Sleeping over at the von Trapp’s house

I never really fell in love with the Sound of Music. But other people did, and I am sure that those people will be excited to know that the original von Trapp family house is being turned into a hotel.

If you’re having trouble remembering the true story that the movie was based off of, there was an aspiring nun (played by Julie Andrews) who did a whole lot of singing and somewhere between “do” and “fa,” won the hearts of Baron von Trapp and his seven children.

The von Trapp family lived in the house from 1923 to 1938 when they fled Austria during the Nazi takeover; eventually they made their way to the US where the youngest of the children operates a Vermont lodge. Now Salzburg will get the von Trapp touch, and starting this sumer, visitors to Villa Trapp visitors will be able to sleep in family members’ former bedrooms or even choose to exchange vows in the chapel. Located just outside of Salzburg, Austria, the hotel will open sometime in July.

Building a hotel that capitalizes on the fame of a movie really isn’t that crazy and sometimes hotels even star in movies themselves. Salzburg tourism officials say that actually 40% of overnight stays are made by fans of the Sound of Music. So if you are one of those fans, now you too — for only 100 euros a night — can practice your singing skills right in the von Trapp household.

Salt mine tours for health and fun

Tom Barlow over at Wallet Pop and I started talking about salt mines a few days ago. He mentioned a post he wrote about the health benefits of salt mines and places one can go to see them. An impressive one that neither of us have been to, but agreed that we should is the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow in Poland. It’s a World Heritage site, and part of it has been carved into a salt cathedral. Our talk reminded me of my own salt mine tour in Germany.

Touring the salt mine in Berchtesgaden was a totally funky, touristy thing to do, but one I have remembered over the years as a high point. Perhaps, it doesn’t take much for me to be amused.

We donned mining outfits (over their clothes), put cloth mining hats on our head and gathered with the other English speakers at various points along the way to listen to recorded messages about the history of the mine and how it works. The guides spoke in German. Part of the tour involved sitting, one of us in front of the other, astride two wooden chutes which we slid down to get to a lower section. One of the reasons for the mining outfits was to protect our clothing from the salt. Plus, it was a chance to play dress up and add some ambiance to the experience.

Berchtesgaden may sound familiar. It is also where Hitler hung out at Eagle’s Nest. This area in the German Alps is gorgeous.

Other salt mines to tour:

Also in Poland, there is the Bochnia Salt Mine which is older than Wieliczka, and from the comments people have written about it, sounds like it’s worth a visit.

There are three mines near Salzburg, Austria. Here’s the link that leads to info on all three of them: Salzwelten Salzburg, Hallstaat and Altaussee. There are discount tickets for family travelers. Rick Steves has recommended Hallstaat, according to what I’ve read.

The Kansas Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas. The museum is housed inside a working salt mine where you can learn about salt mining first hand.