the service is everything but quick. The view from these open air restaurants is also quiet breath-taking. The valley below is actually quite picturesque. Now if u look at the mountain in the pic below, then the Austian alps are to the left of it and on its right is German/Bavarian Alps. The mountain is half Austrian half German.

At the foot of the hill are lotsa shops selling souvenirs. I would recommend anyone to shop here as it is comparitively cheaper than the souvenir shops. A bell which I bought for €15 at one of the shops earlier was on sale for €9.

Also at the square is a huge chessboard, so I decided to sit there for a while n enjoy the game. Now about the game which i saw... It staretd off beautifully with the Ruy Lopez opening which incidently is my fav. Later White went in for the Flohr-Zaitsev Variation which you would agree can force Black to choose a different defence. So the black guy shifed from Arkhangelsk Defence. Now, I would have choosen the Closed Defence but that guy went for Delayed Exchange Variation Deferred, hence the black knight and bishop were not on their best squares.

OK...that was some really authentic sounding 100% crap...Except Ruy Lopez I dont know anything in the paragraph.. White won eventually and we moved on to explore more of the city.

One thing which we missed out was the boat ride in the Salzach river, which is a part of the Salzburg Pass. Since it wasnt officially summer the last boat left about 5 pm and we missed it. Strolled in the old town for some more time just exploring the streets, not visiting any place in particular, not in a hurry to reach a destination or landmark. Just letting the ambience of this old town seeep into me and etch itself in memories for later times.

Complete Salzburg Album


And withs that on 31st May 2006, I completes one years in blogsphere. It is the Happy Buddays of the blogs!!!!!!


Next post, about the year it has been.


Sakshi said...

Loved it. Absolutely fantastic.
As you can see, I have bought out my camera again (almost after a year. I will keep posting pics I take around the school and later on in Seattle.

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

u shud get the EU to pay u for being their travel writer. seriously.

loved the last pic. the sky luks awesome man!

Lalit Singh said...

i enjoyed ur pics too.. looking fwd to more of those

Eu wale bade kanjoos hain... kuch nahi dengey.. i am willing to settle for just free tickets to travel :-)

Sakshi said...

Hey.. Forgot asking you if did burst into the songs while touring ;-)

that girl in pink said...

lovely lovely lovely! i feel little pangs of envy whenever i see your pics. europe is so beautiful! and i still can't get over that view from your kitchen window...sigh!

and SOM is of course one of my all time favourite movies. and you got to go and visit all the places it was shot at! no fair!!!!!!!

anyway, keep travelling and keep posting. a lot of us are living our backpacker dreams thru you. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice pics Again !!
nice descr. as well !! [:)]

Tu itane bade bade posts kaise leekhata hai be?? kya patience hai !!

~ Samyak.

* Word Verif. * Grrrrrrrrrrr !!!! :XXxxxxxx

Lalit Singh said...

yeah i did sing along the do re mi song.

@That gurl in pink
oh yes.. it is damn beautiful.
a lot of us are living our backpacker dreams thru you. :)
Girl... you just made my day. all the efforts to compile this posts have been rewarded

yaar content itna tha ki bada ho gaya post

i will try and cut down on the size ... nobody is reading the full post anyways, i guess...
till now not a single Bday wish for the blog :-(

Sakshi said...

Oops.. Hope you keep on writing more delightful post this year.
Nooooooo Don't cut down the details, I really love reading the posts. And I was waiting to wish the blog on the "year that was" post.

Nautilus said...

Fabulous pictures!!!! And I'm green with envy :-)

Intern said...

Very nice photos - though i didnt read musch
But a picture tells a thousand words!

Sakshi said...

My Fav from that album is Edelweiss, My dada used to sing it to me as a child..
"Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me
small and white,
clean and bright,
you look happy to meet me
blossom of snow
may you bloom and grow,
bloom and grow forever
edelweiss, edelweiss, bless my home-land forever "

Lalit Singh said...

i hope i have more to write about,... the next long weekend happens to be only around Xmas... so no more big travelling till that time..although i have a India trip coming up next
BTW.. aapki to poori family musically inclined lagti hain... right from dadaji to cousins et al

Thx for dropping by

Thx.. a pic is a worth a thousand words but some of the facts just cant be disclosed in pics..i cant .. so there fore i write about things and try to give a pic about it as well

~ Deeps ~ said...

excellent post and beautiful pics.......spl the roof ones .........good yar.......u r enjoying the whole europe...seriously i m jealous of u

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

appy birday to u
appy birday to u
appy birday dear awaara sajde
appy birday to u

bas? khush?

u coming to india? bahaut garmi hai boss! but when?

Lalit Singh said...

Thx dude.. The ceilings are really amazing in almost all the cathedrals.. and the Alpha Ohm thing kinda puzzled me.

Thank u hain aapko.. yes i am happy singh now
Bharat yatra sometime in July. I know it will be hot but its been more than a year now. Desh ki mitti bula rahi hain mujhey.

Raj said...

Beautiful pics :)

Sakshi said...

oops.. "My dada used" any extra A..
Read my DAD used to.
THough my grandpa was musically inclined, he leaned heavily towards Indian classical. His sons exposed him to the "devil" music (aka Rock and roll) but he stayed pure in his music tastes.
My Dad exposed me to the old Rock and blues and jazz and I thank him everday for it.

wanderer said...

Very Nice fotos....I am trying to do something similar here in Poland. But with no luck :(. Would like you to have a look and suggest somethings.