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Why did the American go to Salzburg?

To see the gazebo from The Sound of Music.

Panorama Tours operates The Original Sound of Music Tour. They can claim they are the “original” tour because they drove the actors around while they were in Salzburg filming. At least that is the story they tell, so it’s not just a catchy phrase. For 400 Austrian Schillings (which is a fair amount of money) you can spend four hours of your life being hauled all over Salzburg and the Austrian countryside. Notable stops on the tour include the palace used for the back façade of the house, the palace used for the front façade of the house, the church where Maria and the Captain get married, and of course, the gazebo.

As kitsch as the notion to a tour devoted to hauling around a busload of tourists to sites used in the film might sound, rest assured it is. My tour guide had on a banana-yellow colored suit. (Yes, I took the tour. I admit it.) What frightened me even more about his suit was that I don't think it was his uniform. I think was a personal choice he made when he woke up that morning when he thought to himself, "Hmmmmm...Which piece of fruit do I want to look like today? An orange? A strawberry? No...I want to look like a banana!"

Despite the suit, I couldn't help but get caught up in the Rogers and Hammerstein atmosphere. It might have something to do with the fact that Banana Man was playing the soundtrack from the movie as we cruised through the hills. Everyone on the bus started singing along. I certainly didn't want to look like I wasn’t having fun. Then I would have been the Banana Man's target. He would have made fun of me. He would have asked me questions about why I loved the movie.

Then I would be forced to admit that my brother use to sing in falsetto with the nuns as they tried to figure out how to solve a problem like Maria.

The parting gift was the best- a packet of Edelweiss seeds. Even better was when Banana Man explained to us how to sneak them back into the U.S., so I have now smuggled illegal items back through customs.

What would Maria think?

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