Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday in Salzburg and the "Sound of Music" Tour - Day 8

Pat, outside restaurant
Salzburg Souffle

Sunday morning we had a huge breakfast in the hotel. There was so much food: fruit juices, coffee, dry cereals, fresh fruit, cooked cereal, breads, croissants, jams, meats, cheese, eggs, bacon, sausage, hot chocolate.

We sang at the Salzburg International Christian Church. The congregation shares the building with a Catholic church. The bus dropped us off and we walked in the building. We had about a five minute warm-up in a circle around the pews. Then Dave told us to take a seat in the pew closest to us. I sat down and a woman in the pew behind me said hello. She sounded American. So I asked her from where she had come -- Iowa! Then she proceeded to tell me she is an opera singer. During the congregational singing, I heard her voice and it was gorgeous! She told me there are five opera singers in this small church. Her name is Katharine Goeldner, mezzo soprano. She has been living in Salzburg for the past 20 years. Her husband plays bassoon in the Mozarteum Orchestra. He is from Ohio. Sitting next to them was Martha Sharp. She is not only an opera singer - soprano - but teaches at the Mozarteum University. They told me that the black lady further back in the sanctuary was a famous opera singer. I walked back and introduced myself to her. Her name is Grace Bumbry. She told me she has lived in Europe 50 years. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Katharine and Martha were as friendly and common as you and I. Grace seemed a little more "formal." All three said they loved our music and thanked us for coming. Our appearance was a total surprise to the congregation as Dave and Steve had only contacted the pastor on Saturday, the day before. And here's the blessing - the pastor had not yet prepared the bulletin, so he was able to include us in the order of service. God's presence was so obvious to us on this whole trip!

At 2 pm, a bus and tour guide picked us up at our hotel for the Sound of Music tour. It was so much fun! We saw the convent, the two mansions used for the filming - one was used for the front of the house (when Maria arrived and when the Von Trapp family is shown pushing the car toward the end of the movie) and the other for the scenes of Maria and the children arriving in a canoe on the lake. We drove to another area to see the gazebo, which is now in a park. Down the street from the park is the road where Maria is shown arriving at the Von Trapp's for the first time. We saw the trees from which the children, dressed in "play clothes" made from draperies, were swinging, and then we toured the church that was used for the wedding. At the conclusion of the tour, we treated ourselves to apple strudel. Yum!

The tour ended at the Mirabell Gardens where the children had sung "Do, Re, Me." The wisteria was gorgeous! Then we walked over the footbridge (also shown in the movie) to the old city where part of our group met on the steps of the cathedral to have dinner at the St. Peter Stiftskeller. This restaurant was founded in 803 A.D.! Yes, that's right. Check it out. I ordered a beef soup with a dumpling and hot chocolate. Our table of six shared a Salzburg Souffle with raspberry sauce. The dinner was good, the atmosphere like a fairy-tale. The restaurant is built into the side of a mountain.

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