Mon-Tues May 24/25, 2010

There’s fewer of us now – 29 to be exact – but the fun and adventure is still full-on as we make our way slowly (by road rather than river) to the tiny Bavarian village of Oberammergau where, come Thursday, we’re gonna witness the famous once-every-10-years Passion Play.

But more on that later …

Yesterday, after disembarking from the Amadeus Elegant in Budapest (Hungary) and bidding goodbye to the rest of our Mad Midlife friends, we piled onto our private coach and spent a chunk of the day being driven to Linz (Austria) by the very capable Steve (Istvan, actually).

We visited Linz briefly on our cruise – Austria’s third-largest city, with its elegant Old Town and Hauptplatz (main square). It was raining back then, but yesterday was sunny and hot – and we had time to do some more exploring before we grabbed dinner at a local eatery and headed for bed at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel.

Today, we continued our scenic journey today through Austria’s Salzkammergut region, enjoying stunning views of lakes, mountains and villages like Hallstatt and Mondsee, before arriving in Salzburg and the Achat Zum Hirschen Hotel.

Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart (1756-91), and you can hear year-round performances of Wolfgang’s famous compositions. But the tunes you’re more likely to recognise come from a 1964 movie that made Salzburg a household name. And if the Mirabell Gardens, the Pferdeschwemme fountain, Nonnberg Convent and the Residenzplatz all look kinda familiar, that’s hardly surprising – because this is where Maria and the von Trapp children sang their hearts out in that beloved Hollywood extravaganza The Sound of Music.

How about that?

We enjoyed an afternoon walking tour of this magnificent smallish city – including the Old Town (a World Heritage site) and the prominent 900-year-old Hohensalzburg Fortress.

And then … guess what? We shouted ourselves to a night-on-the-town: ‘The Sound of Salzburg Dinner & Show’, with famous melodies from the composers, plus the best of those lovely songs from the Julie Andrews movie – all performed in an intimate local theatre.

It was a BRILLIANT evening! We sang along at the top of our lungs – and several of our Mad Midlifers ended up on stage!

Some new careers in the making? Watch this space …

TOMORROW: We’re on the road again, visiting yet another very old fortress (Lindenhof Castle, built high in the alps by crazy King Ludwig), en route to Oberammergau … 

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in the Oberammergau Gang, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) beside the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And if you want a better look at our map and photos, just click on them and they’ll enlarge –  magic!