We recently did the Sound of Music tour through this company. It turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip to Europe. In addition to visiting several of the filming locations for the movie, we were able to go on a luge run and also visited the Lake District around Salzburg where we also took a break for a drink and dessert at a nice restaurant. The best part was that there were only seven of us on the tour and we were able to go places the big tour buses we saw doing the same tour couldn't go along with the 40-50 people they carried.
I took this tour and also enjoyed it very much. There were 8 in our group, and no one sang! The tour director did play the music while we were driving.
It's good to hear that this Bob's Special Tours is still as good as it was when I took it. I really enjoyed it and it got me out to the countryside a little bit as well as seeing the SOS sights.
I hope you enjoyed the church at Mondsee enough to justify paying $60 (45€).
This really should be posted under "Tourist Scams". The church at Mondsee is about the only thing on the tour that is authentic from SOM. Leopoldskron was NOT one of the mansions used as the Von Trapp home. They wanted to, but couldn't because it was being used as a school at the time, and the school didn't want the interruption. Instead they copied the lakeside patio on a set elsewhere on the lake. That temporary set was where the kids fell in the lake, and and where the small gazebo, now at Hellbrunn, used only for distance shots, was located (the singing and dancing was filmed in a sound stage in Hollywood).
Value is pretty subjective. We took the similar Panarama SOM Tour, 7 in a van during the winter and enjoyed the entertainment. Our guide was very clear in differentiating fact from fantasy and the "real" Maria vs the movie Maria. He even noted that the movie's final escape route would have taken the family into Germany! It's entertainment, not a museum tour. And not having a auto, we toured the country side, saw the Red Bull international HQ, got a yodeling marmot and enjoyed a rainy day.
So what you are trying to defend is "Ignorance is bliss", at $60 a person.
My Bob's Tour Guide was pretty honest about what was in the movie, what was not, and what inspired sets in the movie. I enjoyed seeing the things that inspired some of the sets from the movie as well as actual places used in the movie, even if it was only in the movie for a minute, and I also enjoyed the scenery that had nothing to do with the movie. Some people are not ignorant about what they were seeing and still enjoying it. I knew what to expect before going on the tour, still wanted to go and thoroughly enjoyed it. Different people enjoy different things and find value in different things. It's okay!
I think that they are trying to defend the fact that they had a whale of good time, enjoying their day and the scenery with an honest, guide who told them what was authentic and what wasn't.
Why try and make people feel crappy about their vacation decisions, just because it isn't something that everyone wants to do? I don't want to go on a SOM tour, but so what? They may not want to come on an archeology tour with me, or hear all about building fachwerk buildings. Can we not let each person enjoy their trip without trying to make them feel bad about it? This comes up over and over again, and it makes me cringe. Bob and Sally and their kids had so much fun, and now they begin to question and regret what they did. For what? What has been accomplished here other than to try and make someone feel bad?
"So what you are trying to defend is "Ignorance is bliss", at $60 a person."
How someone chooses to spend their travel $$ is a personal thing. There is no one right way or wrong way to travel, only different ways. If someone chooses to use a tour rather than doing it on their own, then that is their choice and does NOT need to be defended. Somehow, some of the posters on here have the impression that their method of travel is the only right one and the rest of us ignorant masses just don't quite cut it. If you want to do everything on your own and never take a tour, go for it, but don't look down your noses at those who do.
The poor OP posted a nice recommendation of a particular tour, espousing the benefits of using a small group vs a large group for the tour, and got trounced for his efforts. I thought one of the community guidelines was to be polite, well how polite was that?!
Thank you for posting Tom. I agree that Bob's small group SOM tours are some of the better ones and from what I've seen and heard are usually enjoyed by all who take them.
We took the Bob's Bavarian Mountain Tour today. We were very disappointed!! The guide spent the major portion of his time telling us about "dirty little secrets" concerning Hitler including the information that Henry Ford provided the Nazi's with monetary support as he was antisemitic. He also discussed other wealthy Americans who supported the third Reich. I asked him for resources to learn more about this relationship and he referred me to the BBC. He spent almost no time telling us about The Eagles nest, the Alps, the town we visited. As a matter of fact he turned on music and stopped talking. He told us not to spend the extra money at the Eagles Nest for their guided tour as he would tell us everything we needed to know. We felt it was a complete waste of money. Hiring a cab to drive us up to the Eagles nest would have been more helpful. We scheduled this trip as a result of comments in the Rick Steve's book.
"Hiring a cab to drive us up to the Eagles nest would have been more helpful."
@jc, no need for a cab, Berchtesgaden is served by a network of buses run by the Regionalverkehr Oberbayern (RVO), a subsidiary of the Bahn. This network includes RVO 840, the Watzmann Express, which runs from Salzburg Hbf to Berchtesgaden. You can purchase an RVO Tagesticket (day pass) for 9,80€ when you board the Watzmann Express in Salzburg and it will cover the RT bus to Berchtesgaden plus all of the regular buses (does not include the special buses up the private road to the Nest) in Berchtesgaden, including the bus to Obersalzberg, from which the special buses go to the Nest, and to Königssee.
The only issue with the RVO buses is that the last one leaves Berchtesgaden for Salzburg at around 6 PM, so if you want to stay later in Berchtesgaden, use a Bayern-Ticket (23€ single, +4€ each added person), which also covers all of the RVO buses in Berchtesgaden (but not the Watzmann Express) as well as the train from Salzburg Hbf to Berchtesgaden Hbf with a possible change of trains in Freilassing.
A BGL-Tagesticket (12€/person) could be used instead of the Bayern-Ticket for the trains from Salzburg and the buses in Berchtesgaden.
I would not spend the money for a package tour from Salzburg, but if you are in Berchtesgaden, I feel that Eagles Nest Tours offers a good value. You could also just take the RVO bus (838) to Obersalzberg, buy your Eagles Nest bus tickets there, and do it on your own.