Friday, December 05, 2008

No hotel in the Von Trapp residence

Remember some time back there was talk about turning the Von Trapp residence into a hotel? And that some Austrians were not happy about this?

Well, the nay sayers seem to have won. The residence most probably will not be turned into a hotel. As a potential tourist who was looking forward to staying there, I am sorry indeed. I guess the folks in this town are very well off and do not need the business but I do not like them calling one of my all time favourite musicals 'tacky'.

The hills are alive with the sound of a quarrel in Austria as a civic initiative blocked plans to turn the original residence of the Von Trapp family into a themed hotel. The 1965 Oscar-winning Hollywood film The Sound of Music immortalised the story of the widower Baron von Trapp, his seven children and their nanny, and later stepmother, Maria, a singing apprentice nun, all of whom once lived in the villa in Salzburg.

Each year around 300,000 tourists flock to Salzburg, where scenes from the musical, starring Julie Andrews, were filmed, and local entrepreneurs decided to turn the Von Trapp villa into a hotel which was to open this month.

But, fearing that their neighbourhood would be overrun by Sound of Music Fans, residents of the Aigen area where the villa is located exerted pressure on local authorities who were finally compelled to revoke the permit for the project. Manfred Schitter, the head of the residents’ initiative, said that the identity of Salzburg should be tied to its most famous son, the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, rather than to the “tacky” musical.

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