The Sound of Music’s Sweet Salzburg

The Sound of MusicAfter watching an enthralling rendition of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical, The Sound of Music, in Stratford last weekend, it occurred to me thatAustria I’ve never written a post about Salzburg, Austria, which is the idyllic setting for this immortal tale of love based on the memoirs of Baroness Maria Von Trapp.  Reboarding the Sound of MusicAlan and I visited Salzburg while on a river cruise of the beautiful Blue Danube aboard (can you imagine?) a lovely riverboat named The Sound of Music!    🙂   Salzburg AlpsSalzburg is on the border of Germany,  nestled in the foothills of the Alps Mullner Kirche. Salzburg along the Salzach River, Man on Golden Globe. Salzburg and it’s actually the fourth largest city in Austria…a thriving, modern metropolis.Climbing up the Salzburg Fortress However, their “Old Town” city center is still romantically quaint. Salzburg Architecture It’s a UNESCO Heritage site filled with filled with baroque architecture, Salzburg Christmas Decorations and even in the chill of November, it was bright… with Christmas decorations! Sacher Hotel. Salzburg copySalzburg is probably best known to AmericansGardens of Mirabell Palaceas the backdrop for The Sound of Music,Gertraudenkapelle. Salzburg and we visited some of the favorite sites from the movie, Sound of Music. Where children were playing such as the gardens where the children played Abbey where VonTrapps hid. Salzburg and the cemetery where the Von Trapps hid from the Nazis.Christian Doppler Plaque However, Salzburg is also famous as the birthplace of Christian Doppler
(physicist who first described the “Doppler effect”) Mozart's Home. Salzburg and Wolfgang Mozart, who to this day remains one of the world’s
most prolific and enduringly popular classical composers. Mozart Ball. Mozartkugel In fact, Mozart is such an icon in Austria that you can buy Mozartkugel
(“Mozart Balls”…dark chocolate, marzipan, and nougat)
as easily as you can buy a Tim Horton doughnut in Canada!Inside St. Peter's Basilica. Salzburg One of the highlights of our day was stopping to pray
at the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica Alan at lunch. St. Peter's Abbey and then enjoying an incredible luncheon at the famous St. Peter’ Stiftskeller, St. Peter Stiftskeller. 1200 years old!where they’ve been lavishing hospitality on people for over 1,200 years!  St.Peter's 803 ADActually, it’s the world’s oldest restaurant, established in 803 AD,  Nockerl which is more than 1,000 years older than America’s
Ye Olde Union Oyster House in Boston (just to put things in perspective). Cafe Sacher Yet another highlight was teatime at the world-famous Sacher Hotel, Kathi eating Sacher Torte at Sacher Hotel where I couldn’t resist trying a world-class “Sacher torte”Apple Strudel (although Alan couldn’t resist the world-class apple strudel…
second only to our daughter-in-law Gerlinde’s!) Salzach River. Salzburg Makartsteg Just outside the Sacher Hotel is the Salzburg Makartsteg, which spans the Salzach River and is lined with lockets to commemorate great loves. Locks on Salzach River Bridge Sadly, Alan and I hadn’t brought along a locket, but as I examined these cherished treasures, I couldn’t help but think of Sister Maria. Abbey in Salzburg Did you know that she really wasn’t in love with Georg when she married him? Salzburg FortressBeneath the gauze of Hollywood romance Mirabell Palacewas a woman who married out of a sense of duty. Birds flocking in Salzburg She was angry with God on her wedding day, but later wrote in her memoirs: Salzburg from the Fortress “I learned to love him more than I have ever loved before or after.” Roses at Mirabell Palace I think that’s  astounding…and an even happier endingFustung Hohensalzburg(given the reality of her situation) than what’s portrayed in the musical. Gardens outside Sacher Hotel. Salzburg, Austria I also think Maria’s testimony holds out hope
to anyone who’s struggling in their marriage. Roses at St. Peter's AbbeyGod can bless perseverance with true love. For anyone who’s willing! Sound of Music Lake near SalzburgNow the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart,
and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5).

P.S.—Someone who read this pointed out to me that today is Julie Andrews’ 80th birthday…so it’s an especially good day to commemorate this love story!  🙂

Stratford-not-upon-Avon but Almost as Wonderful

Stratford-upon-AvonAlthough Stratford-upon-Avon has a good 750-year head start on Stratford, ON, Shakespeare's birthplaceand certain decided advantages,
most importantly (at least to me) the birthplaces of Shakespeare Anne Hathaway Cottage & Anne Hathaway, with all the quintessential charm of ancient thatched roovesBirthplace of Shakespeare  and half-timbered buildings brightened by many tiny, paned-glass windows Avon River, ON …still, the Stratford that resides upon the Avon River in Ontario, Canada, Perth County Courthouse. Stratford. ON is a city of many charms and gardens, and when Alan and I visited last weekend, Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon we found that even the Shakespearean plays were as creatively re-enacted as any we’ve seen in England (such as the one we saw at The Swan a few years ago). Muse at Festival Theater We visited during “Culture Days,” Sign on Park Benchand so there was not only art in the park along the Avon River, Gallery Stratford  but the Gallery Stratford (and other venues) were free to the public, Listening in The Gallery along with many special events, Alan in Garden by Normal School such as a free Scottish dance class at the Normal School. The Old Rectory, Stratford We stayed at a gorgeous B’n’B called The Old Rectory Kim and Alan at the Old Rectory where Kevin (professionally trained chef from the U.K.) and Kim Creamy Eggs and Salmon at The Old Rectory. Stratford have been dazzling guests with their gourmet breakfasts Garden behind the Old Rectory and the warm ambiance of their historic home for the past 19 years. Shakespearean Gardens. Stratford, ON We spent our days wandering through Stratford’s many gardens and shops, Salmon Salad feasting at their restaurants Butternut Soup and Shepherd's Pie(Bentley’s had [relatively] great prices and good food; their butternut soup
with maple syrup and traditional Shepherd’s pie were both exceptional), Feeding waterfowl along Avon River and meandering among the waterfowl who live along the Avon River. Swan on Avon River. 9.25.15+15 At last count, Lots of Ducks on the Avon RiverI think their numbers may rival that of Stratford’s voting population! Festival Theater, Stratford We spent our evenings enjoying brilliantly acted plays and musicals. Sound-of-Music-Stratford-Festival My favorite was a flawless performance of The Sound of MusicBust of Shakespeare along Avon River although The Taming of the Shrew
showcased a husband-wife team in the leading roles,
which somehow lent the mad comedy even more tongue-in-cheek levity. Swirls in Avon River However funny the premise
that a woman can be tamed through severity in the name of love, Jesus Knocking I have to say that my Lord, Jesus Christ, conquered this wild-hearted Kate, Canoeing at Sunset on Avon River not through severity, but through unending, patient kindness. Sunset on the Avon River Has your heart been conquered by love? Stratford, ONOr, are you waiting for a severe mercy to overcome you?Avon River“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip” (Psalm 18:35-36). Stratford City Hall

(All pictures were taken during our stay in Stratford last weekend, except for the first 4, which were taken in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, several years ago [when I also took the picture of the Swan Theatre].)