>> Sunday, September 11, 2005

The greatest bulk of the shoots for me happened in Vienna. In fact, according to the plot of the film, I'm not even supposed to be in Salzburg as Steph is supposed to be traveling there alone to wrestle with some ghosts. I am supposed to have stayed behind in Vienna to reflect on the experiences that we had there. (I learned just today that Larry really did intend to leave me behind in Vienna and take only Steph to Salzburg, but Steph told him several weeks before we left on the trip, "That isn't going to happen! I need her there with me." So I guess that little declaration changed things and I went.)

Larry decided to film an interview with me set up like I was in a cafe in Vienna, missing Steph and concerned about what was happening in Salzburg. It turned out to be, according to Larry, one of my finest moments. He later said to Steph, "You will be proud of your girl". I felt very confident during that interview and was pleased with it myself. I had already had so many life-changing experiences in Vienna that I think it was already beginning to show in my demeanor and in my confidence. My cathartic moment came at the Karinthian Gate, just off the Kartnerstrasse in Vienna on Thursday evening. I can't really go into it here, as it is a very dramatic and emotional point in the film and I don't want to give it away, but I can tell you that for me, it was a life-changing experience and I walked away from there a different woman--at peace with myself, my life, and the world around me. I told Steph, as we walked from there to the Volksgarten that I felt as if a ton of weight had been lifted from my shoulders and that lifetimes of guilt and bottled up emotion had all melted away.

I found Salzburg to be a lovely town, but much more bustling and busy than I had expected. Our hotel was probably on the busiest street corner in the entire city, and we had a corner room so you could hear every vehicle that drove by. One of my favorite moments came when I called my kids on Saturday. It was about two p.m. for us, but for them it was only about 7:00 a.m. When I called, Lauren answered and I could tell that I had awakened her. Her voice was sleepy, "Hello..." she answered. "Lauren...?" Again she replied sleepily, "Yeah..."
"It's Mom, Lauren."
"MOM!!! Oh Wow! Aren't you in Salzburg?"
I replied, "We sure are!" and as I did so I stuck the phone out the open window so that she could hear all the pealing church bells. "Hear the bells!?"

Once we crossed the river into the old city, things changed. The modern world was left behind and what lay before us was not just the Salzburg of Mozart, but an ancient city full of history and stories far beyond and further back even than Mozart. As we walked (sometimes climbed) the cobblestone streets I got the sense that there were many ghosts in this town and not just the ones with which Steph needed to wrestle. Unfortunately we didn't have much time to actually explore Salzburg or get a feel for what this city is really about. We were here because of the film and that's what we focused on. Steph and I have determined, however, that we will return to Salzburg, hopefully very soon, and give this beautiful city the time it is due and most certainly deserves, from us.



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