We had a 7:30 wake up call today.  Unfortunately, Crystal slept like crap again, waking up in the middle of the night.  Justin’s sleep was now more or less okay.  We had a tour booked for today, a “Sound of Music” tour that would take us around the various locations from the famous movie.  We had purchased tickets for a tour on Viator about a month ago, and the meeting location was at the bus station right near Mirabell Gardens, just a minute or two from our hotel.  We had to be there by 9, and left around 8:45 or so.  We were just waiting, peeking in at Mirabell Gardens.  There were a handful of other people there, and there was a Sound of Music painted van out front, so we figured we were in the right spot.  Two of the people were Filipinos, so Crystal’s life was all coming together.

We were wondering why there was no bus.  Then there was a bus, but it was the wrong bus.  Then we asked someone, and found out we were in the wrong place.  We quickly went up a block and across the street, and were told we were *this* close to missing the bus.  Us and one other couple were the last people on.  We started off by driving around old town.  Our guide was David, who was obviously originally from Britain, and also obviously very experienced at this tour.  The first thing he pointed out was the Do-Re-Mi Bridge, one of the pedestrian bridges across the river into Old Town.  Then he showed up the Abbey, which was near the Salzburg Museum at the base of the Fortress, yet we hadn’t seen it in the previous 1.5 days.

The movie, as it turns out, was based on real life, but as we’d find out, there were quite a few liberties taken.  In real life, Maria, the daughter, was sick, and The Captain needed help caring for her.  Nuns at the Abbey wanted to get rid of the older Maria, and she had a teaching degree, so it was a perfect fit.  Our next stop was looking out at the mountains that – at the end of the movie – the family walked over to escape to freedom.  In real life, that mountain couldn’t have been the correct mountain, as it actually led to Germany.  Also in real life, everyone just took train to Italy for a gig, traveled around for a bit, then came to the US with no problems whatsoever.  Another thing in real life, apparently the von Trapps had won their music competition 3 years earlier.

Our first stop was at a frozen lake just a little south of Old Town.  David commented on Justin’s Arsenal scarf, saying something like “I can’t believe he’s wearing that in public.”  [Justin’s thought – fair point, they aren’t very good, but he has one scarf since he lives in San Diego and Hawaii.]  On the lake we were across from the house that was (but wasn't) the house from the movie.  The studio wanted to cut down some large trees in the yard for better angles for filming, and the family wasn’t having that, so lots of things were filmed on sets and arranged to look seamless.  But this was the lake where they all fell out of the boat during filming.  As it turns out, the little girl almost drowned, because it was an actual accident falling out of boat - Julie Andrews was supposed to be holding her since the little girl couldn’t swim, but Julie Andrews actually lost her balance, and when she fell out, the boat tilted the other way and capsized – it was authentic.

The little girl was understandably distraught and didn’t want to film any more falls into the lake.  To get her back in the good graces, everyone on the set treated her well, which meant giving her candy and cake.  Due to this, she gained some weight.  When it came to the end scene – walking over the mountains to freedom – Christopher Plummer looked at the little girl and told the director he didn't want to carry "that fat girl" over the hill.  So there was a stunt actress for the last scene, and if you watch you realize the little girl is looking away from the camera for the whole scene. This didn’t paint Christopher Plummer in the best light.  But it made Justin think of a crazy off the wall idea.  What if his role in the 2006 movie Inside Man (where Plummer played a banker who had done business with the Nazis during WWII) was in fact the same character as Captain von Trapp?  The timeline basically fits.  Back to the tour, David told us how – when Christopher Plummer tore the Nazi flag – the crew had made a slight cut into the flag beforehand, and when Christopher Plummer is looking down to tear the flag, he’s looking for where it had already been cut already been cut by the scissors.

Our next stop was Hellbrunn Palace, to the south of Salzburg.  On the way, we saw the house they used for most of the scenes, but it was on a private road, so we saw it from afar.  Where we parked at Hellbrunn was the “skipping” area from the movie.  Julie Andrews’ stumbling was originally authentic, but the director liked it, so he had her do it accidentally on purpose in the following takes.  At Hellbrunn they had the gazebo from the movie, which was one of three that were used at different points for filming.  Rather than a prop, it was a real gazebo, because they made a deal with a local homeowner who wanted a gazebo in exchange for filming on their property.  There was a nice looking market at Hellbrunn, but it was not yet open.

Before we got back in the bus, they had beers, probably to help people want to sing.  Then we headed out of town, east, into the Salzkammergut.  We were going up into the hills, and accordingly there was increasing amounts of snow.  David put on a CD from the soundtrack and started having us sing.  The people in the row in front of us and behind us were legit good singers.  We went past a couple of alpine lakes, which were used for aerial shots in the movie.  We got out at one of the lakes for some panoramic views.

We ended up at Mondsee, which has the church that was used at the end of the movie.  We had about an hour in Mondsee.  The church was nice, but we exited pretty early, because there was a wake at the church today.  We did some shopping for our family, a doll for Crystal’s mom and some lederhosen for Levi.  We got back to the bus a little early, and struck up a conversation with David.  He and his wife used to run a bar in the UK, but it was tough work, and his wife (as best as we can recall) was originally from Austria, which is why they moved to Salzburg.  He’s been doing this for over a decade now.  We asked him if he had any tips for the “Perchten Run” that we were planning to head to tonight.  He told us it more tame now, but in the past the people in the Krampus costumes had whips, and occasionally would inadvertently hit people with their whips.  We were definitely even more intrigued than we were originally, which we did not think possible.

On the way back, we went on the Autobahn, presumably the same road we were on when we were sleeping on the drive from Cesky Krumlov two days earlier.  David played the second half of the CD, and a good portion of the bus was singing along.  Right as we were getting back into town, David asked if there was anyone who hadn’t actually seen the movie.  Justin was the only one.  We arrived back at Mirabell Gardens.  David told us that if we had a good time on the tour, to make sure to mention he and Zoran (our driver).  He told us if we didn’t enjoy the trip, to mention that “John and Jake” weren’t very good.  There wasn’t much to see in the garden itself, as it was winter and a lot of it was off limits.  But inside, we walked up some really nice stairs up to the Marble Room, which was another place we had given thought to possibly seeing a Mozart concert.  We could see that it would be a pretty amazing spot for a performance.  We couldn’t go inside, but the door was open, so we could see everything, a bit like the halls in the Strahov Monastery Library.  No one else was there besides us.

It was only a 2 minute walk back to the hotel, where we dropped off the stuff we had purchased in Mondsee, then we quickly headed out again.  We were headed to the Museum of Modern Art, a little west of Old Town, which was visible from everywhere in town.  We wanted to see what things looked like from the lookout at the top of the cliff it resided on.  According to Google Maps, there were 3 routes of basically the same length, and we picked the right one, because as we walked along the road we went right by a spot with an elevator, saving us time and a steep walk up the hill.

In no surprise at all, the views from the top were great.  We walked around a bit and took some photos, then took the elevator back down and walked back across the river to visit another Mozart house, this time the house he lived in as a youth.  This one had more interesting items, including some of the instruments that Mozart had played as a boy.  All the parts about Mozart were pretty interesting, but then there were other rooms that were focused on more tangential subjects, such as Mozart’s son (who was also a composer) and Mozart’s dad, and as we got more peripheral to Mozart himself, we just looked at each other and shut off our audio guides and headed on our way.

We then walked back across the river, into Old Town, and had a late lunch/early dinner at Goldene Kugel, which we’d walked past a couple times the past two days and looked pretty good.  The portions were huge, including Justin’s massive pork knuckle and pretzel.  Crystal got a weisswurst (white sausage), and was having a little bit of an issue eating it until the guy sitting next to us told her to cut the outer casing off first.  He was right, it tasted much better after that.  We went back to the markets to purchase a couple things that we’d seen yesterday, including some more gingerbread that looked really tasty.  Again, it wasn’t as good as Justin’s grandmother’s.

We had checked off most everything we wanted to see in Salzburg except for Pauli Stubm, which we’d either seen on TV or YouTube for some special schnapps flavors.  Supposedly there was “off menu” flavor with cloves, anise, and cinnamon.  But unexpectedly, it wasn’t a schnapps only place – it was a full-on bar.  So we stayed for a couple of rounds, chatting with the bartenders.  There were some people at a table in another room, but we were the only folks at the bar.  They had food too, but we’d just eaten.  On the radio there a CD or playlist with a bunch of interesting covers, with songs we knew but performed in a way that didn’t sound remotely like the original tunes.  We had a good conversation with the bartenders, and had 3 schnapps and 2 regular drinks.

We would have stayed for hours, but we had to get down around 6:30 for the Perchten Run, which was slated to start at 7.  Prior to looking into what was going on during the dates we’d be in each city, we’d never heard of Perchten, and had only occasionally heard reference to Krampus.  Rather than try to explain it in detail, please just look at what we looked at here.  But the short story is that Krampus costumes look like demons, and the costumes also have bells that make a ton of noise.  Krampus is sort of the anti-Santa, and scares the living crap out of kids.  Perchten are not quite the same, but at the event tonight we couldn’t tell the difference.  Apparently what we watched had both Krampuses and Perchtens. 

We tried to find the "front row" for the event, but we didn’t know who was going where.  We saw some people sort of forming a front row, so we went down to the far end of that row, near the right end of a stage that had been set up in front of the cathedral.  [Yes, you read that correctly, they started the demon run at the entry to a church.]  By dumb luck, ended up right by where everyone started and posed.  The first thing we saw was three guys who had whips, and were whipping them around and smacking the stage in unison. 

Then there was a parade of Krampuses.  There were 3 "groups" – the middle group had a short show where they lifted one of them around on platform or something.  After this was all over, they went into the big crowds that were at the Christmas market, and so we followed them around as they meandered through the market.  After 10-15 minutes of this we finally got a picture of Crystal with a Krampus, which she really wanted after seeing some family photos where the families were sitting there smiling whilst a demon with horns had his arms around their shoulders.  Now she has her own.

We kept following them for another couple minutes, and saw the “end” of the run, just outside the square with the market, and it was weird to see them taking off their masks and chatting with each other.  We walked back to the hotel around 8:30, and asked the front desk what time we needed to be at the train station in the morning.  We had a ticket for 9:22am, but wanted to use the 6:22am.  We knew we could do this, since the tickets were clear that they could be used on any train for the day of the ticket.  What we weren’t sure about, however, was how that worked with seat reservations, since we had one.  The front desk told us to just head over early and talk to one of the people there.  He suggested we get there an hour before the train.  That meant…an early wakeup alarm.  We went up to the lounge, and caught up the trip log on everything from Prague and Salzburg.  We stayed until the place closed at 10:30, at which point we went downstairs and packed, then went to sleep.

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