15 May 2009


Our wake-up call is for 6:00am, but I am up and in the shower when it comes. We plan to leave the hotel by 7:00am or sooner for our 7:25am bus to Salzburg. Saalfelden is only about 10 minutes from here, but I need coffee! When I come out of the shower JL has coffee brewed! D+M and the girls show up at 6:30am and LG is dressed in new jeans, a white t-shirt, with a pink hat on her head, a backpack on her back, and an umbrella in-hand. There is also a big, shy grin on her sweet face.

KF bustles about in her ballerina pjs, carrying the Dora bubble bucket and several wands everywhere she goes. She is shy with us, preferring her mama, but always gives big, toothy smiles that light up her chocolate brown eyes.

Our bus to Salzburg is on time—the tickets are €9.60 each, with no charge for LG. European buses are so, so much more desirable than any bus I’ve ever ridden in America. LG moves from seat-to-seat between JL and me, chattering and full of questions. It is a bright and sunshiny day as we are delivered on time to Mirabel Gardens Place—just where the Sound of Music tours begin. We get our tickets--€37 each, and again LG is free!

The young woman in the ticket booth assures us that we have time for breakfast, so we cross the street and buy yummy coffee and cinnamon rolls for JL and me, and two sugared donut holes and chocolate milk for LG. This may not be a nutritious day!

We are welcomed aboard by a very gregarious Brit by the name of Susan. She is almost too much for me, but JL is impressed and ready to roll. There are seat belts on this bus, and I feel so much safer having LG belted in. She doesn’t protest too much as we let her change positions with every stop along the way.

Here is the link to the Sound of Music tour.

When we visit Leopoldskron Castle, which was used as the exterior of the von Trapp family home in the movie, LG exclaimed, “Now I know it’s the truth!”

We have an hour in Mondsee (where both the kids hanging from the trees in the allee and Maria’s wedding to the Captain were filmed) for lunch and a self-guided tour. We have ham and egg sandwiches and LG eats almost nothing… This is a great break because 4 hours with Susan, our guide, is a bit much for me. She is good natured and chatty, punctuating most stories with references to “our film.”

Somewhere along the way Susan encourages our group to visit Hitler’s Eagles Nest, which reopens for the season today! WHAT? Even without car trouble we were not going to visit Eagle’s Nest yesterday. We are hoping that DM+MK+KF drove up the mountain again today.
Back in Salzburg we wander through Mirabell Gardens, taking our time and taking lots of photos. LG is quite the poser! We meander into the old city center, over bridges and among the shops, ending up at Mozart Square for some tea and pastries. LG chases pigeons with her umbrella as JL supervises and I track down the post office and a phone card. We promised to call DM+MK with our return time.

LG has had a perfect day and we (and all the people on the bus) have enjoyed her singing along to the sound track and her enthusiasm for the film. As we walk back through the narrow streets LG lusts after a mylar balloon which is priced at an outrageous €5.00. I promise a different balloon, and she has her only meltdown. She is tired and so are we. Before we reach Mirabell Gardens and the Post Bus stop to return us to Saalfelden, we find a package of princess balloons and she is appeased. I blow up one and find dental floss in my purse to secure the balloon. LG is entertained on the return bus trip and in about one hour we are met at the bus station by MK.

MK says they decided to try again today to tour Eagle's Nest. They drove back to Berchtesgaden and then up and up and up the curving mountain road, and then they took a bus up and up and up some more. It is a fantastically beautiful perch precariously balanced on the edge of the world. She said that the property was built as teahouse and a 50th birthday gift to Hitler from his mistress, Eva Braun. He only visited 11 times, and is now a restaurant for adventuresome tourists.

JL and I have decided that we will have a real dinner tonight, and after some bubble blowing and dancing and mac+cheese, LG and KF are led off to bed. We walk along the wildflower path and into the small village of Maria Alm, choosing the same restaurant where we ate our first lunch. We have the goulash and rice with a beautiful chopped salad, and finish the meal with a yummy scoop of ice cream.

The little girls and their mommy and daddy are driving back to Bratislava in the morning, but JL and I have plans for more adventures tomorrow.

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