A beautiful family estate, the Schloss Leopoldskron was built in the 1700s by the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg (his heart is still buried under the floor in the chapel). Over the centuries it had moved into the hands of many, royalty and commoners included. In 1918, Max Reinhardt fell in love with and devoted himself to restoring and bringing life back into the Schloss. He was a well known theater director all over Europe and the Schloss was often his stage until it was confiscated by the Nazis in WWII. Reinhardt never returned after 1938. Decades later, his son bought the film rights to The Sound of Music.
And that is how the Schloss Leopoldskron is now forever connected to this iconic film.
Mrs. B was responsible for finding and booking our rooms. The place was sold out and had only Sunday night available, moving across town was required but I don't think anyone minded. We had a glimpse of the place during our first day of touring (the shot from across the lake), but from the moment we pulled through the gates and onto the property I felt I never wanted to leave.
Our wonderful Hotel Clerk handed us real keys on ribbons that reminded me of the Bavarian princes, then, telling us that he didn't want to waste any of our "precious holiday", he walked us to our suite.
And I forgot to breathe...
How did they know that this is exactly what we would have chosen?!? Dear Hotel Clerk showed us around, pointing out the fruit and prosecco that had been delivered earlier (later that evening Anna said "well, I'm off to the front desk to turn this wine into Perrier, need anything?") as he left he mentioned "One more thing, you'll find most doors here at the Schloss open, any door that is unlocked is available for you to explore, enjoy!)
ENJOY?!? EXPLORE?!? ME???
I tell you what, at that very moment, I could have died the happiest girl in the world.
After delivering our suitcases, we decided that some solo exploration was in order and that we would need up later for a bike ride. My heart overflowed as I pushed my way through heavy wooden doors and into rooms that were dappled with afternoon light. One of my favorite scenes in the Sound of Music is the one where Maria walks into the ballroom before meeting the Captain. How was I to know that that room was a direct copy of one of the Schloss rooms.
I happened upon it.
An oriental themed room, all in shades of minty green.
The Marble Hall where breakfast is served each morning.
The world's most perfect home library. Complete with hidden staircase.
The grounds were absolutely breathtaking. It was my daily discipline during this trip to mail at least one postcard every day. I ordered a cappuccino from the cafe and sat down at the patio to write. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the swing that hung from one of the trees, and do you know what? Every. Single. Person. who walked by stopped and swung. They would glance around to see if anyone was watching, back up a few steps and then hop onto the swing, after a few strokes you could see that they were enjoying it far too much to care what others thought.
Brooke and I decided that swinging is good for the soul.
Before his death, Max Reinhardt wrote to his wife about the home that he had loved...
"I have lived in Leopoldskron for eighteen years, truly lived, and I have brought it to life. I have lived every room, every table, every chair, every light, and every picture. I have built, designed, decorated, planted and I have dreamt of it when I was not there. I have always loved it in a festive way, not as something ordinary. Those were my most beautiful, prolific and mature years ... I have lost it without lamenting. I have lost everything that I carried into it. It was the harvest of my life’s work."
The hotel provided us with bikes for the afternoon and told us that the yellow house used for filming the front of the Von Trapp Villa was only a 10 minute ride away. You should have seen us trying to navigate those tiny little streets with GPS and our natural instincts, then trying to keep in the bike lane to avoid getting hit by Austrian drivers. A little more than 10 minutes later, we pulled up to the yellow house. (the gate in the photo above is the one that Julie Andrews pushes open and sighs "Oh help!" after seeing the house.)
I woke up the next morning to the sounds of church bells and gravel being pushed around in the garden below. The sun was shining and it was clear enough to see the mountains. I thought to myself that the curtains on my window would make a very nice sundress.
Breakfast was divine. Even if the cappuccino machine had it out for me. We made it last as long as we could before leaving for one more walk around the place. All throughout the woods were footpaths and funny statues. And ducks. Lots of ducks.
Humor me, okay?
And one more photo in front of the seahorses (just look at those happy smiles!). Our checkout time was 11am, and I think it was 11:15am before we decided it was time. Not a one of us wanted to ever leave. Our visit to the Schloss was beyond perfect, the service, the rooms, the setting.
In a word, delightful.
If you find yourself in the neighborhood...
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