Rain Drops on Roses and Bike Tours in Salzburg
CONTRIBUTED BY KATEY G.
It is dark and dreary in Germany this time of year. Oh yeah, and rainy. Like really rainy. It’s the kind of weather that helps you understand the true importance of vitamin D. There are many ways to handle the grey. Last year I countered the dull drums of a German winter by planning and booking my Fraulein Maria’s Bicycle Tour for summer. Notice I said my tour. I have a husband and two children, but make no mistake, a Sound of Music tour was all for me.
When I began my internet search for Sound of Music Tours many bus options popped up. I do not mind bus tours, but given my cabin fever I was missing the outdoors. Then I came across a site that appealed to my inner Maria: Fraulein Maria’s Bicycle Tour. Score! The site is thorough and easy to use.
Here is a rundown of some vital information: Tour season runs from May 1st-September 30th; the bike tour lasts 3 ½ hours with a 20 minute break; you will bike about eight miles; children sized bikes are available and so are child seats, trailers, and tag along trailers (the small half bike that attaches to an adult bike) for children who cannot ride independently. The cost is 30 euro per adult, 18 euro for kids 13-18, and 12 euro for children under 12.
The site recommends making a reservation. It took very little time to book two adult bikes, one child’s bike (for my eight year old), and a tag along trailer (for my five year old). I received a confirmation e-mail almost immediately with details on when and where to meet. It was even signed: “so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good bye”. Oh yes! These were my people. I was excited; my family on the other hand was not such an easy sell.
When the day of our tour rolled around in July I was ready. Knowing that the rest of my family was humoring me made me pray that they had a good time. At 9:20 a.m. we met up with Fraulein Maria’s in front of 4 Mirabellplace. You cannot miss it. There are rows of bikes with bells and baskets. I was glad we made reservations, as there were at least 80 people there. The employees quickly found us appropriately sized bikes, and adjusted them as needed. A helmet was required, and provided for the children.
We then had a few minutes to try out our bikes. My husband had the tag along trailer. He and my youngest took a few minutes to get their rhythm down, but once they got going there was no stopping them. The bikes are old and robust (a.k.a. heavy) but even my scrawny eight year old had no problem handling it.
The large group was divided up into tour groups of about 15, and then off we went. Any worry I had about my family’s enjoyment quickly flew away. The whole tour from start to finish was just plain fun-for everyone.
It met my kitschy Sound of Music needs by stopping at all of the big ticket items from the movie, such as the fountain and steps from Do-rei-Me to the gazebo where Louisa and Ralph kiss. For those who are less familiar with The Sound of Music, the bikes had flip boards that showed scenes from the movie paired with the corresponding tour stop. This was particularly helpful for my husband, and made the tour more meaningful to him. The simple act of biking kept my children happy.
As an added bonus, the guides provide a wonderful history of the city. Landmarks and other “must see” places in Salzburg are highlighted. It was surprising how easily we were able to find our way around the next day simply because we took the bike tour first.
The day we went was hot, like 90 degree day hot. The early start, along with frequent shaded stops and the natural breeze from biking made it pleasant and not miserable. During our 20 minute break we were able to buy something to eat and drink from a street vendor. This hit the spot and held my family over until lunch. With that said, a good breakfast and a bottle of water for everyone is a must.
There was truly only one steep hill on the tour. You are given plenty of warning and given the option and time to walk your bike. My oldest, and myself were able to bike the whole way. Given the bike-and-a-half and five year old my husband was responsible for, the hill proved too much and he walked it.
A huge part of what made this an enjoyable experience was our guide. We had a few not so great bikers, but she strategically placed them in the group to keep an eye out for them. When one of the bikers on our tour had a flat tire, she called back to her supervisor and within ten minutes he had a new bike. It was apparent she enjoyed her job, and from what I could tell all of the guides did.
At the end of the tour she recommended a great outdoor restaurant where the kids played in a fountain while we waited for our food. It was here, drinking THE best Radler I have ever had, I listened to my once resistive family animatedly talk about our tour. I realized these were now just a few of our favorite things 😉
Tips For Your Trip:
Phone: +43 650 3426279
May-September: daily at 9:30 am
June-August: daily 9:30 am and 4:30 pm
April and October on request
Tours happen rain or shine
Adult: 30 euro
13-18 yrs.: 18 euro
Under 12 yrs.: 12 euro
*We paid in cash at the end of the tour.