This is Salzburg – the original Salt Lake City – and the hills are alive with the Sound of Mozart. If it isn't Mozart it's Julie Andrews.
As we’re walking (yes, walking) by the Fuschlsee, (no, that’s as in ‘foosh’), a bus passes bearing, in two-storey-high letters, the words ‘The Sound of Music Tour’. We are in deepest SoM country.
To promote this piece of naffdom, the Tourist Board produce a brochure which includes a factual history of the von Trapp family, the words of all those unforgettable SoM songs (including such gems as ‘Me, a name I call myself’, ‘La, a note to follow So’, and ‘Edelweiss, Edelweiss, you look happy to meet me’), and contains pictures of the garden gates of some of the actual castles seen in the movie. But apparently the climax of the tour - the pièce de resistance - is when, at the end of the tour, every passenger receives, completely free, a packet of Edelweiss seeds.
We stay at Hof – resisting the temptation to precede it with another monosyllable – in the Salzkammergut mountains. We take the cable car up the Zwölfterhorn, where the air is as intoxicating as the beer and there’s an amazing 360-degree view of mountains and lakes: Fuschlsee, Wolfgangsee and at least three other -sees.
Austrians look and sound German, but they’re smiley and friendly - everyone talks to you. And funny: when I ring for an early call the man says they have a special offer: if you request a call before 5am, they’ll give you another at 5.30 for free. Everyone says Grüss Gott, unless you say it first, then they say Guten Tag, unless you say that first, in which case they say Grüss Gott.
I’m afraid there’ll probably be lots more Austria later, but I have to go now. Got to plant my Edelweiss seeds.