Celebrating The Sound of Music on it’s 50th Anniversary!

Mention that you’ve visited Austria and people usually have two reactions: Asking if you’ve seen any kangaroos or, more often than not, launching into a warbled version of “The Hills are Alive” from the beloved film, The Sound of Music.RA Grani

Rogers and Hammerstein’s movie about a young nun-to-be, who becomes governess to seven children (seven children!) and falls in love with a widowed Austrian naval captain, has given decades of adoring fans a glorious glimpse into Austrian culture. Now, we’re celebrating The Sound Of Music as a cherished classic.

Yet, not everyone is in love with the songs of the hills. Critics argue that The Sound of Music is a schmaltzy love story riddled with flaws. In truth, the film is abounding with clichés from the lonely goatherds to the yodel-ay-hee-hooing. Contrary to popular belief, the song “Edelweiss” is not the country’s national anthem. Just try to order Schnitzel with noodles in an Austrian restaurant. It simply isn’t done.

Buried beneath the schmaltz and Roger and Hammerstein’s desperate attempts to rhyme, lie elements of truth. Hike up above the Tyrolean clouds and you’ll find yourself in Fraulein Maria’s world, nestled amongst craggy Alpine peaks. Here is the opening scene from the film, idyllically wrapped in precious stillness, interrupted only by the soft tinkling of bells from the lush meadows.

Whether you love the film or hate it, the beauty of the Alpine background cannot be ignored. The Sound of Music is a riotous celebration of culture and landscape.

For instance, head to the Salzkammergut, where glacial lakes and towering mountain slopes are pulled straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. Villages like St. Wolfgang and Hallstatt have extraordinarily picturesque settings. Visitors may also recognize the charming town of St. Gilgen which was featured in the opening credits of the movie.

The Salzburg city skyline with its green domed cathedrals and imposing fortress will be instantly recognizable to movie fans.

At the Residentzplatz in the center of the city, tourists can splash water from the fountain like Maria. Next visit the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg where the steps are perfect for jumping up and down while do-re-mi-ing. Finally, go to the nearby Nonnberg Convent, where visitors are often treated to the nuns’ voices singing out through the abbey, depending on the time of day.

Wherever you choose to go, the Austrian culture and landscape won’t disappoint. So pick up a crisp apple strudel at the village bakery and climb every mountain. This is the perfect year to do it.