The Sound of Austria

Arriving in Salzburg was a rather strange experience, because although I’d never been before, there were so many familiar places (thanks to Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer). Our airbnb room had its own private balcony with a fantastic view…

We decided to head straight into town on our arrival day, as the weather forecast was for 37 degrees the next day. Salzburg continued to showcase the beauty of Austria with colourful flower gardens and old stone buildings…

It wasn’t long before we came across Mirabell Garden, our first setting from The Sound of Music. Here I danced around the fountains and embarrassed Kadin greatly! It was a very busy spot and the lighting wasn’t the best for all our photography needs, so we came back and got more photos on a later day too…

We walked alongside the Salzach River and noticed several people sitting on the steep grassy banks. We joined in for a few minutes while we enjoyed a nectarine each. Sitting on the bank we noticed the river was flowing really fast, the ducks and other river birds had to paddle pretty fast to go upstream and they looked pretty funny when they raced back down stream…

Next we headed for the cliff tops for a better view of this scenic town. We cheated on the first part of the climb by taking the elevator located inside the museum. The view from the top did not disappoint. There was also a walking track along the old city walls that we decided to follow. Here Kadin also got in on the Sound of Music poses – I think he may have done it better…

At the other end of the track was the Fortress Hohensalzburg. It was getting a bit late when we arrived, but it still looked open, so we ventured up the very steep passage leading up to the castle. At the gate there was no one in the ticket booth so we just walked pass (along with many others) – we guess they might not charge after a certain time. The views from the palace were incredible – definitely worth the climb…

We carefully climbed back down the cliff and landed back in town. Here we came across a few more iconic landmarks and enjoyed a traditional Austrian sausage for dinner.

The next day we decided to head for the hills and find a lake to enjoy the hot summers day. We took a bus bound for St. Gilgen but we paid a bit more for a multi-stop ticket. The bus was absolutely packed and we had to stand for part of the journey. The first lake we came across was Fuschlsee. We got off the bus a couple of stops before the town so we could walk along some of the lake. When we got off the bus we saw an unusual building over a small lake which turned out to be the Red Bull building. Then we learnt that Red Bull energy drinks are Austrian. On our walk into the town via the lake we were confronted with hundreds of people. We also found out that many parts of the lake front were fenced off and were privately owned. In town, there was a Beerfest happening too…

We had our lunch in town and then went on a mission to find a public swimming spot on the northern side of the lake. All the sand on the beach was already occupied, but we found a rock to put our towels and gear on while we both went for a swim. The water was really pleasant (around 22 degrees). Kadin probably felt like he was in a bath after his frozen Canadian lake swim!

After drying off, we caught the next bus and made it St. Gilgen. This was a much larger lake and tourist destination. There was a gondola you could take to the top of the mountain for a view of the area. We decided not to pay for this experience and instead enjoyed an ice cream in the village and relaxed by the lakeside for the rest of the afternoon…

We arrived back in Salzburg later in the evening, with plenty of daylight hours left we walked back through town along the river. This time we crossed the iconic bridge from the Sound of Music…

The following day was stormy (a thunderstorm after all the heat). We didn’t let it dampen our day too much. We grabbed ourselves a picnic lunch from the supermarket, which we enjoyed by the river. After that, we went to visit the Von Trapp mansion (the one from the film). Many tourists pay for the tours (quite pricey). On google maps there’s a mark for the ‘Viewing point Sound of Music house’ across the lake (Leopoldskroner Weiher). We saw several tour buses pull in and take large groups to that spot for about 10-15 minutes, rattle on about the film and leave. We took the town bus (cost €4 each for a 24hour pass) and got off near the southern end of the lake, where we were instantly treated to an uninterrupted view of the house. Then we had a pleasant walk right along the lake where we could see the house and grounds from different angles, including two curious swans who wanted to pose for our photos, and the best part was it was just us …until we reached the ‘viewing point.’

Across the road from the Von Trapp’s is the public swimming pool. Even though it was a rainy day it was still pretty warm -and we were already wet! However, just as we were getting ready to go into the pools the thunder and lightning started to get worse and the lady at the gate said they were closing the pools. It really did pelt down! Luckily, there was a bus stop right next to the pools, so we made our way back to our airbnb for a relaxed afternoon/evening. On our way back on the bus the fire brigade went blasting by and up on the hill near our accommodation there was a pretty big fire (possibly due to the lightning). Then, as we walked down our street towards our airbnb we saw some roses growing in a neighbour’s garden. With the stormy weather around and looking at that rosebush …I just had to break out into the following, “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” (unfortunately, all the cats hid – probably my singing).

The following day was a big day of travel. We went by bus from Salzburg to Graz (it took about four hours). It was quite a mountainous drive and it really could have taken longer but almost all the mountains had these amazing tunnels through them (some incredibly long). Our airbnb was located right in the centre of town and had a washing machine – so we got ourselves up to date once again. I also managed to get my hair cut – luckily, the hairdresser spoke a little bit of English (and I must say, gestures go a long way when it comes to communicating in foreign countries). We spent the afternoon in the park, on a rug, under the shady trees, reading our books.

Our main reason for visiting Graz was to see Elton John perform in his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour (Coming to Australia and NZ at the end of 2019 and start of 2020). Unfortunately, it was stormy weather on the night of the concert, taking place in an open-air venue! There were only ten rows of seats under cover in a grandstand at the back of the stadium… and our tickets happened to be for one of those rows. This meant we ended up having a dry seat and an elevated view of the stage too. It was an excellent show and pretty magical when he played our wedding song too!

The next day, and our last day in Austria, we walked around Graz for a bit.

Then we decided to go Landeszeughaus, the world’s largest surviving historic armoury collection. It was super impressive! There were 32,000 items from the 15th to 18th centuries and they weren’t even kept behind glass. Of course, you weren’t allowed to touch them, but you could stand really close and get a good look at all the detail on the armoury…

Have fun at work!



  1. Austria looks lovely. Pleased you’re managing to get out and about regardless of the weather heat and rain. Your newish sun hats are doing a great job😆 You don’t seem to be getting burnt Gemma?!
    Have fun in the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

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