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Phil & Carol on the Danube: The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Mozart


We docked in Linz, Austria early this morning. After a late breakfast we got on a bus and headed for Salzburg, Austria. We passed through Ansfelden—birthplace of organ composer and teacher, Bruckner.

He later moved to Vienna where he got a job playing the organ. This is also the small town where much of The Sound of Music was filmed. The town sits on the edge of a lake with the first mountains of the Alps just across the lake.


We then proceeded to Salzburg. The first stop was the gardens where Maria and the children often played in The Sound of Music. The gardens are beautiful at this time of year with many different kinds of flowers in bloom.

Salzburg means, “salt.” Three thousand years ago the mining of salt here was called “white gold” as it was so important for the keeping of meat and the making of sauerkraut. Today they still use the term “white gold,” but it means something different–tourists!


This city of 150,000 people is famous for being the birthplace of Mozart. He died at the young age of 35 of respiratory disease, but in those short years he composed over 600 pieces of music. He was buried with the common people in Vienna.


Salzburg dates back to 696 A.D. when the Catholic Church had all power in the city until 1803. We went to the Salzburg Cathedral today, where Mozart played piano, organ, violin, and flute. This church, which dates back to 774 A.D., has 5 pipe organs. It is interesting to note that the old Franciscan Monastery was the seat of the German Gestapo during WWII. Today, Salzburg attracts thousands of visitors to its summer music festivals. It also has many quaint streets with all kinds of shops.

We also heard all about the Von Trapp family today. The grandparents of our guide, Victoria, knew Captain Von Trapp who later married Maria. There are differences to the original story and the movie, “The Sound of Music,” but he did have 7 children and was a widower who later married the schoolteacher, Maria.


The Hills are Alive
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