Cycle to the Sound of Music

Karl Baylis goes exploring Salzburg, Austria, by bicycle. Find out about a rather unique trip. 
Cycling through a park in Salzburg

Cycling through a park in Salzburg

As way of introduction let me state the following article is written by a kiwi male living in London.  I finished watching the sound of music the day before our tour…the running time sped up by skipping the final songs.  I was forced, nay coerced into it by my musical loving girlfriend and the argument that ‘even a naki farm boy liked it so you will too’.  Knowing what battles to fight, I became a cycle tourist around Salzburg in what is undoubtedly the best way to see the city.  Yes, at times it’s slightly cringe worthy but by the end I was singing along and embracing the number one thing that brings tourists to Salzburg.

FYI Salz = salt, burg = fortress.  Salzburg’s beauty lies in the fact salt was highly valued and had to pass through Salzburg (ergo lots of tax money to spend on their castle) and secondly it wasn’t important enough to conquer (ergo castle never tested).

For three hours we cycled over 1000 year old cobble stones, along rivers, past castles and organic dairy farms where we drank fresh, unpasteurised milk (yummy!).  Our lunch break gave us a chance to try the local monastery’s bread – still made the traditional way using a waterwheel.  Let me tell you that modern bread is better; this brick was so dense that it blunted knifes!  Pro tip – go for a local pastry instead.

Over a leisurely 13km we learnt their history…saw the country side all while singing along to Maria’s favourite tunes.  Days later, these tunes would pop into my mind only to be banished with expletives and Austrian beer(s).

Our guide was brilliant, an enthusiastic British girl who fell in love with an Austrian man in Australia and followed him to those ‘noisy hills’.  She knew everything about the movie, the characters, and their real life history.  It’s actually quite sad as the real Maria Von Trap sold the rights for 2,000 American dollars moved to America and remained poor her whole life.

Anyway, we and she didn’t let that stop a good story (you’ll find out why if you do the tour) and we visited all of the major film sites in and around Salzburg…did I mention we sung?  We sung non-stop and by the end of it, I was really getting into it…why not, no one knows me in Salzburg…

Castle over the lake

One of the many castles visited on the trip.

We had the relaxed cruiser style bikes with 5 gears.  Coming from a road bike I found the style very wobbly to begin as small movements to steering are amplified due to the swept handlebars.

Another hill to ride up

Another hill to ride up

Within a few minutes I figured it out but it didn’t really matter because Salzburg is so cycle friendly.  Lots of bike only paths and when you join the road you do so as an equal.  If Auckland were flat (and cycle friendly) I would own a cruiser! Grow my beard and wear plaid…the relaxed hipster.

We went in early September and the weather was warm but overcast.

Information is available on Trip Advisor or to visit the tour operator directly on their Facebook page.

Author: Christopher Baylis

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