After Prague, on to Austria. I could not visit Austria without a visit to Salzburg, setting of The Sound of Music, my all-time favorite movie!! Becca & I had just re-watched the movie before our trip, so each scene was still clear in our minds. We were beyond excited to see the Von Trapp home, the gazebo ("I am 16, going on 17. . ."), the church where they were married, and the fountain Maria danced around ("I have confidence. . ."). Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and had the inside scoop on the "real story" of the Trapp family and their escape. You can read about it from (Frauline) Maria's book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.
We spent the rest of Spring Break in Vienna, where I just loved watching Kayla confidently navigate us through the city & speak enough German to communicate with people in stores and order in restaurants :) One of our first nights, we saw La Boheme at the Vienna Opera House. It was splendid and looked everything like an opera house should! Becca was transfixed by the orchestra and watching the conductor; we had recently read Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. It is a fantastic historical fiction novel stretching time periods from the Great Depression until after WW2. It's about a harmonica that travels from character to character, as the music gives them the confidence and perseverance to sustain through challenges. The story ends with all the characters intertwined and performing in an orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Becca plays the violin in our school orchestra, so she was carefully watching the musicians during the opera.
There is also wonderful museum in Vienna called Haus der Musik (House of Music). (upper left picture below) It's an interactive sound museum that has everything from rooms on the science of sound and hearing, as well as featured composers, and even an exhibit with Zuben Mehta, world-renowned conductor, where you can lead an orchestra with a censored baton.Moonlight on the Magic Flute. Now we felt like we were present at the time, too! As we walked outside the palace into the "backyard", we entered The Vienna Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world. "Oh my goodness, this is the menagerie from the book!" Becca exclaimed. Also in Moonlight on the Magic Flute, the animals in the palace's "zoo" escape and Jack uses the magic flute to lead them back to where they should be. We were so excited (this is why I LOVE historical fiction!!)
We also went through Empress Elisabeth's (known as Sisi) quarters in Schoenbrunn Palace and listened to an audio tour all about this beloved empress of Austria. Becca was fascinated by her story, filled with tragedies. As soon as we got home, Becca ordered her book, Elisabeth of Austria: The Princess Bride .
One of my favorite places was the Austrian National Library. It's every book lover's DREAM!! From floor to beautiful ceiling are rows and rows of books. There are illuminated hand-written books and breathtaking frescos and ceiling paintings. It is enormous! I want one of those sliding ladders. . . This is the library that inspired the Disney's Beauty and the Beast library!
I could go on & on (I did take over 500 pictures during Spring Break)!! What a memorable week we had together, especially experiencing some of our favorite literature settings and scenes! Have you ever visited a real place that you've read about in a book? My goal is to one day do the Laura Ingalls Wilder trip and relive her pioneer journey!