March 9, 2011

Yo, Do-Re-Mi. Let's Kick It.

Someday I will have the full Vanilla Ice parody for you. That day is not today.

Did you know it takes at least 10 hours to get from Belgium to Austria by train?

So even though I had delightfully planned a 3-day experience in Salzburg, 2 of those days were spent chugging through Germany. But it's all good. The "good" is made possible by a lot of great food and a day with The Sound of Music that I will never forget.

My iPod battery died within an hour of leaving Charleroi, but I thought it had malfunctioned and I would be friendless my entire trip. My train connection was canceled in Frankfurt, so we (all of us who missed our train) all had to squeeze onto the next train. I literally stood, then sat on the floor between train cars in the "hallway" for two hours before a seat opened up. When I finally got on the Salzburg express train in Munich at 7pm, the overhead lights inside the train were so bright, I wore my sunglasses for the next two hours. At night. Inside a vehicle. Super cool.

The hotel ended up amazing, which is always a shock since I usually book the cheapest thing I can find. When I walked into the cheerful breakfast restaurant the next morning, I actually heard the "Hallelujah Chorus" ringing in my ears...and playing over the speakers. It was the first cereal I've eaten with milk in two months, and the food was so good, I sneaked a sandwich and fruit for lunch - both days.

As a solo traveler, I reserve the right to take every best seat. I sit by the windows, in the front, and with plenty of leg room every chance I get. My day in Salzburg was no exception.

At breakfast, I had a view of the main street. On The Sound of Music Tour, I got on the bus first and sat with the tour guide. At a cafe, I planted myself at the front window seat. For dinner, I claimed the entry way to watch everyone who came by.

And speaking of The Sound of Music Tour - perfection. Okay, maybe not totally perfect; we didn't get to go inside houses, meet Julie Andrews, or climb every mountain. But we did get to spend four hours in make-believe, singing along while the bus made its way through the lake country. I felt like I was chasing my favorite movie all over Austria. IT WAS AWESOME.

I had my first apple strudel, and definitely ate schnitzel. I wore my warm woolen mittens, and cream-colored ponies still take tourists in carriages around the city. And it being early March, the silver white winter was still in the process of melting into spring.

At the end of the tour, we were dropped off right next to Mirabell Gardens, which is where most of the Do-Re-Mi sequence was filmed - including the iconic Do-Re-Mi steps. I found everything okay (various fountains, statues, viewpoints, etc.), but you can only imagine my dismay when I found the DRMS, and they were blocked off from the public! Are you kidding me?!

I did not come all the way to Austria to just look at the DRMS. No way. I came to hop those steps, so that's exactly what I did. Watch the video. The arched hedge was also blocked off; you can go ahead and guess how I responded. All the signs were in German, so it is rather fortunate I did not fall into a large hole, meet a nest of hornets, or trip any real alarms.

It was a fabulous holiday!

(Kindly, I recommend you do not try this at home.) 

(Please at least wait until you go on vacation.)