Lemonicks https://www.lemonicks.com Travel blog of an Indian couple who bring travel stories from across the globe. Sun, 14 Jan 2018 03:16:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland ! https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/switzerland/charlie-chaplin-in-switzerland/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/switzerland/charlie-chaplin-in-switzerland/#comments Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:12:10 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20869 It all started with my visit to Vevey, a pretty little town on Lake Geneva where Charlie Chaplin spent last 25 years of his life. It was the December chill. I had come here to celebrate Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland.

charlie chaplin statue in vevey switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin in Vevey, Switzerland

Vevey wears the character of Charlie Chaplin

On the first glance itself, the town looked like it was wearing the personality of the evergreen legend.
To begin with, the hotel I was staying in, was named after the legend’s movie ‘Modern Times’. It acknowledged the Little Tramp with Chaplin portraits … Read the rest

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It all started with my visit to Vevey, a pretty little town on Lake Geneva where Charlie Chaplin spent last 25 years of his life. It was the December chill. I had come here to celebrate Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland.

charlie chaplin statue in vevey switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin in Vevey, Switzerland

Vevey wears the character of Charlie Chaplin

On the first glance itself, the town looked like it was wearing the personality of the evergreen legend.
To begin with, the hotel I was staying in, was named after the legend’s movie ‘Modern Times’. It acknowledged the Little Tramp with Chaplin portraits in the bar, corridors and guestrooms. There were TV screens in the lounge area showing clips from his films.
Outside, a statue of him sat on a bench while a huge cutout of him adorned the outer wall.

charlie chaplin in switzerland @lemonicks.com
Corridor of Modern Times Hotel

Läderach Chocolate Shop

chocolate Läderach Chocolate Shop @lemonicks.com
Premium chocolate from Läderach Chocolate Shop

Several places in Vevey pay homage to Charlie Chaplin, particularly the Läderach chocolate shop. Around two decades ago, the chief chocolatier, Blaise Poyet, had approached the Chaplin family about making a confection in his honor. Hence came the Little Tramp’s oversized shoes in chocolate.
Mr Poyet was careful enough to inculcate three characteristics of Charlie in these chocolates.
First, Charlie was strong, So Poyet used dark chocolate. Second, he was very romantic, and for that caramel was used. And third, Charlie was original, so he used pine nuts, which is unusual.
In the town there were several high rise buildings with Charlie Chaplin’s murals. A cafe down the street bore his French pet name, Le Charlot, and a women’s shop had a window decorated with a bowler hat, cane, red rose.

Chaplin’s statue in Vevey

Charlie Chaplin, one of the most prominent stars of the early days of Hollywood, lived an interesting life both in his reel & real lives. Recognized as an icon of the silent film era, he is often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp … the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, funny walk and expressions.

I walked on the same promenade along the lake Genève, where Chaplin used to go for evening strolls with his wife Oona. And I wondered how it would feel to be Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland. Later in life, Oona pushed the wheelchair-bound Chaplin along the path. Now, a bronze statue of the tiny Little Tramp gazes over the lake, posing for tourist photos.

Charlie Chaplin’s House

After being barred from the United States over suspicions that he had communist sympathies, Charlie Chaplin chose Switzerland as his retirement home. He decided to settle in Vevey, along with his wife and children. Four of them were born in Switzerland. The family lived in Manoir du Ban, a 37-acre grounds with a mansion of the neoclassical style of 1840 in the small Swiss Riviera town about 55 miles northeast of Geneva. The snow-capped Alps of France and Switzerland that rose up beyond the far shore of the lake provided the mountainous backdrop. Perhaps he wanted a scenic peaceful surrounding. The house is a collection of his personal effects, rare family photographs, book collections and loads of video clippings.

I have seen his movies umpteen number of times but a home movie in which 70+ years old white-haired Chaplin plays with his children on the front lawn of his mansion showing his other side moved me. He remained a child among his own children. He lived here until his death in 1977.

Chaplin’s childhood, in London, was one of poverty and hardship. His father was absent and his mother Hannah had to fend herself to make the two ends meet. He was sent to a workhouse before the age of nine. When he was 14, his mother was sent to a mental asylum. Thus Chaplin began performing at an early age and became somewhat known to public. His work took him to America at the age of 19. He soon developed the Tramp persona and formed a large fan base. Chaplin loved to direct his own films.

Chaplin was scandal-prone, involved in several controversies of tax evasion and affairs with young women. In one such case, he had to marry a woman who claimed to carry his child.
Chaplin was married four times and had a total of 11 children. In contrast to many of his boisterous characters, Chaplin was a quiet man who kept to himself. He died at age 88 of natural causes on December 25, 1977 at his home in Vevey, Switzerland.

His living room
Personal photographs adorning the walls.
Charlie Chaplin in wax.

The house is now restored into a museum & was inaugurated on 16th April 2016 (his birthday). It is a part of the new complex known as Chaplin’s World. The complex includes the Manoir showcasing his personal life, a cinema museum or studio dedicated to his professional achievements, and a restaurant.

He wanted people to remember him. That’s why he did the films and he did it in such a perfectionist way,” Chaplin’s fifth son Eugene Chaplin told me during the media dinner that evening.
I, then, asked him, which of his father’s movies he would recommend to others. He was thoughtfully silent for a few moments.
Smilingly he said, “You have asked a very thought provoking and simple question. All of his movies are my favourites and I have seen them many times. But I would say, go for my father’s silent movies which he enjoyed making most. He never wanted to make talking movies as they would restrict his audience.
Although the children grew up speaking both French and English, Charlie himself stayed away from French and remained loyal to English.
Later, when I was about to leave, Eugene saw me again and called his photographer to click our pictures. My day was made. 😀

Nisha with Eugene Chaplin, son of Charlie Chaplin vevey @lemonicks.com
Yours Truly with Eugene Chaplin, son of Charlie Chaplin

The next day while taking the museum tour the guide told me, Chaplin had three fears in his life.

He would become mentally ill just like his mother.
He would lose all his money and become a poor again.
People would forget him.

Ice Sculpture at Jungfrau

I left for Interlaken from where we proceeded towards Jungfrau next morning. Coming to Jungfrau was for a reason. To participate and celebrate Charlie Chaplin in the form of an ice sculpture.

************

charlie chaplin ice sculpture jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Charlie Chaplin’s son Eugene with the sculpture
charlie chaplin ice sculpture jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Based on the movie ‘The Kid’, Charlie Chaplin’s ice sculpture at Ice Palace, Jungfrau.

Jungfrau Railways, in collaboration with the Chaplin’s World museum, unveiled an ice statue of Chaplin in the Ice Palace on the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, in his memory. The unveiling was part of a series of commemorations that marked the 40th death anniversary of the movie legend. The British sculptor John Doubleday, who chiefly uses bronze for his sculptures, worked meticulously on it for eight months. All these days, his work remained hidden behind a wall of ice at an altitude of 11,332 feet.

He along with Charlie Chaplin’s son Eugene unveiled the ice statue. The statue would further delight visitors to Jungfraujoch all year round. When I asked him about the difficulties faced in making this sculpture, he whispered in my ears, “I don’t think I’d make many ice sculptures. It’s way too cold to work on!” 🙂

On way to Jungfrau by train, I met with school children between ages 10 to 12. They were dressed as the comedian, complete with bowler hat, suit, moustaches, cane and his bow-legged gait. They had won some contests and were going to be part of this event. It was a great fun to interact with them in my broken French. 🙂

Kids as charlie chaplin jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
Children as Charlie Chaplin posing for me at Jungfrau
Kids as charlie chaplin jungfrau switzerland ©lemonicks.com
A little close up.
charlie chaplin in switzerland @lemonicks.com
How could I be left behind!

Getting there:

Fly direct to Zurich from Mumbai by Swiss International Air Lines and connect to Vevey, Interlaken and Jungfrau by Swiss Rail.

Stay:

Modern Times Hotel on the highway in Vevey is convenient for motorists. It is dedicated to the Charlie Chaplin theme. In Interlaken, I stayed in Grand Hotel Victoria – Jungfrau.

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A complete Guide to Eurail Passes https://www.lemonicks.com/review/transport/complete-guide-to-eurail-pass-faq/ https://www.lemonicks.com/review/transport/complete-guide-to-eurail-pass-faq/#comments Sat, 06 Jan 2018 09:49:29 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20994 Whew! We have completed our 100+ days extended tour of the Europe, for which we gave a hashtag #NiVaEuro. There are so many stories and experiences we would like to share. One of them is travelling by European rail network which was an integral part of our plan. Eurail Pass certainly helped in making our international and Intra-national train journeys fast, fun, scenic and simple.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
The high speed Pendolino EWD350 train by PKP Intercity Premium, Polish Railways

Having had a firsthand knowledge of using a Eurail Pass in a variety of situations, we would like to share all our … Read the rest

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Whew! We have completed our 100+ days extended tour of the Europe, for which we gave a hashtag #NiVaEuro. There are so many stories and experiences we would like to share. One of them is travelling by European rail network which was an integral part of our plan. Eurail Pass certainly helped in making our international and Intra-national train journeys fast, fun, scenic and simple.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
The high speed Pendolino EWD350 train by PKP Intercity Premium, Polish Railways

Having had a firsthand knowledge of using a Eurail Pass in a variety of situations, we would like to share all our experiences, tips and tricks. It includes a guide to using Eurail Passes, types of Eurail Passes and many more things. In short, a Complete Guide to Eurail Pass.

Background

We were still at the final planning stage of our #NiVaEuro trip of the Europe and the time had come to find answers for one of the more important questions.

How were we going to travel within Europe?

Cities within Europe are well connected by Air, Road & Rail and at many places waterways too. Our plan was a loose one, meaning there were unchangeable dates for a few cities because of peak time accommodation rush and the dates in between were sketchy.  It meant that we could not make transportation plans well in advance except for the first few days. So air travel was taken out of equation except for unavoidable conditions.

Hiring a car was a great idea for a few days but ours was a longish program involving multiple countries. And add to that the hassles of buying insurance, high way tax stickers, finding parking place and so on. So we decided to keep this option on need basis.

We were left with Buses and Trains. Buses are less expensive but trains are more comfortable, especially during a night journey. Trains are also faster. After deliberating the pros and cons we decided to use trains most of the time, buses and flights when needed.

One major benefit of travelling by trains, which swung our decision in its favor, is that the main stations are often in the center of the city.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Places visited by us during our #NiVaEuro epic journey 2017

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Ni & Va (NiVa) enjoying the scenery in Croatia
Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Picture perfect! European landscape from train

What is a Eurail Pass?  

First and the foremost is that Eurail does not own any train stock or run any railways. Eurail is an agent or a facilitator that has agreements with as many as 32 European Railways to sell Eurail passes to prospective travelers. A Eurail pass is a single ticket (pass) that allows unlimited train journeys on the date of travel. What it really means is, that you can hop-in and hop out of trains as many times as you want at no extra cost, except for the reservation charges, if applicable.

During our own travels, on almost every one of our travel day we had taken multiple trains to reach our destination and many times even included a day trip. More about it in Tips and Tricks below. 🙂

Eurail however, does not sell point to point train ticket. For which you have to contact the local train station.

Eurail Pass is issued only to Non-Europeans.

Complete guide to Eurail Pass Europe
Eurail Pass kit that includes a large Eurail Map

How many types of Eurail Passes are there?

Eurail passes are designed to suit all pockets, any age group and many types of travel plans.

The Select Eurail Pass is if the travel is between 2 to 4 countries sharing a border. There are multiple options available as to the number of travel days with a validity period of 2 months.  Further options are available whether you want to travel first or second class or if you are a youth (12 to 27 years), Adults (28 and over) or family with kids.

The Global Eurail Pass is for those wishing to travel 5 or more countries. Various options are available as to the number of traveling days and validity period. There are also options for continuous travel. For instance, you buy the 3 months continuous Eurail Pass means that you have the option to travel on each one of the day on unlimited trains.

For Global Eurail Pass, if one of the travelling group is an adult then the only option is to buy a First Class Eurail Pass. However if youths aged between 12 and 27 travel alone or in a group, have the option to buy second class pass too. Good news for families is that two kids below 12 may travel free with each adult.

For our #NiVaEuro trip we got the 15 travelling days with 2 months validity. So we had to choose our starting date wisely to make sure we could cover as much ground as possible. We tried to schedule our longer travels during this period, because beyond two months we had to either buy 1 month Eurail pass or travel point to point. We decided on point to point as that was working out cheaper since we were covering just a few cities and staying more days in each of them after the expiry of the Eurail Pass.

Country Specific train passes

In addition to Select and Global Eurail passes one could obtain country specific multiple day passes too. The prices and conditions vary and the details are provided at One Country Eurail Pass.

The travel options starts from 3 days in a month.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Single Country Eurail Passes with suggested minimum price

Some discounts are available if you decide to travel as a group under 1 ticket.

Please note that all Eurail Passes are paper tickets. Mobile tickets are not available as of now.

Should I buy Eurail Pass at all?  Is it worth it?

It is not mandatory to buy Eurail Pass to travel on European Train Network. If the travel is just point to point then single tickets may work out better. Many times we have taken a bus because either the train timings were not suitable or the bus was just too inexpensive.

Eurail Passes may not be the cheapest option but certainly is a convenient option and cheaper if you consider point to point individual first class tickets.

We personally found that during our trip, which involved long distances over 11 countries, Global Eurail Pass was certainly helpful, added to that some of the night journeys we took helped us save on the hotels too.

Other points you may consider before deciding for or against, is at the Tips & Tricks and Benefits section below.

Everyone’s travel styles, likes and dislikes are different. That means each individual must do her/her calculations to see if it is worth it. Feel free to discuss should you have any query. Some people like to travel only by train.
While I waited at Sofia ticketing counter to book my night train ticket to Varna, I met a couple of Australians who wanted to go to Plovdiv. I told them to take the bus as we had just been to Plovdiv the previous day by bus which was frequent, fast, cheap and most comfortable. They wanted to go by train only.

Of late some of the train companies have started variable pricing policy based on supply and demand, just like airlines. That is another input to the hair-pulling arithmetic equation! <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />

Should I buy Eurail Pass in advance?

It is better to buy it in advance to save time. However certain Eurail passes may be bought at the station but may be more expensive. Global Eurail Pass must be bought in advance and preferably get it delivered at your home address. Eurail pass may be bought up to 11 months in advance, before your first travel day. It is also important to get it activated before travelling at the starting train station.  We got our Global Eurail Pass more than one month before the travel commencement.

Is Eurail Pass Valid in all European countries and all their networks?

Eurail passes are valid across 28 countries on over 30 rail companies. We found out early in our travels that reservation charges and sleeper are applicable in high speed and night trains for sleeper.

Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
Moonshine during ferry crossing across the Baltic sea.

In addition, it is also valid on Buses run by Deutsche Bahn (DB). Yes, DB the German train company also runs buses on select routes. We actually took a night bus from Copenhagen to Berlin. It included a bonus of 40 minutes luxury ferry ride. 🙂 Where the bus and train too (I am not joking!) are carried by the ferry to the other side of Baltic Sea.

There are numerous ferry services where Eurail Pass is valid.

We installed an app called RailPlanner to help us with train schedules and information which actually helped us in identifying the trains in which these passes were valid. When in doubt we double checked with the conductor at the train or when we had time at the ticketing counter.

Can I use Eurail Pass for travelling to many countries by multiple trains in a day? 

The Select and Global Eurail Pass allows you to travel across multiple countries (as specified in the pass) and take multiple halts on a single travel day. You may also go out to another country and return to the originating country.  For example Bratislava is just one hour by train from Vienna. Once could do a day trip easily.

It looks like Eurail does not cover one of the countries I want to visit. What shall I do?

It is no big deal. If you so badly want to visit that country, all you need is to buy a direct ticket by train, bus or plane, to that country or city. Of course make sure you have the passports and visas for that country.  Please note that the United Kingdom is not part of Eurail but Ireland is, although it does not share a land border with rest of the Eurail countries.

Is Schengen Visa Valid in all of the Eurail Pass network countries?

Eurail pass covers a few Non-Schengen countries too. It is up to the traveler to ensure she/he has valid documents to enter Non-Schengen countries. Having said that, we found during our planning stage that some of them allowed entry if one had a valid multiple-entry Schengen visa. This was actually a blessing in disguise as it enabled us to travel over 100 days by travelling to Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria and save our Schengen days. Other Non-Schengen countries covered by Eurail Pass are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania and Turkey.

The passport control happens on the train. If it is a Schengen to Schengen border crossing there may or may not be a cursory check. However for Schengen to non-Schengen there is a mandatory passport control and the officers actually board the train and checks the passport. It may take a few extended minutes to a few hours. We will write about our border crossing experiences separately. 🙂

Tips and tricks for using a Eurail Pass

  • Activating Eurail Pass: Before commencing your journey using a Eurail Pass, it needs to be activated by filling up the starting date and getting it stamped at the ticket counter. This is imperative and not doing it is tantamount to travelling ticketless!
  • How and Where to use: Before boarding or as soon as you board before the conductor comes to check the tickets, the travel date must be entered on the pass at the designated column and the train, bus or ferry details filled out in the attached travel diary. It is likely that for one travel date on the pass, there may be several entries of individual trains on the travel diary.
  • The conductor would then punch the date on the pass and the train details on the side. We found that many times the train conductors would not punch the date or would not punch at the right place. That is okay. Once in a while, you will come across a conductor who would want to see your passport too and he is well within his rights to do so. This is just to ensure the identification of the person carrying the pass. There was at least one conductor who had never seen a Eurail pass, or so it appeared to us. But there were no questions asked any way. Probably lack of knowledge of English was the reason. In general the conductors were very courteous and on many occasions they helped us with our luggage too.
  • Reservations and other charges (country specific): On some trains, generally the high speed trains, prior reservation is obligatory and the charges vary from Zero euros upwards. Yes, there was no reservation charges for our Krakow to Wroclaw night train. There are other trains in which reservation is optional. While one can jump into the train without reservation, it is possible the seat you are occupying belongs to someone who has reserved it.

Here is an experience. When we boarded the train from Prague to Brno we decided not to get a reservation and occupied two vacant seats but soon we were displaced by others having reservations. It was peak holiday season! The conductor helped us in procuring one seat for Nisha and I sat in the restaurant car for the rest of the journey. 🙂

Other charges that may be levied is the sleeper charges. This could be very nominal or very expensive depending on the country and the train. The most expensive for us was EUR72 each on a first class sleeper in Austria by OBB. It had its own perks of personalized service, wake up call, free snack, coffee / tea and breakfast too. While it was not cheap, it certainly was worth the experience with an attached private shower. <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> We did this only for experience and I am sure air ticket might have been cheaper and faster.

  • App for travel planning: We downloaded the Railplanner app for planning our journey schedules. It is a very robust software and gives multiple connectivity options. One could give route suggestion and select only trains on which reservations are NOT mandatory to save money.

In addition we also used app by regional railways like DB, OBB, CD and PKP etc. to get a feel of the reservation charges upfront.

  • Point to point, short distances and bus connectivity: It is important to research well if you want to save on the travel days and money. For example, to go to Trier we decided to take the German one day pass for two at EUR52 which gives complete coverage in Germany for almost 24 hours. Many times to do a day trip, it is not worth using the Global Pass because either there are no good connections, there is no first class or takes too much time. In such situation we have taken buses which are generally quite inexpensive.

When we travelled from Prague to Brno, we realized later that we should not have used the pass and instead booked a second class journey which would have cost under 10Euros a ticket.

By the time we reached Austria our Global Eurail Pass had expired. We found that there were train companies which were not on RailPlanner app that provided cheaper services; for example from Salzburg to Vienna. The information available on the station was sketchy except for a couple of advertisements. The tickets had to be bought only on-board the train.

    • To save a precious travel day, if your travel is within just one country for one day, then it is advisable to explore single country single day unlimited travel passes issued by the local / regional railways. For example, while in Germany we got a day pass (Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket) for 2 with the only condition that we stick together. 🙂 In fact as many as 5 adults could have travelled on that pass on payment of a marginal additional fee. For us it cost EUR 52, to travel as we pleased on any German regional train network and S-Bahn for one day that is from 9:00AM to 3:00AM. This helped us to take a day trip to as far as Trier from Frankfurt and back. A total of over 400KM by train.
    • Recording in Travel Diary: For each sector of your train journey a line of details must be recorded on the travel diary. Not doing this may attract admonition to fines depending on the mood of the conductor. 🙂 The travel diary has space for 25 journeys. If you run out of space you could use one tear-off from the Eurail Guide which comes with the pass and if you run out of that also, then you can download extra page from Eurail website and attach it to the ticket.
    • Classes of tickets: For sitting journey there are First and second class. Depending on the train and country, the first class could be cabins or open seating with wide seats.
Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
1-2 arrangement in First Class. Hallmark of comfort and luxury in train travel
  • Night Trains: Many night trains have sleeper coaches. They could be 4 or 6 couchettes to a cabin or just 2 in a luxury cabin. What we did a few times was joined the 2nd class cabin seats to provide reclining position. Of course one could flip up the arm rest for more space too. This is possible only if it is not crowded.
  • 7 PM rule: This is the most attractive part of Eurail and we fully used this feature to the core. By properly using this rule one could travel for more than 24 hours on a single travel day!

Normally a travel day starts from midnight and ends at next midnight. However, if the travel commences after 7:00 PM on a day and the train is scheduled to reach final destination after 4:00 AM then you are allowed to mark the travel date as the next day and use up the whole of next day travelling too.

For example.  We took a train from Krakow on 5th at 10:00 PM which was to reach Wroclaw on 6th at 6:00 AM. We marked the travel date as 6th on the travel diary. On reaching Wroclaw we dumped our luggage at the locker and proceeded towards Jelena Gora and a couple of other places and explored till evening. If this rule had not been there then we would have had to mark both 5th and 6th on the travel diary and thereby losing a travel day.

  • The 7 PM rule is applicable only to Global Eurail Pass.
  • High Speed Trains: It is important to note that most High Speed trains charge reservation fees. On the plus side is that it saves quite some time.
  • Luggage: Luggage is not a problem as there is lot of storage space on the rack above the seats or designated space near the wagon door. If it is not there then we just keep it alongside our seats on aisle. There are luggage related rules but it is seldom followed or checked.

In most of the cities we visited, there were either coin operated luggage lockers or manned luggage store at the train station. We often used this facility after checking out of the hotel and before the night train. It gave us extra hours to explore the city. Once we even left our suitcases at the Sofia station for a couple of days while we went off to visit Varna ! The charges were nominal.

  • Bicycle: Bicycles are not covered by Eurail Pass and you must enquire for the trains and charges at the ticketing counter.
  • Pets: Similarly Pets are not covered. Small pets generally are allowed free of charge. However it is best to enquire at the station for the applicable charges and conditions.
  • Food and Drinks: You may bring food and beverages from outside and consume it in the train. Many stations have shops where one can stock up. Some trains will have a restaurant car too or a push cart selling food and beverages. They are more expensive than on street but not exorbitant. Bottom line is eating and drinking is ok on board European trains.
  • Although some public transports are included in Eurail Pass, it is not cost effective as you are supposed to make an entry in the Journey Diary and thereby use up a valuable travel day.

Other Benefitsof Eurail Pass

  • There are many first class lounges scattered in Europe and a holder of First Class Eurail Pass can use this facility on the date of travel. You can indulge in complimentary drinks and snacks. We had a late night train from Vienna to Zagreb and we could use the super luxury lounge while we waited. 🙂 It was as good as any Airport lounge. There was so much food that we had to forego our dinner.
  • Discounts on various sightseeing tours and entry ticket to museums and other attractions. Just ask if the discounts are available and flash your Eurail Pass to avail the discounts.
  • You don’t have to stand in line for tickets unless a reservation is necessary.
  • Eurail have created a few historic and scenic itineraries that you may follow.
  • Discounts on accommodation are available at select chain of hotels and hostels.
  • Some scenic trains such as Bernina Express and Glacier Express is covered by Eurail Pass. Only reservation amount need be paid.
  • Superfast ferries between Italy and Greece are covered including stopover at the beautiful island of Corfu.
  • Long distance ferry rides in Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Switzerland and many other countries are fully covered or heavily discounted. If it is not fully covered you save your travel day too!
  • In some countries public transport is included S-Bahn in Germany.
  • Wi-Fi is available on some of the high speed trains.
  • Laptop and mobile charging points in first class and some of the second class coaches.
  • Longer the journey, better are the chances for striking a conversation with a fellow traveler and learn about the place.
  • Finally if you send the ticket and travel diary back to Eurail (postage is prepaid) then they will send a small gift in token of appreciation. Eurail uses this data for their research and analysis.
  • Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe
    A token gesture by Eurail on sending the completed Travel Diary

What happens when you lose your Eurail Pass?

If the Eurail Pass is stolen or misplaced then it is a dead loss and it cannot be replaced. We will have to buy a new pass. On buying a pass protection insurance, some amount may be redeemed depending on the balance number of days left.

Is Rail Pass different from Eurail Pass?

Rail pass is equivalent of Eurail pass for European citizens and permanent residents in Europe. Some of the rules of service are different so also the pricing.

How to order a Eurail Pass?

Eurail passes may be ordered on by visiting Eurail Passes or www.raileurope.co.in

Watch out for seasonal discounts from time to time.

Please note that once the order is confirmed it is almost impossible to change it. It is important to be sure of what type of Pass you want, the names and other particulars before ordering.  You can pay by credit card, debit card and PayPal. You may of course cancel it at a fee of 15% if the Eurail Pass is not validated.

Create Your Own Story!  

This is the tagline for Eurail Passes and our story is as follows.

We had a Global Eurail Pass valid for two months and included 15 travel days.

We performed 31 journeys on 15 travelling days.

Out of 100+ days our Global Eurail Pass was valid for 2 months in which we travelled to 21 cities in eight countries, namely, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia and Croatia.

Our first journey was a DB bus journey from Copenhagen to Berlin (which included ferry crossing) then by train to Gdansk.

Last journey was a day trip to Varazdin from Zagreb.

Eurail Pass ran out when we reached Slovenia.  We still used trains for all of our journeys in Slovenia and Austria and finally to Munich. For Ljubljana to Lake Bled we use bus because it was much more convenient.

In this period we performed 6 night journeys saving 6 hotel nights.

In addition, we took three independent bus rides and one local train trip for day trips as they were much cheaper and saved 4 precious Eurail Pass travel days.

We travelled to 7 cities in two countries before Eurail Pass kicked in and 9 cities in 3 countries after its expiry. Germany was our base where we entered and exited many times.

Whenever we reached a destination in the morning, we normally took off for a day trip to another town or village to extract more juice from the Eurail Pass. Hum to aise hain Bhaiya! <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />

Conclusion

The essence of the matter is, if your plan includes an element of uncertainty, many days, long distances, multiple countries & cities, high speed & night journeys then Eurail Pass is for you. If you love train travel then other factors do not matter much anyway! #CreateYourOwnStory. We created ours!

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Complete guide to Eurail Passes, Europe

Disclaimer: Eurail had supported our travels with 15 days in 2 months Global Eurail Passes but the opinions, as always, are our own.

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The Year That Was 2017 https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/the-year-that-was-2017/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/the-year-that-was-2017/#comments Fri, 29 Dec 2017 20:53:10 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20937 The Year That Was 2017:
I can’t believe another year is about to end in a day and it’s time again to stop and look back. To take stock of our journeys, not only in terms of travel but the journeys which opened a new horizon, a new meaning for both of us and helped us to see the world with diverse perceptions.

This year we decided to  travel together more than we did in the past. We just wanted to do it. It was a joint decision. That doesn’t mean we do not travel alone, but less in number.… Read the rest

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The Year That Was 2017:
I can’t believe another year is about to end in a day and it’s time again to stop and look back. To take stock of our journeys, not only in terms of travel but the journeys which opened a new horizon, a new meaning for both of us and helped us to see the world with diverse perceptions.

This year we decided to  travel together more than we did in the past. We just wanted to do it. It was a joint decision. That doesn’t mean we do not travel alone, but less in number.

This year also saw us going on our epic trip of Central and East Europe spanning over 100+ days. On this trip, we visited a total of 11 countries and more than 40 towns. Most countries were new, some revisited. We did a lot of day trips also.

It was also the year when I was not really in the pink of my health.

This year we travelled abroad more than to Indian towns. Total of 14 countries and some part of India were explored. 🙂

So, without any further delay, we’ll show you a glimpse of our journeys. Only photos for each country.

Finland:

Office of Santa Claus saariselka lemonicks.com
Office of Santa Claus in Lapland, Finland

My first international trip was to Finland and I loved being among reindeer and learnt a lot more about Sami tribe and their culture.

Sharjah:

Things to do and see in Sharjah
Al Noor Masjid, one of the most impressive mosques of Sharjah during Sharjah Light Festival 2017

While I was in Finland, Vasu visited Sharjah. He was right in time for the Sharjah Light Festival when they have colored laser light shows on major monuments.

Our East Europe trip which we nicknamed as #NiVaEuro started from Germany, for the simple reason because we flew Lufthansa.

Germany:

trier lemonicks.com
We explored Frankfurt, Trier, Cologne, Bad Homburg, Eltville, and Saxony region. We wish we had at least one month for Germany alone.

Denmark:

little mermaid copenhagen lemonicks.com the year that was 2017

We flew in to Denmark where we spent 7 days in Copenhagen itself. We loved the countryside and the fact how important cycle is for the common man. The cyclists get a priority over vehicles everywhere. More on this later.

Poland:

Old town square Warsaw @ lemonicks.com
I had visited Poland earlier too but it was a first for Vasu. Out of all the countries that followed it, this was the most helpful, developed and charming country. Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, and Jelenia Gora were the cities that we explored.

Czech:

prague city from lenta park lemonicks.com

Prague was our first stop. It’s a huge city with much history which, in our opinion, is not a task of 4-5 days. So obviously we weren’t satisfied with the time we spent here. We have to come here again. We also visited Brno for 4 days and Olomuc for another couple of days. Loved these comparatively smaller towns.

Hungary:

parliament house budapest lemonicks.com

Hungary was next and we spent most of our time in Budapest itself. We were travelling slow, so spending time at one place made sense. Seven days in all, the beautiful Budapest needed more time. Besides Budapest, we also visited smaller towns like Szentendre.

Most of the time we were using Eurail Pass but we also had to keep count on our Schengen days. To make it more visible, we flew in to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria from Budapest. Vasu will tell you why, in his post about Eurail.

Bulgaria:

varna cathedral bulgaria @ lemonicks.com
Bulgaria was a completely different ballgame. Very different from other European countries, not that developed in terms of infrastructure etc but still it was Europe! And any European country is better than India when we talk about infrastructure. We did a round trip of Bulgaria starting with Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Madara and back to Sofia.

Serbia

belgrade

Next was Serbia and we took a train from Sofia to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. We will never forget this train journey for some reasons. We will also never forget the night train journey we took from Belgrade. We were singled out as Indians, our passports were seized at midnight while the train waited in the middle of nowhere and lot more. 🙂 Nevertheless, we enjoyed Serbia like any other country.

Slovakia:

UFO bridge bratislava at night lemonicks.com

Slovakia had a lot more to offer us than expected. Again spent a week in Bratislava itself and also visited a few smaller towns like Pezinok and Tranava. We loved interacting with the locals and going to the same place at different time of the day.

Croatia:

zagreb old town cathdral lemonicks.com

Croatia was another gem though it rained a lot during our stay. I loved the trams juggling on zigzag tracks. We also visited some unknown touristy towns like Krapina, Sisak, Virazdin, Zabok etc.

Slovenia:

lujbliana slovenia dragon lemonicks.com

If there is a country in which I would like retire, it is Slovenia. The country is extremely beautiful, full of natural beauty and very close to the Western Europe. I would like to go there again for a longer period to stay.

Austria:

The first stop in Austria was Westendorff, a small comparatively non touristy ski town and it’s kind of a place where you can spend days together. Surrounded by snow-capped Alps, it has just around 200 houses. We also visited other known cities like Innsbruck which we loved, Salzburg where we went to Sound of Music tour and experienced a few more attractions. We spent nearly a week in Vienna to round off and went to Munich to catch our flight back home.

Switzerland:

grindelwald switzerland train lemonicks.com

Switzerland in December was for unveiling & inauguration of Charlie Chaplin’s ice statue on top of Europe Jungfrau, on his 40th memorial day. I was part of international media and was representing India. We visited Interlaken, Vevey, Grindelwald. It was a nostalgic trip as I was visiting the country after 19 years !
After the official tour got over, I stayed back and went to Geneva to explore the city on my own. I went to all those places where we lived and used to go and I found myself smiling all the time. 🙂

Lucknow:

bada imambara at night lucknow lemonicks.com

After coming from Europe, we made short trips to Delhi, and Lucknow. Lucknow was the first time for both of us. Lucknow has so much history and food that we could easily extend our trip by another week.

Next year, we are travelling from January itself. All domestic personal trips.

Now you decide for me, how the year 2017 treated us. 😀

P.S.- You may read previous annual recaps here.
The Year that was 2015
How was the Year 2011

If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do me a favour. Please visit my site and help me taking action by letting me know against this theft. Thank you.

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We are the Corinthians! https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/czech-republic/prague/corinthia-prague-luxury-hotel-review/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/czech-republic/prague/corinthia-prague-luxury-hotel-review/#comments Thu, 21 Dec 2017 03:55:52 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20878 The tall structure in front of us, kissing the clouds, looked like a state of the art office building. Its design was far removed from the buildings of ancient Corinthia in Greece. Maybe even the present day Corinthia for that matter. It looked as if the Corinthia Prague luxury hotel, had set a new benchmark for the city’s premium hotels. It was a surprise for us since we were looking for a “Hotel” kind of building. 🙂

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
A view of Prague from one of the top floors of Corinthia hotel.

The Hotel

We crossed the circular drive on foot after … Read the rest

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The tall structure in front of us, kissing the clouds, looked like a state of the art office building. Its design was far removed from the buildings of ancient Corinthia in Greece. Maybe even the present day Corinthia for that matter. It looked as if the Corinthia Prague luxury hotel, had set a new benchmark for the city’s premium hotels. It was a surprise for us since we were looking for a “Hotel” kind of building. 🙂

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
A view of Prague from one of the top floors of Corinthia hotel.

The Hotel

We crossed the circular drive on foot after getting off the at the Vyšehrad metro station. It was just about 50M and it helped getting out of the warm weather into the comfort of the climate controlled lobby quickly. 🙂
The hotel, part of the Corinthia Group of Malta, was on top of one of the seven hills of Prague and the view of the city was amazing from the top of the hotel. We could not believe our ears when they said that the hotel was built in 1988, during the fag end the communist era!

Corinthia prague luxury hotel review
High rise Corinthia Hotel, Prague

Check-in was a breeze but we decided to have a cup of coffee before going to our room, at the lobby lounge hooking our mobile phones to the free high speed Wi-Fi and catching up on communications. We were looking forward to experience all the services of this hotel.

The Room

Hotel has in all 539 rooms including 22 suites and also a high number of 24 meetings rooms! The unique things is, every room is of the same size of 23 SqM and the Suites 49 SqM. The category is based on the amenities provided or the position of the rooms. Interconnecting rooms are available on request for all categories of rooms.

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
A view of the room

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic

We were in an Executive Room where, apart from all the standard amenities, we were allowed unlimited access to the Executive Club on the 22 floor, the pool, the fitness center, the sauna and the steam room too. One amenity we did not use was to book the executive board room for 1 hour, allowed gratis. Were we on a work related tour, we certainly would have.

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Welcome bubbly.
Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Goodies after turndown service

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic

A fine bottle of wine, chocolates and fruits were waiting for us when we returned in the evening. What a welcome, after a tired day of sightseeing. The room was super-luxuriously furnished with all amenities including large size LCD TV, premium coffee maker and fluffy bathrobes.

Dining

The breakfast is served on the first floor restaurant aptly named “Let’s eat”. The spread was elaborate and could seat over 200 persons. Still sometimes it is possible you may have to wait. Such is the popularity of the hotel. One would have to stay multiple nights to be able to give justice to such a spread. We cooked our own Belgian Waffles every day!

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic

Our favorite hangout was the on the 22nd floor, the Executive Club Lounge. The views were fabulous and it was open from morning till night. We could catch up on our work at the same time catch up on complimentary snacks and drinks. 🙂 Only guests staying in the suites or the Executive rooms are allowed access here.

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Pilsner Urquell. World’s first Pilsner beer.

Other fine dining options were The Grill, famous for its International Cuisine. Lounge 62 for lounging around if you are fed up of the Executive Lounge. Name so because 1962 was the year of commencement of Corinthia in Malta and lastly Rickshaw for Asian cuisine.

Wellness

Prague is a city where you cannot avoid high calorie intakes with all the pilsners and trdelniks. We found the perfect way to burn all these calories at the wellness center on the top floors of the hotel. This was one of the best equipped wellness centers we have ever experienced.

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Waiting room at Apollo Spa
Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Thai massage room at Apollo Spa
Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
The roof top heated pool with an awesome view of the city

We started our day at the half-a-floor large gym, fully equipped with the latest fitness equipment. A large covered swimming pool that could be used on any day, rain or sunshine, was our refuge after a tiring session at the gym.
We could hardly wait for our turn at the Apollo Spa. We both chose different massage treatments from the menu.

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Apollo Spa Massage room
Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Plunge pool at the wellness center to cool oneself after sauna or steam

Nisha picked the aromatherapy, whereas I selected the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi. At the end of it we only wished it would go on forever! We thought they could do with a couple massage room too, which they do not possess at present.
And after the hour long massage treatment, a few minutes in the steam or the Sauna for a complete relaxation. I would have loved to go to sleep at this point but there were more calories to be tucked into, by way of dinner. 🙂

Other Features

The Corinthia Conference and Events Centre occupies an entire floor and offers meeting facilities are divided into 22 rooms for upto 1000 delegates. The meeting facilities are divided in two separate sections joined by a scenic foyer with panoramic views over the city. Of course many of the meeting rooms can be merged and largest merged room can accommodate 500 people in a theater style seating.

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Corinthia Hotel Prague at night

Wi-Fi speeds were excellent wherever we used at various areas of the hotel.
Concierge knew his city very well and was very helpful in guiding us about the city. One could also buy public transport tickets from him! So you have your tickets ready before you step out of the hotel and get into the metro station.

Location

Vyšehrad metro station just under the high way connecting to Brno and Vienna is practically in the same premises as the hotel.
On the other side of the highway is the Congress Convention Center. During our stay the 28th International Montessori Congress was being held there and many delegates were staying in Corinthia Hotel. It was so convenient to simply walk to the event venue via the aerial bridge.
The main railway station, Praha Hlavní Nádraží is only 3 metro stops away and just 4 stops away from Florenc bus station.

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic
Vyšehrad fortress area

The old city of Prague is 5 minutes to 15 minute by metro, depending where you want to go.
The metro station and the hill is named after a beautiful castle called Vyšehrad just 20 minutes walking distance from the hotel. We had great time at the castle but missed the walking tour because of time constraints. All about Vyšehrad later!

And, of course, we wish to visit Prague again ! 🙂

⇓⇓ Pin it. ⇓⇓

Corinthia Prague Luxury Hotel Czech Republic

Disclaimer: We stayed at Corinthia Hotel, Prague at their invitation but the opinions, as always, are own.

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The Sound of Music Movie Locations https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/austria/salzburg/sound-of-music-movie-locations-salzburg-attraction/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/austria/salzburg/sound-of-music-movie-locations-salzburg-attraction/#comments Sat, 09 Dec 2017 23:53:32 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20802 Only the night before we watched the epic movie the Sound of Music one more time. There were two reasons. One was to get into the mood of the movie & remember the lyrics and the second was to make note of various movie locations and try to track them in real life.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Panorama of Salzburg city from the top of Mönchsberg. On the right is the Salzburg fortress and on the hill on the left is the Capuchin Monastery

It was several decades back when it was first released in India and it left a lasting impression, not the … Read the rest

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Only the night before we watched the epic movie the Sound of Music one more time. There were two reasons. One was to get into the mood of the movie & remember the lyrics and the second was to make note of various movie locations and try to track them in real life.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Panorama of Salzburg city from the top of Mönchsberg. On the right is the Salzburg fortress and on the hill on the left is the Capuchin Monastery

It was several decades back when it was first released in India and it left a lasting impression, not the story but the music. (The other musical that impressed me was My Fair Lady, around the same time). Soon after, an LP record was duly acquired and played endlessly till it became scratchy.

At that age (I was just a small kid), Nazis and WW2 did not mean a thing. It was only later while reading history I could connect the dots. That was the time I promised myself that someday in my life I would go to those very places where the movie was shot.

Nisha too had had a similar desire in her childhood and so when we planned our 100+ day #NiVaEuro trip, we created an opportunity to spend some extra time in Salzburg. Yes, the city where it all happened.
The movie, as we all know, is based on the memoirs of Maria Von Trapp called The Story of the Von Trapp Family Singers and the Broadway musical The Sound of Music. Mind you, there was another movie on the subject in German in the fifties which was quite a hit in Austria and Germany. We are told that the German version inspired the Broadway musical.

So here goes The Sound of Music Movie Locations in Salzburg and around.

Let’s start at the very beginning at Salzkammergut (of the Sound of Music)

The opening scenes were shot from a helicopter over the lake region of Salzburg, Salzkammergut. We found that the lake region was one of the most picturesque area near Salzburg. The shimmering blue lakes of Fuschlsee, Wolfgangsee and Mondsee were treat to eyes. We believe if one has to do a day trip then this undoubtedly makes the list. What’s more! These lakes are quite close to each other and there are many more lakes around this region.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
A view of Wolfgangsee lake. In the foreground is the town of St Gilgen
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Mondsee Lake on a very bright day

The title song The Sound of Music was sung by Maria while cavorting on the fields and meadows of Mehleweg about 18 KM from Salzburg. It is in Germany. Maria however claims that she was in Untersberg Mountains when questioned by Mother Abbess. We were told that it was a private property and the owner almost never allowed pesky tourists. 😉

How do you solve a problem like Maria at Nonnberg Abbey

Maria is late for the evening prayers while the Mother Abbess and sisters are discussing (musically) with exasperation what to do with this flibbertigibbet. This is filmed at the Nonnberg Abbey which is in existence since early 8th century. It was burnt and built a few times. The current structure is the same as it was in the 17th century. No one except the nuns are allowed inside the abbey, so the filming was done in Hollywood sets.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Nonnberg Abbey, Salzburg

We had a fleeting glimpse of Nonnberg abbey while driving. The access street to the abbey on the hill was too narrow for our coach to negotiate.

Mother Abbess sends her off as a governess to Captain Von Trapp’s seven children, Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl in the order of age, oldest to youngest.

I have confidence in confidence alone!

There is a scene where Maria coming out of the abbey looks down at the beautiful city of Salzburg. In reality it is not possible as the abbey is located on the other side of the fortress. The scene was shot from the Humboldt terrace on top of Mönchsberg hill that is now the site of the new Museum of Modern art. We took the lift to the top of the hill and were rewarded with one the best views of Salzburg city and Festung Hohensalzburg (Salzburg Fortess). We lost track of time and ended up staying till the darkness fell.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
An evening view of Salzburg from Moenchsberg
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Hellbrunner Allee where Maria sings I have confidence

Maria then passes through the old town arches and Residenzplatz square and splashes water from one of the most magnificent and complex fountains we saw in Salzburg. Four horses seem to jump out of the fountain while snorting water. On the rock are three giants holding up a basin with three dolphins. They are in turn holding up a smaller basin on which stands Triton, son of Neptune, blowing water into the air through his ever-present conch shell. Whew! This fountain is again seen in the scene where Maria comes to the market with the children for Do-Re-Mi and yet again when Nazi soldiers march in.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Schloss Frohnburg in Salzburg. © Tourismus Salzburg.

She then takes the bus to Captain’s residence. She runs down the Helbrunner Allee singing I have confidence in me. In the movie the real house of Captain Von Trapp is never shown. The gate, façade and the front yard is of Frohnburg Schloss (Schloss = palace) which has been converted to a music school nearly 200 years ago.
All the scenes inside Baron’s house were recreated in Hollywood. The real Von Trapp house address is Villa Trapp, Traunstraße 34, 5026 Salzburg and anybody can go and stay there. 🙂

Fellows I meet may tell me I’m sweet!

While having dinner the same day, Rolf the postman brings a telegram to the Captain. The plot thickens :-)… The captain is going away to Vienna to get his “friend”, the Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Uncle Max. In the meanwhile, the eldest daughter Liesl who secretly loves Rolf, slips away from the table furtively and the young couple sing I Am Sixteen Going on Seventeen. Then there was a thunderstorm.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Sound of Music Gazebo at Hellbrun Schloss Garden
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
The famous Gazebo from the Sound of Music

There is an energetic dance action within a Gazebo. We had a peek inside the gazebo. It looked too small for the action packed sequence and also considering the camera crew would have been there. The guide then explained everything. While the outside shots were of the real gazebo, it was too small for the dance sequence. So they built a much larger gazebo back in Hollywood to complete the song sequence. The original gazebo, which was in the garden of Schloss Leopoldskron, was gifted to the city of Salzburg and installed at Schloss Hellbrunn Gardens.

Captain and Maria too sang the song Something Good here before their wedding scene.

When you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi

Maria wants some cloth material to stitch play clothes for the children. Captain refuses. She makes dresses out of drapes which was anyway going to be changed.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Karajan Square & the “Horse Pond” (Pferdeschwemme), Salzburg

After Captain leaves, Maria and Children leave the house on to Helbrunner Allee. Cut to Salzburg town. While instrumental version of These are a few of my favorite things plays in the background, one can see them running and prancing on Mozartsteg, Salzburg Cathedral, Deo Trino Statue, Karajan Square & the “Horse Pond” (Pferdeschwemme) at the base of Mönchsberg, Salzach River away from the town then to Werfen which has a beautiful castle and meadows and an Ideal spot for picnic. Maria teaches the children how to sing Do-Re-Mi to impress the Baroness. Scene cuts to the Humboldt Terrace again with Salzburg Festung (fortress) in the background. Then to Altstadt (old city) streets on a carriage.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Pegasus park in Mirabelle Gardens
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
A closer view of the statue of Pegasus

Towards the end of the song , the group sings in the Mirabelle Gardens where we can see the Pegasus Statue, Arbor tunnel, the central fountain called Vier Elemente Brunnen or the Four Elements Fountain, other statues and finally on the steps of the garden, the song ends. The biking scene is along the lake Mondsee.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Do-Re-Mi Steps in the Pegasus park of Mirabelle Gardens, Salzburg
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
The famous Arbor tunnel in Mirabelle gardens

We found that each one of the place is worth a visit especially the Mirabelle Gardens. There is a lot to be explored in the Gardens. At this point we must caution you that not all the places mentioned here are near to each other. One would need considerable time to walk or even drive to cover all the locations.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Greek statues at one of the entrances to Mirabelle Gardens
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Vier-Elemente-Bruennen or the four elements fountain in Mirabelle Gardens

Boating Scene at Leopoldskron  lake

Captain along with the Baroness and Max returns after a few days (unannounced) and sees the children on top of trees and does not recognize them and dismisses them as “Some Urchins”. Some said these trees line the road from Mondsee town to Mondsee lake but we found that it could not have been that street.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Street where the tree climbing was purported to be filmed. Many people do not agree.
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
The backside of Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg

Later when they reach home we see the back of the house which is on the banks of a lake. The back of the house scenes were of a different palace, the Schloss Leopoldskron. While we could not go up to the palace, we had a long shot of the house and the lake on which the Children were boating and fall off upon seeing the Captain near the steps. As also of the platform on which the children are introduced to the Baroness. We had a glimpse of the terrace on which they have the famous “Pink Lemonade” 🙂

The guide told us that during this shot the youngest one almost drowned. Apparently it was decided that Maria and Gretl would fall on the same side of the boat and Maria would rescue her since Gretl did not know how to swim. Unfortunately all children fell forward but Maria losing her balance fell backwards. One of the film crew then rescued her.

A lot of other songs of the Sound of Music

Most of the songs were inside the house filmed in Hollywood sets. However when we were in the tour coach, we had fun time listening to little anecdotes by the guide and also whole bus full of people sang along when the music was played. Every passenger tried their hand in yodeling at the Lonely Goatherd song. 🙂

Wedding at St Michael Church in Mondsee

One thing leads to another. Maria returns to the Abbey, Children miss her and come to visit her, Maria realizes she loves the Captain and the Children too much and comes once again to the Von Trapp house, much to the chagrin of the Baroness, who clears out soon.

As per an anecdote, the original Maria Augusta Kutschera by her own admission said that she loved the children a lot. And in a way she married the Captain because of the Children.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
St Michael Church, Mondsee
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
St. Michael Church at Mondsee. Maria and Captain Von Trapp Wedding venue
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Wedding ceremony at Wedding Church, Mondsee. Could that small girl be Gretl!

As per the facts the wedding was supposed to take place in Nonnberg Abbey. Filming was not allowed inside and so the wedding scenes were shot in a grand and beautiful St Michael’s Church in the quaint little town of Mondsee.

Owing to immense popularity of the Sound of Music there was and still is a veritable queue to get married in that church. On the day we went at least 2 couples were waiting while one couple were exchanging the vows inside. 🙂

Anschluss Österreich

Hitler’s Nazi annexes Austria and Swastika flag (“flag with a little black spider” in the words of Gretl ) is flown all over Salzburg including the Residentzplatz square while the Captain is still on his honeymoon. Herr Zeller, the Gauleiter, goes looking for the Captain and reaches the Felsenreitschule or the Rocks Riding School converted into an auditorium of sorts. Uncle Max is rehearsing with the Children.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Felsenreitschule, Rocks Riding School, Salzburg. This auditorium is preferred venue for concerts. The arches in the background was clearly discernible in the movie where soldiers were stationed. © Tourismus Salzburg.

We tried twice to get into the auditorium but could not. Once we were late and second time it was closed (no reasons were offered). So it is a good idea to find out when it is open before going there.

The Great Escape from Nazi and Austria

Upon his homecoming the Captain is given the option of serving Nazi’s or else. Being a staunch Austrian he knew refusal would mean imminent danger to him and his family and serving Nazi was out of question. As part of the escape plan the Von Trapp Family of Singers sign up for the music festival.

The singing competition is at the same auditorium and Max has arranged their escape in a car. They sing Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, So long farewell as you may all remember. The family members in small groups leave the stage by the side stairs leading to Toscaninihof Courtyard and later the nuns hide them all at the Abbey.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Toscaninihof Courtyard
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
St Peter Cemetery and catacomb, Salzburg

When Nazis come looking for them, they hide in a cemetery. That cemetery scene was inspired by the cemetery which is near St. Peters Church. The Saint Peter’s Cemetery and Catacomb is worth a visit for its beautiful layout and colorful plants. We went there more than once and also climbed up the catacomb which was never used.

Finally they escape on foot across the border to Switzerland, where Untersberg is shown as Switzerland. There is a cable car that takes you to the top of mountain which is also a popular skiing spot.

General Information

We took the Sound of Music guided tour by Panorama Tours and Travels. Their Sound of Music tour is perhaps one of the most sought after coach tour in Salzburg, maybe even Austria.

Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
The Sound of Music Coach
Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Panorama Tour Bus

Their claim to fame is that during the original shooting, the Panorama Company in its earlier avatar had provided logistic support to the actors, crew and equipment and they know exactly where what happened.

The tour covers Leopoldskron Palace at Lake Leopoldskron reflecting the palace, Hellbrunn Palace, Gazebo, passing by Nonnberg Abbey, Salzburg Lake District, passing Lake Fuschl and Lake Wolfgang, Mondsee – Wedding Chapel.

Our guide was game enough to lead us up the Mirabelle garden path too… quite literally. <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /> <img src=" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />

We explored all other places by ourselves by public transport and on foot. Bicycles are also an option.

While the movie story is changed from the real memoir, considerably at places, to make it more dramatic, I am positive that most people wouldn’t mind it 🙂

I might add that while writing this article I saw the movie once again! And we have a feeling you would too.

We would like to know how many of you watched the Sound of Music again after reading this. 🙂

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Sound of Music Movie Locations, Salzburg, Austria
Sound of Music

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