• Elaine Mendoza

Geeking Out in Salzburg, Austria: The Sound of Music Film Locations

Salzburg, Austria

“When you cook like Maria, love is sweet as sangria, so whip up a tortilla, you’ll get the idea, and come round to see ya’, down Mexico way.” Ah yes, those are lyrics that I sang in my graduation song from musical theater school in 1998. Let’s remember that this was a time way before “In the Heights” was on Broadway and the only role for a Latina in a traditional American Musical was playing some girl named “Maria” —because apparently there are no other names in Spanish out there. My showcase experience opened my eyes to the reality of musical theater at that time in NYC and the reality of a Latina in show business in general until THIS day. The irony is that we worked hard to blend in, but then we were told to fake an accent, embrace a stereotype, and THEN we could work. However, this article isn’t about my struggle in show business. It's about all things “The Sound of Music” and a little bit of my past helps you understand why I would completely geek-out in Salzburg.  Turns out, that my whole life had been about being “Maria” but I only wanted to be “Maria Von Trapp.”


One of two homes used in the film:


My love story with The Sound of Music started when I was 6 or 7 years old. It’s hard to remember since it feels it has always been a part of my life.   The translation in Spanish for this movie is actually “The Rebel Nun.” We used both titles simultaneously around the house and I just knew that one day I would have to go to this place.  I would go to the do, re, mi steps and take a pic of it.

After I discovered the steps, I decided that I should stand exactly where Julie Andrews stood as she reached that high note. Here it goes, the ultimate Sound of Music obsessed fan selfie.

I have no problems admitting that I am a musical theater geek all the way.  On my trip to Salzburg I also met two Brazilian gals, Adriana and Juliane, and they also fell in love with this town.  I giggled like a school girl with a crush when I noticed that the name of my beer was—wait for it—“Edelweiss.” Sorry for the dark photo. It was a charming local pub.

While my Broadway dreams didn’t come true, some dreams DO COME TRUE. Finally, October 12, 2015 came around and I arrived in Salzburg, Austria.  It was definitely a peak moment in my life.   I feel the reason this musical is so close to my heart is because Rodgers and Hammerstein composed hypnotic melodies and just perfect lyrics. You may say it’s cheesy but I call it romantic. Salzburg is as much a part of the story line as the music. Combine my background in musical theater with my love for this particular musical and suddenly you feel like you are sixteen going on seventeen.

Yes, I went there. I just needed an excuse to use the lyrics in this article.

As if that wasn’t enough to fall in love with Salzburg, some of my favorite desserts were had in this town.  The two desserts below are a MUST try in Salzburg.

Eating a traditional Salzburger Nockerl. Cafe Mozart:


Topfenstrudel in warm vanilla sauce with a cappuccino.  One of my favorite cafe’s in Salzburg. Cafe Mozartwinkel:

The hills are indeed alive and this musical will always remain as my all time favorite in my heart.

Austrian Alps

I got to be Maria Von Trapp for four days and sing my little heart out everywhere I went. After all, it’s actually encouraged when you do “The Sound of Music” filming locations tour.


Wedding scene St. Michael's Church in nearby town of Mondsee:

I was thinking, maybe I should be hired to do this tour during the high season –July and August. :) Anything is possible in this world and in this life. I knew I would somehow make it to Salzburg when I grew up, or should I say when I got “older.”  I handled Salzburg like I owned the place.

The 7 year old in me is still very much alive with you guessed it.. ..(just to be more Sound of Music obnoxious). My four days in Salzburg were just the beginning of my life-long affair with this city. After all, I should do the tour next time on a bicycle shouldn’t I? Cause I have confidence that it will happen. I have confidence in confidence alone. Until then, so long and farewell Salzburg. I hate to say goodbye.

* I wrote this blog post in honor of my High School teacher Ms. Polly Serpan.  She worked with Mary Martin in “Hello Dolly” and she played in National road companies of “The Sound of Music.”  Her talent and inspiration made her an excellent teacher that changed the course of our lives.  She gave me my first solo when I was 17 and five years later I got accepted into a musical theater school in New York City.  Rest in peace Ms. Serpan.  You may have passed away in 2014, but you always live in our hearts and our memories.

For more information on the best tours you can take in Salzburg, please visit: www.PanoramaTours.com


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