You’ll recall that my post before the Wales one took place in London, the day before leaving for Austria. Well that seems as good a place as any for me to pick back up and regale you with tales of my travels. To finish off with London that rainy day, I had lunch at Subway whereupon I received a surprising phone call as I was just about to order. With a confusion scrunched face I told the guy behind me to go ahead and order, I had a call to take. It was from home! My dad had looked up a hotel near the airport that we could stay and kindly offered to pay for two rooms for the four of us. He said he wanted our trip to start out on a good note; and I can say with certainty that I for one had a much better sleep that night than I would have in the freezing cold airport. Thanks dad.
We had a very early start the next morning and arrived back at Gatwick Airport just before 5. Turns out we had a lot more time than needed, but alas. We checked in with EasyJet and had breakfast at a sit down place once through security. The gate wouldn’t be appearing until a half hour before boarding anyway. With EasyJet there are no assigned groupings or seats. Yet the flight to Salzburg wasn’t overly full, so we easily had seats together. The short flight provided some beautiful views of the mountains as we approached the Salzburg airport, where another stamp was added to my passport! To get to our hostel we ended up on the city bus (No. 2), and with a very helpful and kind bus driver (thank goodness!). Even with his help getting off on the closest stop, we ended up having to ask at a hotel down the street which way it was to the hostel. They gave us a better map than I had and directed us to go down the street the opposite direction and around the corner.
The hostel was probably the nicest one we stayed out over the whole trip – the YoHo (arr!) International Youth Hostel. Too bad it was only for one night! We decided to walk around for about an hour or so before Amanda and I had to be back at the hostel for our pickup for the Sound of Music Tour. So we ventured to a small park and then through the Mirabell Gardens, stopping for our first gelato along the way (I had a scoop of mango – mmm!). Turns out that the gardens and fountain we took a bunch of pictures in were filmed in the Sound of Music as well, as two of us would learn a bit later.
We immediately noticed how quiet and clean the city was. Also, the weather here (and the majority of the trip it would prove) was so nice that day! While it seemed just a tad bit too quiet for a city to me, it was very welcoming and a very lovely place. Drivers always stopped for pedestrians as well, whether they had a red light or not. I had previously been to the salt mines in Salzburg, and the the name of the city literally means “salt fortress”. Still, I wish we’d had more time to explore, especially the historic “old town” part of the city – which I’m only now realizing that pretty much every city has. Well it seems obvious now…
However, at the end of the day I was glad to have spent the money for The Sound of Music tour because I did get to see so much more of the area than I would have in that short amount of time otherwise. It ended up being pretty fun; Amanda and I had a good time. Readers, I’m sure most of you have heard of The Sound of Music, if not seen it. Interestingly enough, while it is so big to the Western world, hardly any Austrians have seen it. That is because the Rogers and Hammerstein musical version cannot be translated well in German. Or maybe he just meant the title can’t be translated – it was a little unclear, though still ironic.
We were shown the sites and buildings used in the film and given some more history of the actual von Trapp family. Previously, I hadn’t actually known how much was true and how much was “Hollywoodized”. The biggest discrepancy our guide pointed out was that they didn’t actually cross the mountains to escape the Nazis; instead they took a train to Italy and then traveled to the States from there. Much more practical, really. Part of the tour included going up into the surrounding mountains, though, and there was a stop at one point that was simply breathtaking. It was literally picture (or postcard) perfect as we stood overlooking a lake in between snow capped and green mountains, a quaint town on the hill below. Our final stop was at a small town in the mountains called Mondsee (“moonlake”), which is where the church used for the wedding in the movie was found. That would be the first of many ornate cathedrals I would be seeing along my journey.
We arrived back at the hostel at 6, and I decided to shower before heading out to dinner. There were a few ads for places to eat on the map we got from the hostel, and ended up going to a little Italian restaurant just a couple blocks away. “Pasta e Vino” must have been a shop during the day (I was sitting right next to the cured meat and cheeses behind the glass) and a restaurant at night, with as many tables as the little place could hold crammed in there.
It was comfortable though, and you could see them making the pasta in the kitchen. What was interesting about this place was that every night the “menu” changed, not that there was really a menu. There would be three pasta options that changed each day depending on what they decided to make for the night. So I had the fettuccine with an olive oil based sauce and prawns – head, shell, and all. It was good, but not the best I’ve had and it would have been easier to eat had the prawns been de-shelled. The olive oil made it difficult to do that in a dignified manner. Iris and Betsey both had the spaghetti with red sauce with a bite to it, and Amanda had the ravioli with meat and cheese inside in a similar sauce to my own.
Before retiring for bed, I wrote out basically what you are reading now. The next morning would also be an early one, though not as bad as the morning this day took place. And that was a good thing; I think we all needed a good night sleep at this point. We didn’t have a reservation for the train to Vienna, which was nice because we wouldn’t have to worry about making a specific train. Up next – Vienna!
This concludes the first segment of “Travel Tales” (stay tuned for more!). Salzburg was a neat place, one I would go back to though I’d go to some new places first. From that single day experience, I really don’t have a bad thing to say about the city or its people. Hopefully one day you will be able to travel there yourselves; maybe some of you already have! At any rate, enjoy the pictures below and a new post will be up soon for the next part of my adventure. Thanks for reading, cheers! Until then…