Sunday, April 18, 2010

Salzburg, Austria!

The city of Mozart. The city of The Sound of Music. The city of the Bosna. The city of Salzburg.

In all honesty, I never would have chosen a weekend in Salzburg on my own. However, when the "lottery flight" picked that as my location I was excited. I had to do research and get to know more about the sights there and the things that were available to do. It was a trip of learning and leisure, if you will.

That's not how it started out on Friday morning though...

I was suppose to leave at noon on Friday and get into Salzburg an hour and a half later. At 3am the morning of, I had just finished cleaning and packing and had the impression that I should check my flight info again. This time, when I looked at my email confirmation, I noticed the dates were off. Somehow I had booked the flight for a weekend before... I don't know HOW that happened (Patrick and I are still flattened about that), but somehow it did, and I was out 40Euro. Now, my first inclination was frustration and money worry. With the help of Koko, who thankfully was still awake working on a proposal, we looked at new flights... only to find they were VERY expensive. So, we tried the train, and found that to be expensive too. I debated cancelling the trip altogether, but then I would be out the money for the Salzburg card and my hostel deposit too. Plus, that would be a rash and emotional-driven decision I would end up unhappy about. Thus, I sucked it up and found a train for 99Euros (altogether there and back) and determined the incident would not ruin my trip.

I had eight hours on the train to calm my senses. Haha!

So, I showered and got myself together without any sleep and caught an early morning train out of Bonn Hauptbahnhof. I spent most of the train ride resting, but not really sleeping because I had a connection train (seven hours into the eight hours) and kept waking and worrying I was going to miss that too. That's the only thing about trains... I always worry I won't get off when I'm suppose to.

Anyway, the ride there was good and when I finally got to Salzburg (and dealt with a few issues there regarding my card - print your vouchers people -and a few other things) I found my hostel easily enough. The hostel was called Yoho's International Hostel and it was GREAT! It was a quick and nice location with fairly nice rooms, good food, great people, and great staff. It's a place I'd recommend to anyone going there...

After loading my bag into my weekend home, I ventured out into the city. I have to say, I was quite proud of myself for creating a complete itinerary for each day in Salzburg and routing little maps on how to get to places before I even arrived - all inspired by my brother. However, I quickly realized how easy it was to get around Salzburg (not very big) and completed my itinerary a lot quicker than anticipated... Thus, I had time to add in a few extra sights, museums, and even the zoo. Haha! I'll get to all that though.

So... Friday.

I took off from the hostel around 3:30pm, without time and energy to see much. However, I wanted to make the most of ALL my time there so I walked over to Linzergasse (Linzer Lane - SO cool! Haha...) and to a little overlook of the city called Kapuzinerberg above the Franziski School. It took my on a hike up to a great view of everything and had a map at the top so you could actually tell the buildings you were looking at. It was the perfect way to start my trip off, and since the weather was nice, the hike up and back was peaceful. On the way back, I actually cut down the mountains a different way and into some small alley-way stairs. It was classic, and reminded me a bit of pictures you see of Italy... I'll have to compare someday.
After that, I cut into the city and walked around, taking pictures of all the buildings around me as I tried to determine their importance. Haha! It wasn't a hard city to figure out, but every time a city is new you have to pull a map out or ask for directions a few times before you have it down. The hardest part of Salzburg is that things aren't labeled well. So you think you might be in the right spot, but you're never quite sure till you enter a near-by building or ask a local. Anyway, I got some amazing evening shots and even joined in giant Red Bull sponsored hockey celebration in Mozartplatz - way cool. Haha!

After that it was growing dusk and I wondered back across the river, up Linzergasse, and found a small restaurant near my hostel for dinner. It was a place called Oregano's and was FABULOUS! It wasn't pricey, but wasn't the cheapest (street vendors there give GREAT food for cheap), but it was fabulous. There weren't a ton of people there and the lady serving me was all about giving me whatever I wanted... Plus, she offered me a take-out box... which is unheard of in Germany and most of Austria. You just don't ask, so when she offered I was grateful! I walked back to my hostel after dinner and went straight to bed - boring, I know. Haha! I didn't visit with people and try to get to know anyone because I was just too tired.... That came later anyway.

The next morning I woke up bright and early with a list of places to go and things to see, starting with the flea market off of Universitätsplatz at 7am. However my favorite time in Salzburg was spent early that morning, walking the streets when barely anyone was around. It was peaceful and quiet... and just beautiful. I loved the feeling that I was able to walk the usually crowded streets with virtually no one around... It was heaven. For someone who LOVES being around people and the "hustle-and-bustle" of things the majority of time, I really love my quiet moments too. It's a good unbalanced balance.

I wondered around the Farmer's Market for a little while before grabbing a breakfast pastry from Flockner's (some of their stuff is great and other stuff - eh. For as much hype as the place gets, I think it's merely mediocre.) and then headed over to Mozart's Birth-house. It was cool to see and read the stories of his family... I appreciate classical music, but I'm not jumping up and down about Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, or Bach's lives. However, it was good to read about him and him family. I have to say from stories I read and listened to through the whole time I was there I think that his father pushed him to do music just enough, but not too much and seemed like a good father... and their family seemed to have good priorities that carried onto Mozart himself. He appears to be a very loving and thoughtful person, focused on his music but not at the cost of family and good friends. That was a cool thought because today, many musicians have lost their way a bit in that aspect. I feel like I can say, Mozart and his father, Leopold, were good examples.

After the Birth-house I went and say the Collegiate Church (beautiful inside!) and then St. Peter's Abbey and cemetery. I have to say that St. Peter's and St. Sebastian's both had two of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever seen. WOW! St. Peter's Abbey was great inside, but the most incredible part was the cemetery around the back. It had so many gravestones... Some on walls, some with elaborate tombstones of crucifixes above the burial ground... and they were all one right after another. It was just a really COOL place... Plus they do SO much to keep these old cemeteries nice - it's just really cool and good way to show respect to the ancestors of our past. I kept walking through and hoping I would find a stone with a familiar name, but to no avail did that come to pass... not that I was looking really hard, so, hey.

After that I walked over the Salzburg Dom... The actual rotunda part that you can go up inside of was closed for renovation, but the cathedral was open and looked AMAZING! It's a beautiful building and I took some time just checking out all the architecture. Architecture designs always fascinated me a bit... Also, I thought about symbolize in churches. I know that there are specific symbols in every religion that carry specific and special meanings with them, and I wonder if some of those can be found in the designs on these old cathedrals... I know of some buildings where this is the case, but I know nothing about the churches over here in Europe. I'm sure there are some that do things for specific reasons, and others that do things to show how much grander they can be than the surrounding cathedrals.

For lunch I grabbed a brawt with sweet musturd from a local stand and it was muy bien... I'd reccomend this vendor to anyone - he was by far my favorite. I stumbled across a rather AMAZING and fantastic cookie shop at some point during the day and found by FAR my favorite treats - Manner wafer cookies with shokolade und carmel creme... SO GUT! I was in heaven each time one of those things touched my lips and slide straight to my thighs. I'm sure I did enough walking to burn them off the thighs, but still... I ate a few of those things... Haha!

That afternoon I saw more sights as I went to the Residenz Haus - The State Rooms are found within there, as well as a national gallery. It was cool to see, but the audio tour was extremely dull... If they used the words "traditional stucco" one more time... No one cares that each room used stucco to create the walls appearance! They should have just said, "The whole palace used traditional stucco to coat and design the walls and ceilings." Done. No more. Haha! Sorry to get really passionate there... but I was SO over stucco after leaving Austria. Those are words I never thought I'd use.

I spent some time on Getreidegasse - a HUGE shopping lane - and looked around there... That's where I got most of my souvenir shopping done, but otherwise it was just fun to watch the people and see the way the streets were set up... it was very cool. I think it is somewhat hilarious to see how McDonald's buildings are displayed in each country. Here in Germany they have levels more often than not, but they're fairly mornal... a little nicer than back in America. However, in Austria the sign for Mickey D's was beautiful and the golden arch was surrounded with a beautiful metal hanging... too funny to me.

There are few things I saw along this strip that we quite classic... One, you know those guys who paint themselves gold or silver and pretend to be a statue till you put money in their hat and then they dance? Yea, have you ever seen a MOZART one of these? (Or, upon arriving back in Bonn, a Beethoven one...) Yea. No joke - there's a picture to prove it... Haha!

Second, there was this adorable little, old lady I saw a few times over the weekend and she would always have this completely and utterly thrilled look on her face as she watched the side-street acts - Haha! It was adorable! I think we should all find that much joy out of the little things in life... life street singers. Her expression and happiness made me stop every time I saw someone preforming on the street and at least clap a little for them.

At 2pm I went for a tour of the Festival Halls... This consisted of a huge outdoors theater and two other indoor theaters - all GORGEOUS! It was really cool! Now, some of you might be thinking, 'Linze, you thought it was cool because you were a theater major.' True. However, I think that others would agree that these halls were pretty impressive. The Halls are used mostly during May through August, and especially for the Salzburg Festival in July-August. The city makes over 250 million euros each year in those few short weeks with ticket sales (expensive), accommodations (booked MONTHS in advance), food, shopping, etc. It's pretty incredible actually... Anyway, the theaters themselves were fabulous and we even got to go back stage in both the indoor theaters and see the set for this year's Don Giovanni and see one of the widest stages in the world. Some of you are perhaps still rolling your eyes and thinking this sounds boring... I loved it.

*With that previous statement in mind, know that I am leaning more and more toward Grad School in Theater of some sort... Acting is a huge passion of mine, but I also really like stage management. I'm considering options right now with those ideas in mind. Back to Salzburg...

I hung out in Kapitelplatz for a bit and it was really good... just nice. I did that on my last day as well and it was just chill sittin' next to the big fountain there and seeing the GIANT chess set - THAT was cool! I was sad that I never walked past when people were playing the giant board (you have to pay a few Euros to unlock it I think), but seeing the board and pieces was cool enough -haha. It reminded me of "wizard's chess" in HP with the big pieces on McGonagall's board. Don't hate.

I walked up the hills behind the Salzburg Fortress and overlooked the city for a bit and then headed to the Nonnberg Nunnery. It's where a piece of The Sound of Music was shot, so that was cool. As for the nunnery itself, well, it was nice and quaint, but I wasn't overwhelmed. You had to pay a Euro for different parts of the building to light up so you could see things, which I thought was bizarre. I wouldn't have even known if some lady hadn't come up and done it - I used her light too. Haha! I thought it was just suppose to be really dark till then... or that I was somewhere that wasn't suppose to be open. Haha!

I walked back up to Linzergasse and sat in the cemetery for St. Sebastian's Church - again, so beautiful. I even stumbled across the Mozart family's platz for burial, which was cool... It was raining while I was there, so I just walked through with my umbrella and it felt nice... relaxing even. It was a good way to close up the day.

I headed back to the hostel and ran into a girl (from New Zealand!) that I met on the tour whom I had talked with, so I joined her for dinner. She introduced me to some other girls staying there and we all quickly bonded. One of the girls was from Canada and is traveling all of Europe after her study abroad in Spain, and is loving it. Another girl was from America and just finished teaching in Switzerland, and was seeing sights before heading home. The American was the only one staying past the next morning, so we actually continued to hang out and it was kinda nice to have a buddy for part of the time there!

Anyway, before we headed to be we popped into the bar there because we heard some themes from Soundtracks playing and recognized them... Turns out there was a contest to see who could name the most. Well, since we were late we didn't "really play," but we still did with the bar tenders and hostel workers. Haha! Apparently everyone did really poor, but between the three of us (NZ had gone to do laundry) we could have gotten almost all of them - haha! It was a nice way to bond with the staff a bit though.... I talked with them quite a bit after that - funny people.

The next morning I got up early to catch the first cable-car up in Untersberg. I caught a bus to get there and met a cute little Thai couple heading there too. They were awesome! They were SO eager to learn more English words and ways to say things and they we re asking all about the traditions of America and Germany, our religion and beliefs, and told me about their traditions. It was way cool - such great people! Unfortunately when we got to Untersberg it was a rainy day and thus, snowing up in the mountains... So, when the car got up the mountain about half way, you could only see snow - PURE WHITE around you. It wasn't the best for taking pictures of the valley, but I got some okay ones from the cable-car on the way back down. However, while we were on-top of the mountain I did venture into the snow for a few moments and took a few shots of the crosses on the mountain side (what you could see of them). It would have been better to see the valley, but I figured, "Whatever, I met some cool people at least..." Haha!

After Untersberg being a bit of a bust (I did ride in a cool cable-car - Haha! ) I headed over to Hellbrunn Palace and Water Fountains. THIS was one of my favorite things I saw while I was in Austria. The whole points of the palace was to be a place created for royalty and the upper-class to come and escape their reality for a bit. So, everything was based on myths and practical jokes. It was quite the place... Beautiful, but tricky. Haha! The Water Fountains were not like any others I have seen... There we some regular fountains, but LOTS of hidden ones that had to be turned on and off by someone who knew where the buttons were - in our case this was the guide, but back in the day only the prince there knew. Anyway, I have some CRAZY pictures fro there and it was REALLY cool to see... It was my favorite thing to sight-see there I think.
The village above was a running mill from the 17th century - WAY cool! Even cooler and inventive is the crown below... It turned out to be a secret fountain as well, and when turned on the crown could go up and down, symbolizing the rise and fall of power and dynasties- LOVED that!
The palace itself was nothing exciting until you got to the last room - The Octagon Room. This room was built for amazing wall paintings (every other room was dull and bland) and it's INCREDIBLE acoustics. SO, since I am a singer, I decided I HAD to sing in this room. Actually, the girl I met at the hostel had already went through and told me to do so - good thing too because it was my favorite moment of the trip. I recorded myself singing "And So It Goes" and "Be Still My Soul." Good thing no one else was around because I might have chickened out a bit... Haha! However, with it just being me, a couple rooms ahead of other people, I very quietly sang and recorded it... "And So It Goes" is posted below...

That afternoon I went to Salzburg Fortress on the hill, and I'm not gonna lie... It was cool but not overly so. The history of it didn't really appeal to me as much as other ones I have seen, so that didn't grab me, and the tour was rather dull. The fortress itself was cool and I'm glad I went and saw it, but it was nothing special. I did get some pretty shots of the city from the top of the fortress, but otherwise it was a "whatever" moment. Sorry, readers.

I headed back to the hostel after that and I took a little nap - I was SO tuckered out from the past two days on non-stop going - and then mat one of the girls in the city to walk around and just enjoy the city. It was nice to just walk and visit... another perfect way to end the day. Haha! We had dinner together and then visited for awhile before saying our goodbyes (she was leaving the next morning). I skype chatted with Sarah a bit and then headed to bed too... It has been SO nice having Sarah home and now NICOLE is home too!!! My best girls will all be in Provo when I come home - well, that's the plan for at least another semester. Anyway, talking to them has been AMAZING! Haha... Now, Sam just needs to get home - haha!

Monday morning I didn't have a lot left to do... So, I ventured out and headed to Mirabell's Gardens. (This pictures to the left is my favorite from the whole trip...) Apparently there is suppose to be some palace too, but I never found an entrance... I saw the Scholls and not a palace... but it didn't matter cause the gardens were good enough. It was SO beautiful there and I spent a good hour just wondering around the gardens and watching the people there. It was the perfect start to a morning...

Afterwards I hit up Mozart's actual house of residence and saw some cool artifacts... It was nothing exciting, but I heard some good stories and saw a few things that were of interest. I'm not sugar-coating, can ya tell? Haha... Then, I grabbed a bus and headed to.... The Zoo! Haha... I had finished the things on my list so I though, "why not?," and just went. I went mostly with my younger sister in mind. For all who don't know, I have a younger sister who is SO great with animals and very passionate about it. She's just about to finish HS and will simultaneously get her Vet Tech license. She's pretty much a little super-star...

Anyway, I missed her and was thinking of her all weekend, so I thought going to a zoo and taking good pictures to send her would be a good activity for the day. The zoo wasn't huge, but it had a variety of cool animals to see – though it was lacking my favorite animal, the elephant. I took some cool pics (till the battery died) and sat and read for a bit in the middle of the zoo. It was good... When I finally headed back to town and walked around the city a bit I decided to hit one museum up before going to take a short nap. I went to the Panoramic Museum and have to laugh because it was SO not worth it. There were some beautiful photos, but I'm glad it was included on the Salzburg card (all I did was on there or was free – which was great) because paying extra for it would have been a bust. Haha! It's a bunch of paintings of scenery settings from around the world set in a panoramic room, with a panoramic view of 1800th Salzburg in the middle. It was a creative idea, but lacked any flare.

I woke up from my nap to find a boy sitting in my room (it was a mixed room cause that's what they had left). It had been just four girls, but a boy joined us in there. It wasn't weird at all and I actually became friends with him in a matter of minutes. We ate dinner that evening together and stayed up visiting. He was from AUS and had spent two months living in Africa before he'd decided to backpack Europe. You meet such classic people in hostels.... Really! I'm sure you can have bad experiences too, but I have really loved the hostels I have been in, and each time have met AMAZING people. It's really a good way to find travel buddies and get info on other places to go too... I think I'll try and use hostels wherever I go now.

*The downfalls to hostels are public showers and bathrooms, but it's just like being in the freshman dorms again for a few days -no bigs.

The last morning there was spent back in Mirabell's Gardens, reading and eating breakfast there. It was great! Oh, and in the picture to the left, yes. Yes, that IS a man bathing in the fountain... I think he might have been looking for coins, which there were ton in there, but that would make the photo rather sad. Thus, I'll choose to believe he was bathing. Perhaps that's not better though... Hm.

While in the park, I also played the game Sarina and I use to play where we would plug our Ipods in and choose a random song. Then we would watch people and come up with a story about them surrounding the lyrics and/or melody of the song. Haha! It's become a traveling favorite. Haha!

After the gardens, I did all my souvenir shopping and ate lunch outside by the Mozartplatz fountains... Again, it was perfect. It could have been slightly warmer, but I'm okay with what I was given weather-wise. Haha! I made my train with plenty of time to spare and even had time to snag a picture with Julie Andrews before I headed out... If you don't believe me, check my facebook profile pic...

Overall, Salzburg was FABULOUS! I think if I were to have that much time again I would split the trip into two different places – like going two days in Salzburg and two in Vienna – because I really like go-go-going. However, it was nice to chill and just have down time the last two days. This trip was good one... a place I would not have chosen for myself, but once it was given to me, I fell in love with it! Oh, and an extra bonus to the city... my name was EVERYWHERE - loved that too... :) Haha!Sidenote: I used more German while there too! I'm not great or anything yet, but I'm getting there with the basics. Haha!

Next trip? Well, since you asked → HOLLAND! I go to The Netherlands this next weekend actually! My cousin who lives up there contacted me and is going to be in Germany on Friday, so he'll be able to come and get me, and then bring me back Sunday night. So, I'll see a new country, the Tulip Festival (I've wanted to go since I was little!) and get to know a family member all in one! It's going to be fabulous... I think it's the trip I'm most excited about, followed closely by Italy...


Song of the Day: Today I had a few songs to choose from that I have discovered or “re-discovered” this past week. However, I figure I'll list a few and choose one main one to post below... You should check out Billy Joel's, I Go To Extremes and David Cook's version of Eleanor Rigby, originally by The Beatles. These are current favorites of mine. Another one to mention is Natalie Walker – Her song, Empty Road is awesome. Her version of Colorblind (originally by The Counting Crows) is really great too and thus, that is the song of the day! Love her. Enjoy!!!


Mindy said...

Sooooooooooo jealous of your travels!! Your photos look great, hon!

Ash and Matt said...

Major bummer with the plane ticket! I'm glad it still worked out for you to go. It looks AMAZING!!!

We stayed in Salzburg overnight in between Hallstatt and Venice, but we got in at like 11:30 p.m. and left at 5:00 a.m. so we didn't get to see it at all. Oh, I want to go back! It's so, so pretty. And hooray for everything being named after you! Your visit was meant to be :-)

Have an amazing time in Holland! I'm jealous!