Who better to give you a taste of Salzburg than your very own Julie Andrews/Maria Von Trapp? That's who we had in the form of ebullient Trudy Rollo.

A long-time fan of The Sound Of Music, and originally from the UK, she now spends her days taking tourists to some of the locations used in the film... bursting in to song along the way.

And there are plenty of places for her to Do, Re, Mi in the baroque Austrian city on the border of Germany.

But let's start at the very beginning...

I'd joined a group of journalists on a trip that started in Vienna and an evening at the annual Life Ball, an extravagant, outrageous, totally over the top Aids fund-raiser.

It's themed – with generous discounts on tickets for those in the most elaborate dress – and this year it was The Sound Of Music. The guests' costumes were truly spectacular; there was a live reenactment of the musical, with Austrian singer, drag queen and Eurovision song contest winner Conchita as a bearded Maria; a performance by disco diva Patti Labelle and dancing until dawn... and beyond. An unconventional but amazing start to our Sound Of Music trip.

Next it was on to Salzburg which is known as the location for the film – and as the city where Mozart was born and raised.

The historic city centre with its narrow streets and spacious squares (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), sits amid a stunning mountain panorama. The architecture, art and culture spans both traditional and modern, as did our luxurious base in the city Hotel Sacher.

It had an elegance from bygone years with impeccable decor and all mod cons, including a bathroom mirror that doubled as a TV screen, so you could relax in the tub and view at the same time.

I'm not the only person to have fallen for its charms – according to the photographic walls of fame everybody from the Queen and Dalai Lama to David Bowie and Liza Minnelli have stayed there.

After a splendid breakfast – the Sacher's is the kind that comes with bubbles if you fancy an early Bucks Fizz – we met up with the lovely Trudy for our walk around the city with focus on The Sound Of Music locations. There was the Do-Re-Mi-Fountain and steps in Mirabell Gardens; the Mozartsteg bridge with the famous Fortess in the background and a peek into the Horse Riding School where the family sang Edelweiß before fleeing. We also were treated to some gossip about the real Von Trapp family that I wouldn't dare repeat in print!

A hearty lunch was at the atmospheric St Peter’s Stifskulinarium (stpeter.at/en) said to be the oldest restaurant in Europe; before it was on to the rococo palace of Schloss Leopoldskron – where the children fell into the water after the boat ride and where the original Gazebo stood in 1964.

The Schloss is also the birth place of the Salzburg Festival, founded 98 years ago, and has a fascinating history having once been owned by theatre director and festival co-founder Max Reinhardt. It has accommodation and would be a magical place to stay (Bill Gates is one of its well-known guests).

Slightly off-theme – although the Gazebo from the film has been moved there – but a huge amount of fun was to be found at Hellbrunn, our next port of call. Built in 1613–19 by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, it has a water trick fountain park that dates from that time. It's all the more astounding for relying on water pressure rather than machinery to ensure visitors get a soaking.

The following day we ventured further afield to the Do-Re-Mi picnic meadow above the town of Werfen. The Sound of Music Trail is a wonderful journey through SalzburgerLand covering key highlights from the movie.

By this time our group had bonded nicely and we happily threw ourselves into recreating scenes from the film, like the worst tribute act ever.

The afternoon was spent in the impressive lakes and mountains Zell am See-Kaprun holiday region.

We visited artisan leather manufacturer Tobias Zan (sommerfrische-salzburgerland.at/tipps/88-leder-zant) to discover more about the art of making and etiquette of wearing lederhosen. "They are NOT for women," we were told with a tone approaching horror by a member of latest generation of the family business making the hosen according to tradition.

Then there was a relaxing boat cruise on the lake Zell and a quick dip in it too, before a delicious dinner at the historic restaurant Erlhof (erlhof.at/uk/start_uk.htm) which as been the home and summer residence for many years for the real von Trapp family.

Reality and fiction sometimes mingled on the trip – Hollywood took some liberties with the story – but it was an interesting and enjoyable visit. And that's a fact.


VIENNA LIFE BALL (lifeball.org) 2019 Life Ball will be end May/beginning June. Tickets for 2019 go on sale early 2019, example prices from 2018 are: €90 discount for guests in flamboyant costume, guidelines provided; €180 - elegant/themed costume; €559 -international package including flights, accommodation and entry. For accommodation options in Vienna visit austria.info.com

SALZBURG (salzburg.info)

HOTEL SACHER (sacher.com) double rooms from €175 per person (two sharing room only; breakfast is €35pp)

SALZBURGERLAND (salzburgerland.com)

More Info:

A four-hour Sound of Music Tour is priced from €45 per person with Panorama Tours (panoramatours.com).

The Salzburg Card (€25, €33, €38 per adult for 24, 48 and 72 hours respectively; 50 per cent discount for children) offers free use of public transport and discounted or free entry to most key attractions in the city (salzburg.info).

M32 (m32.at) a stylish restaurant with great food and amazing views over the city offers a one-course lunch from €16 per person.

St Peter’s Stifskulinarium (stpeter.at/en) offers table d’hote meals from €39 per person.

Schloss Leopoldskron (schloss-leopoldskron.com) A two-night package is available from €405 per night (two sharing room only including a one-hour tour and 24-hour Salzburg card).

Hellbrun Palace (hellbrunn.at/en) Trick Fountains (operating in July and August) are €12.50 per person.

Zell am See (zellamsee-kaprun.com) is where members of the Trapp Family lived. 45-minute boat tours on Lake Zell aboard the MS Schmittenhöhe (schmitten.at/en/shipping) are from €15 per person.