One day in Salzburg…started slowly enough. Well, in actuality, it started in Munich. I got up, checked out of my room, hit the post office (yes, another box is heading home) then hopped a train bound for Salzburg, which is in Austria (great t-shirt spotted – “There are no Kangaroos in Austria”), birthplace of Mozart!
I only had about 12 hours in town since my train for Zagreb left at 1:36am and when I first got there, it was raining. So I hopped on a bus and headed for the city center. It seems like in all these old cities, if you can figure out where the city center is, you’ve pretty much nailed the “ye olde touriste” bits. So I went there, wandered around for a few minutes, saw the oldest bookstore in Austria and picked out my new mode of dress for teaching in the fall. Then I found a tour place. They had some interesting things on offer, but they were all a little pricy or, the really cool ones like the salt mine or ice cave, left earlier in the morning and I’d already missed it. So it was a choice between a walking tour or a bus tour. I’d been eating a lot of ice cream lately so the walking tour it was!
It was a fun tour, half in German and half in English. Of course, I immediately started conversations with my fellow English speakers. They included an older couple from Australia (where they DO have kangaroos) and a younger couple from Quebec who spoke French and English. We saw lots of interesting sites, including the cemetery where the Von Trapps escaped the Nazis in the movie (did I mention Salzburg was the home of those singing Von Trapps? This is important, it’ll come up later) and yes, Mozart’s birthplace (city ordinance states “every tourist MUST be made aware of the villa where W.A. Mozart first drew breath and then composed music). By the end of the tour, I was starving and Julien and Emilie (the Québécois) were also hungry. Okay, Julien is always hungry. But we decided to get some food together.
We had some sausage on the fly and they wanted to check out the modern art museum. I had yet to see any modern art on my travels, and Emilie is studying art history at University so I figured I was in safe hands. The museum wasn’t bad. There were some nice paintings in the permanent collection and then the current exhibit had some great kinetic sculptures (although I will freely admit I didn’t GET the abstract color things and forget the films all together).
Afterwards, Julien was hungry again (so was I, but it was more fun to tease him) so we found a place through their guidebook and had a very nice meal. Then Julien and I split a couple of desserts but we had to bolt out of there to catch our evening’s entertainment – a Marionette production of, you guessed it, The Sound of Music (told you it was coming back). I wanted to see it, Emilie did as well, and Julien was accommodating.
The show itself was wonderfully cheesy! The puppets were pretty good and, with the exception of the Mother Superior at the abbey, played all the parts. The MS was weird though. You got used to seeing the characters as puppet sized and then this full sized human shows up and throws your perspective right out the window!
The night was still young when the show let out, but for some reason, Salzburg kinda rolls up its sidewalks when the sun starts to go down, so there was not many options. Thankfully, Julien remembered a place our tour guide had told us about, a coffee shop on the 7th floor of a hotel with great views of the old city. We hung out up there, drinking and talking until about midnight when I figured I should probably head back towards the train station. But it was one of those nights you don’t want to end. We kept finding things to talk about until I really had to go. So we said goodnight and I made my way to the station.
The train itself was ehh… I was in a cabin with these three guys who were all stretched out and I felt bad coming in and taking my seat. Then it wasn’t very comfortable for sleeping but I was doing okay, until we got stopped in Slovenia for a passport check. That’s right, I now have a Slovenia stamp AND a Croatia stamp (they stamped it after the next stop but before we got into Zagreb.
Once in Zagreb, I made my way to the hostel, which is very different from where I’ve been staying. Much more homey and much smaller. No school groups of kids running around, which is nice. I took a little rest then hit the town. I don’t know how far I walked today (where’s Jennica and her pedometer phone when you need it) but it was plenty. I did get to the “History of Zagreb” Museum and saw some very cool neighborhoods.
Leaning against flag…
And a two headed flag…
Towards the end of my walk I stopped at a little coffee place to have a water break and finish my Stephen King book. The guy behind the counter was great. He spoke English, but only minimally. Everything I said was met with the response of “Seriously?” and then he asked me about American politics. Not bad for a bottle of water. But then he gave me directions to a little mall where they had a movie theatre (I just wanted to watch something) and a small bookstore (I picked up a cheap paperback thriller that I won’t mind leaving on a train when I’m done with it).
Don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m hoping to find a place to watch the EuroCup final (Germany vs Spain – should be a good’un).