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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: Ach, American Fräuleins
By Sheri Gordon


“Ach, Gerlinde, Ich hatte einen schlimmen Tag.”

At the sound of her husband’s deflated voice, Gerlinde wiped her hands on the kitchen towel and hurried to the front door to greet him.

“Ach, Klaus, es tut mir Leid. I am sorry you had a bad day. Come into the Küche for dinner.”

Klaus followed the enticing aroma into the compact kitchen. Gerlinde dished plates of Weiner Schnitzel und Pommes-Frites, and the couple bowed their heads. “Vater, segne diese Speise. Father, bless this meal.”

“Tell me about your day. What has you so upset? Did something go wrong on the tour?”

After years of driving a local tour bus, Klaus had recently started his own single-car touring company—“Salzburg Sings.” Seven days a week, during the summer months, Klaus took tourists on excursions of Salzburg and the surrounding areas, highlighting production locations from the 1965 movie, “The Sound of Music.”

Klaus loved showing off his beautiful Austrian countryside…until today.

Between bites of succulent breaded veal, crispy fries, and cucumber salad, Klaus shared his day.

“Today, I chauffeured three college girls on holiday…from California.”

“Ach, American Fräuleins.”

“Ja. Und they thought they knew more about ‘The Sound of Music’ than I do.”


“Ja. They began questioning me right from the start.”

Klaus took a drink of Apfelsaft before continuing.

“Our first stop was Mirabell Gardens, where the Fräuleins skipped around Pegasus singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’—just like in the movie. Then they asked to go to the hilltop where Maria and the Von Trapp children first started singing. So, I took them to a local hilltop overlooking Salzburg. But when we got there, they produced a picture from the scene in the movie, showing Hohenwerfen Castle in the background. When I told them that hillside was forty kilometers away, and not on the tour, they gave me a tsk-tsk.”

“I’m sure they were teasing, my Liebling.”

“Next we went to Leopoldskron Castle, to see the front of the house and the lake, and the Fräuleins sang the entire song of ‘I Have Confidence.’ Naturally, they messed up the words, but I wasn’t about to correct them. Then, they wanted to open the massive iron gates and run up to touch the front door of the Von Trapp house. When I explained that this was not the real Von Trapp house, and never had been, they were shocked. Dummkopfs.”

“Klaus, they’re just dumme Mädchen—silly girls.”

“Our next stop was Hellbrunn Castle, and, thanks be to God, they were too busy singing ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ to even notice that the glass gazebo has been relocated since the movie was filmed.”

Gerlinde cleared the dishes and poured Kaffee for Klaus, and Tee mit Milch for herself.

“Did you go to Mondsee Cathedral?”

“Ja, ja. Und the Fräuleins ‘practiced’ for their weddings, humming ‘Maria’s Wedding Processional’ the entire time. I drew the line when they asked me to play Captain Von Trapp.”

Gerlinde suppressed a snicker, picturing her staunch husband role-playing the infamous wedding scene with giggling college girls from America.

“Next, we drove by the Nonnberg Abbey and, surprisingly, the Fräuleins weren’t upset that we couldn’t go in. Quote, the Von Trapp children weren’t allowed in either, and besides, we aren’t Catholic, end-quote.” Klaus rolled his eyes and dove into the chocolate Kuchen his wife placed before him.

“Did they ask to go on the stage at Felsenreitschule Theater, to reenact the Salzburg Folk Festival scene?”

“Ja, ja. Luckily Herr Wolf was there, and he let them perform ‘Edelweiss’ and ‘So Long, Farewell.’ The Fräuleins even started crying as they walked off stage.”

“My poor Schnuckiputzi.”

“Ach. I have not told you the worst. St. Peter’s District. We strolled by the catacombs and through the cemetery, where Rolf ‘blew the whistle.’” Klaus chuckled at his wittiness. “But when I showed them the tombstones where the Von Trapp family hid, the Fräuleins told me I was wrong. They insisted that there were too many tombstones for the scene. I assured them we were in the right place, and they assured me we were not.”

“Ach, Liebling, what did you do?”

“I counted to zehn to keep my composure, and then called Günther from Solvang Touring.”


“Und Günther said the Fräuleins were right—the scene was not filmed there. It was recreated in a studio…in California. He said the touring companies tell people it was filmed at St. Peter’s Cemetery because it’s good for business.”

“Ach nein!”

“Ja. I am so kaput.”

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This article has been read 861 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 03/01/09
Fun and clever!! LOVED the movie (and I coulda been one of those California girls!). What a fun "tour" of Austria.
Jan Ackerson 03/02/09
It's so refreshing to read a story with a light touch, and this is utterly delightful. Poor fellow...and thanks for putting those wonderful songs in my head...

Really fun story!
Chely Roach03/02/09
That last line is priceless...
This was a fantastic, lighthearted piece of writing. Loved it.
Sonya Leigh03/02/09
As usual, I love your comedic entries...this was delightful. I went on the exact tour about ten years ago, minus Klaus...actually it was a self-guided tour and we were yelled at when we went to the Leopoldskron Castle to see the front of the house and to see the lake (I think it's a school now...maybe always was), we were tresspassing. Everything Klaus said, we discovered, except for the cemetary, which left me puzzled as to why it looked different than the movie...until now. :)
Joshua Janoski03/02/09
Even though I am not a huge Sound of Music fan, I definitely am a fan of this piece of writing!

I liked the dialect in this and how it shows the ignorance of foreigners. LOL. Good job!
Gerald Shuler 03/04/09
The Glass House is gone? That was a little too much reality... I may never recover.
But it was a very funny tour that I enjoyed completely. Thanks for your wonderful writing.