We went down for breakfast and found the whole family who owned the inn, waiting for us. After having a slice of bread with nutella, we bid them goodbye. Francis had come to pick us up. He took us to a small bus station, where we waited for the bus that would take us to Salzburg. It was raining hard and I was shivering, even though I was wearing three layers of cloths. To feel warm I went inside a small shop in the bus station. Papa was inside, having a green tea. I got a packet of Skittles and stayed inside for a few more minutes. When our bus showed down the road, I rushed out to gather all my things. We said goodbye to Francis and got into the bus. The sudden warmth inside was comforting. I sat beside mummy, popped the earphones in my ears and started looking through my phone. As the bus started to move, I looked out of the window and saw Francis waiting for us to leave. I waved at him and he waved back, with a smile.
The bus ride passed in dreary silence. Due to the rain, the windows were foggy and we could hardly see anything outside. At long last, the surroundings started to look a bit urban and soon we were getting off on Salzburg Hauptebahnof. I looked around. It was completely different from Salzkammergut. Salzkammergut was all nature and small towns. Salzburg was a proper city with huge buildings, beautiful architecture and highways.
We roamed around looking for our hotel which was supposed to be close to the Hauptebahnof. I noticed a machine, which had symbols of various cigarette brands on it, and a sign with ‘Euro 1’. A lot of people were standing around it, smoking. In Austria a lot of people seemed to smoke. The streets were usually quite clean, except for cigarette butts which people chose to just throw on the ground. We finally located our hotel and checked in. It was nice.
We decided to just drop our luggage and step out, as we would be in the city only for a day. We took a map from the reception and ventured out into the colourful streets of Salzburg. We passed over a bridge and wound through the narrow streets, finally arriving at a church called St. Peter’s, which had been listed as a top sightseeing spot in Salzburg. Outside the church, many people were selling their wares. There was a man selling matryoksha dolls, which have a smaller sized doll inside it. There was a man who was selling his paintings. I bought one of the skyline of Salzburg for Mummy.
We went inside the church. Its magnificence left me awestruck. The door of the church was adorned with intricate designs. I lit a candle out of the many kept at the side. A basin filled with holy water was kept in the middle. I got a bottle of holy water from the souvenir shop.
We went back the same way we had come. For a while we kept walking without a destination, trying to recognize our surroundings, noticing a few things that we hadn’t before. A little later, we figured that we were lost. We wandered around to help ourselves. When nothing worked, we booked a taxi. A kind shopkeeper called a cab for us.
We went back to the hotel and from there we walked a few blocks to a bus stop. Two buses for the ‘Sound of Music’ Tour were parked there. We had reserved the tickets earlier, so we got onto the bus directly.
Our tour guide was an old woman. She shared a brief overview of the tour and the movie, Sound of Music. I had not seen it, but we were told that it was a musical which was shot in Salzburg. It was one of the main reasons behind Salzburg’s popularity. She told us a bit about the movie and its storyline.
The now familiar sight of buildings and roads, transformed into thickets of trees. We drove through the trees and stopped in front of a gate. Our tour guide, led us through the gate towards a glass structure called a gazebo. It was the place where the song ‘Sixteen running on Seventeen’ was filmed. We stopped to take a few pictures. Then we advanced towards a lake.
Mummy and I stopped to coo at a bunch of ducks and ducklings sitting beside the lake. The tour guide showed us a castle called Leopoldskron castle, where scenes of the movie were filmed. She told us that this lake was also the one where many lake scenes had been shot. At that time I hadn’t watched Sound of Music, so I had no idea what she was talking about. The first thing I did on coming back to India was watch it. An then so many things made sense to me, as in why seemingly trivial locations held such importance .
Photographs by Insha Faridoon