Whether you’re 17 or go­ing on 80...

Harefield Gazette - - LEISURE -

HERE’S the bench that an 82-year-old lady slipped on while danc­ing to Six­teen Go­ing On Seven­teen and then fell through a pane of glass,” says Peter the tour guide, shak­ing his head at a newly re­stored and im­mac­u­late gazebo in Hell­brun Palace on the out­skirts of Salzburg.

“She was such a big Sound Of Mu­sic fan she couldn’t re­sist danc­ing in the gazebo.

“She’s fine now though, just a few scratches,” he adds, as our hor­ri­fied re­flec­tions beam back out at us from the re­stored win­dow pane.

Much as I’d rather not slip on the white bench which so quickly dashed the oc­to­ge­nar­ian’s waltz, the urge to leap about and prance along is ad­mit­tedly strong.

Be­cause, like that lady, I too am a huge fan of The Sound Of Mu­sic and the sight of the gazebo where Liesl and her tele­gram de­liv­ery boyfriend Rolfe frol­icked, flirted and snogged, fills my limbs with an urge to sing.

Un­like Julie An­drews, who plays nun-turned­gov­erness-turned-cap­tain’s wife in the epic film based on a true story, I have not been blessed with a strudel-sweet singing voice, so I de­cide to keep my Von Trapp shut.

You can’t move for Sound Of Mu­sic re­minders in Salzburg. Sure, there are ref­er­ences to Mozart (that other tourist pull), ev­ery­where, but with the film’s 50th an­niver­sary loom­ing, Wolf­gang will have to wait.

Shift to the city cen­tre, and you’ll see groups jump­ing up and down the steps of the Mirabell Palace And Gar­dens, where Maria led her young charges Do Re Mi-ing as they made their way to the foun­tain.

Head to Res­i­den­z­platz and trill I Have Con­fi­dence, the lively pep talk Maria sings to her­self as she moves from the nun­nery.

In­deed, 50 years on from the film’s re­lease, it is still the first thing many of us pic­ture when think­ing of Salzburg.

While the film’s global suc­cess is se­cured with an es­ti­mated one bil­lion peo­ple hav­ing seen it, the home crowd are less en­am­oured.

“It’s never shown here,” shrugs Peter. “It was only when I moved to Amer­ica that I first saw the film,” con­curs an­other tour guide over a stodge-laden lunch of schnitzel (with­out noodles).

But for the rest of the world, The Sound Of Mu­sic is Salzburg.

Serv­ing as a love let­ter to the city, the movie flaunts Salzburg’s pic­ture-post­card alpine views, pretty churches and mar­ket stalls with rosy-cheeked ven­dors.

For me, an em­bar­rass­ingly big fan of the film, see­ing a seem­ingly un­changed city is a de­light to be­hold.

I’m not the only one who has fallen un­der the mu­si­cal – and in­deed the city’s – spell.

Ad­mit­tedly, some of the group aren’t bores like me. “You ARE a big fan you?” withers one scep­tic who has co here to see what a the fuss is about. But even he can’t fail to fling his arm out when we head to Salzkam­mergut the pretty lake­side area that is used dur­ing the open­ing se­quence.

Nei­ther can the stream of Sound O tourists who pull up in their bus, mu­ral of the movie splashed on the side, and trickle out tak­ing self­ies, wail­ing The Sound Of Mu­sic miss­ing the high, medium and low notes as they go.

“Not ev­ery­one can sing like Julie An­drews, huh?” nudges a fan to the left of me who is keep­ing his dis­tance from a hen group, kit­ted out in match­ing Sound Of Mu­sic hood­ies.

Luck­ily, tune­ful singing can still be found in the shape of The Sound Of Salzburg Din­ner Show.

Held reg­u­larly, a crew of note-per­fect singers re­cite tunes from the show as well as folk songs and Mozart pieces.

Here, guests can gorge on schnitzel with noodles and ap­ple strudels and even take a turn around the small stage with the cast, who per­form a sim­ple Vi­en­nese waltz.

It may not be the grand party that Cap­tain Von Trapp throws in the mu­si­cal, but it’s a jolly nod to the film.

But with the strains of So Long, Farewell ring­ing out, I too pay my good­byes to this won­der­ful city, safe in the knowl­edge that here, the hills are still very much alive with mu­sic.

Keeley Bol­ger was a guest of Salzburg City (www.salzburg.info) and Salzburg­er­Land (www.salzburg­er­land. com) tourist boards. Prices quoted are valid for 2015 and sub­ject to avail­abil­ity.

Ing­hams (www. ing­hams.co.uk; 01483 791 111) of­fers three-night breaks stay­ing at Ho­tel NH Salzburg City from £509pp (two shar­ing B&B) in­clud­ing re­turn flights from Gatwick to Salzburg and air­port/ ho­tel trans­fers.

Orig­i­nal Sound of Mu­sic tours (www. panoram­a­tours.com) are avail­able from 40 eu­ros per adult.

The Sound of Salzburg Din­ner Show is avail­able on se­lected dates with tick­ets priced from 49 eu­ros per adult, in­clud­ing show and a tra­di­tional Aus­trian 3-course din­ner.

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