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The Hills Are Alive 
8:30 AM, birds chirping, sun shining. The Martins are not. A day wasted on a train sparked a mood swing and restlessness. Walking to the tourist information desk, I carried a poor attitude and snapped at my mother’s lack of direction. Long days with the parents can bring out the worst in me, but after we booked our “Sound of Music” tour and drank coffee, I was bit more chipper.
The best way to cure a sourpuss: drive along the Austrian Alps.
The “Sound of Music” tour fulfilled our day along Salzburg’s countryside while learning about the movie’s history and singing along to the soundtrack of the infamous musical. We stopped by the Von Trapp Manor, the movie’s wedding church, and several settings where scenes were filmed. Above all, our guide drove us through the country side to view the mountain ranges covered in fall foliage.
Palace Leopold
“Sixteen Going on Seventeen” Gazebo
Hellbrunn Palace
Some Of My Favorite Things

Do A Deer
Our tour ended at the Maribell Gardens, where scenes of “Do-Re-Mi” were shot. Walking throughout the rose gardens, a dozen Asian tourists huddled in for a picture. My dad offered €20 for me to photobomb their huddle, but I declined. While watching this tour group, a few of the women began singing butchered verses of “Do-Re-Mi”. Laurie, who sang throughout the entire tour, joined in. The foreign women lit up and grabbed her for pictures. Not quite the voices of Julie Andrews, but my mom and her Asian friends sure belted out in the middle of the gardens.
Laurie’s Choir

A hundred pictures later, we escaped the other tourists and the gardens to rent bikes. Cruising along the SMSA river, the rest of the afternoon turned into a blissful ride in Austria.

Biking Selfie


At the end of our ride we picked up chocolate at First chocolate, where the original “Mozart Balls” are hand-dipped. If you’re curious to know, Mozart’s balls are delectable.

Mozart and His Balls

The “Original” Chocolatier

Returning our bikes, we walked throughout Salzburg’s old town. The streets of Salzburg are spotless and filled with charm. We walked by dozens of chocolate shops selling solely Mozart balls, several Backerii and a few sausage stands. Hungry from the bike ride, we sampled everything.
Past the food vendors stand several churches. We wandered throughout a cemetery  filled with vegetation until the church bells rang and the gatekeeper escorted us out. The powerful bells rang for minutes as we exited the sacred grounds.
At the End of Old Town

During our “Sound of Music” tour, we met a couple from California who suggested trying the restaurant in the Stiegl beer distillery. Waiting at the bus stop, a local recommended taking a taxi considering the bus stop near the factory was a bit of a walk from the restaurant. Taking his advice, our taxi driver first took us to a hotel that has a satellite Stiegl restaurant, and seemed upset when we asked for the factory. Stopping at the right location, we walked into a dining room filled with smoke. To escape a meal inhaling toxic fumes, the Martins sat alone in a separate room. Our private dinner exceeded our expectations and ended with complimentary beer samples.
Baked Char

Drinking the samples for dad, I left the restaurant a bit tipsy. It was under our impression that the bus stop stood around the corner and would take us straight to the hotel. Though Mom, Miss Tour Guide and GPS, walked us around the neighborhood for half an hour before looping back to the stop. Someone must have felt bad for us, since the last bus arrived once we did.

Once again, we spent the night chasing public transportation around in a foreign country and to bed much later than expected.

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