From Prague we went onto Vienna, but although we spent our first evening in Vienna, our first full day we actually left the city for a day trip to Salzburg. Salzburg was added to the itinerary essentially because of a group appreciation for The Sound of Music. There are specific Sound of Music tours, but we didn’t do one of those. We just did a general tour.
I hadn’t seen The Sound of Music in years (although I have recently watched it now on an airplane ride), but I remembered enough to appreciate the decision to take the trip. Unfortunately the tour itself did not live up.
First off, it was pouring rain the whole day. That, of course, could not be helped, but it did make the day quite dreary. More importantly though, our tour guide was awful. And not like she made terrible jokes awful (she did, but that’s to be expected), but more she did not seem to know what she was talking about and she barely actually showed us anything before setting us loose in Salzburg on our own for most of it. It seemed like a real waste of money.
And, unfortunately for me, this was probably the most awkward day of the trip personally. The couple went off on their own and then the other two clearly wanted to be left alone. I stuck with them for a little bit, but then left when they decided to go to Mozart’s Birthplace. They were the real classical music fans and frankly I had started to get the picture that they wanted me to go away. So I went away.
Fortunately for me I don’t really mind my own company. I was able to wander the streets by myself poking into stores, but mostly into churches. There were a lot of churches in Salzburg considering it did not seem to be a particularly large place.
One particular church, the Franziskanerkirche, was very peaceful. It seemed less open to random tourists than the others – quieter and more solemn – that I spent a fair amount of time in. It was calming and peaceful. I’m not (and never have been) religious, but I still have a fondness for the atmosphere cultivated in such places.
There was not really a whole lot to do in Salzburg, but it was a nice little place. I suspect it would have been a better experience if the weather had been nicer and I don’t really feel any pull to return to Salzburg, but it was a pretty little place.
Honestly, I think we probably should have just done one of the Sound of Music tours. It might have been better run. I’m not really sure why we didn’t do one of those actually – I wasn’t part of the planning process after all.But considering the inspiration for going it would have seemed to have been the logical thing to do. Oh well. What is done is done at this point after all. And on the plus side, I mostly went because the others did. I do like The Sound of Music, but it had been so long since I had seen it that I wasn’t tied to the nostalgia the way a lot of people might have been. I definitely did find myself humming (and sometimes even singing aloud) the songs from the movie. They are particularly memorable ones after all.
While Salzburg may not have been exactly what we were all expecting/hoping for, I think the time apart served most of us well. The tension was notably lessened after that day. I don’t know if everyone was feeling it, but I definitely was.
More about our adventures in Austria next time.