Salzburg, Austria turned out to be much more than I had hoped.
Our first day in Salzburg was a cold and rainy one. We were all tired from the five-hour drive from Prague, and right after arriving we had to drag our tired (and quite hungry, by this time) feet through an hour-long tour of the city. It would have been quite interesting if we weren’t all so tired and hungry.
Our tour guide was really cool, though.
We learned most about Mozart. This is where he was born, after all. We saw his birthplace, and The Tomaselli, a café in which he used to hang out.
During this tour we did get to see a little bit of The Sound of Music sights, like the Maribel Gardens, where a lot of the song “Doe, a Deer” was filmed, but still not a enough that I got the kind of pictures I wanted.
The city of Salzburg was actually quite less than amazing to me, in the beginning, because we mostly walked through the boring parts of the city, with cable car lines and busy streets. Nothing too great.
That night, we ate at our hostel, which was about ten times worse than our hostel in Prague. (Oh, I didn’t write about the Prague hostel, did I…It was quite nice with a cool lounge, spacious bedrooms, and private showers.) The Salzburg hostel had cramped rooms with only one outlet (which sucks when you’re in there with six other guys who all want to charge their stupid iPods and you also need a charged computer because you have a blog); it also had public showers and bathrooms, which were really gross, and the lobby wasn’t bad, but definitely worse than Prague. The food we had at the hostel either had “somewhat satisfied” or “diarrhea” written all over it, and I chose not to think about which outcome was more probable because I was so stinking hungry. It ended up being bland, but satisfying, and I remained regular, thank you.
**This following story I don’t have pictures for because I forgot it in my room at the hostel, but I borrow some from facebook.**
A bunch of us decided that we wanted some nice dessert after dinner, so we decided to venture to The Tomaselli. It was raining quite hard by this time, but we all had our spiffy blue choir jackets, so we went out with enthusiasm. We ended up getting lost in the city, but we were happy to finally find the beautiful Salzburg that everyone talks about. Beautiful city roads, many charming squares, and buildings from the 1500s and earlier were surrounding us the entire walk. Salzburg in the rain is incredibly refreshing; it’s not uncomfortable or scary at all—especially when you’re wearing a snazzy, water-proof, hooded North Face jacket.
We arrived soaking wet at The Tomaselli and took a seat. This place was really cute, and as we sat down, the server brought out a large tray filled with a plentiful selection of cakes. They were all beautiful, and I was way too overwhelmed to pick quickly. After a long gastronomical debate with myself, I ended up choosing a delicious vanilla crème cake. It may have been the moistest, most delicious and sugary piece of cake I have ever had. My friends and I decided later that I won in the cake department. (Yessss!) We also had some hot cocoa that was mildly sweet, perfectly warm and delicious. They actually gave us sugar to go with our cocoa that, when I added it, made the drink even more splendid. It was a perfect dessert after a crappy meal and a rainy walk through the city.
See how wet we were? Gosh.
My friends and I, not surprisingly, got lost again on our way home, which wasn’t so bad this time because we were already soaked yet warmed by the cocoa and we had a great time. This was one of the memories that I’m going to hold on for quite a long time.
The next day we had a full free day in Salzburg, which I had been looking forward to for a long time. We had the option of going to mass at the giant Salzburg Cathedral (called the DOM), which we had toured the day before and casually sung a song for the other tourists in the church. But I thought, why go to worship when I could go ON A SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR!!
About ten friends went with me. We got a good price and were promised a four-hour rockin’ good time. How could you turn that down?
Here are some pictures from that tour.
You know this fountain, right? It's the one where Julie Andrews splashes the water during "I Have Confidence." My dream was to take a picture of me splashing the water at that fountain, but when we were there, they were fixing it and there was no water in it. I considered climbing the fence just to get near it, but I didn't. It's still cool, though.
This is in the song "Doe, a Deer."
These were the trees that all the kids were hanging from in the movie.
Of course you recognize the gazebo. The woman in the first picture was our tour guide. She was pretty and she had on one of those cool green Austrian coats. And she sang with us on the bus.
The front of the Von Trapp house. They actually use two houses for the front and back of the house.
Here's the back. I would hang out here if I was a duck, too.
The fountain the kids walked around during "Doe, a Deer." I couldn't resist.
The steps from the end of "Doe, a Deer."
What did you expect from a bunch of American choir kids?
The church the wedding scene was filmed in.
I ate crisp apple strudel across the street from the church, just like the song! Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't serve schnitzel with noodles.
I seriously considered buying one of these.
In the middle of the tour, we had the option of riding some alpine sleds in the Alps! Of course we said yes to this dangerous, high-speed activity.
We took a quick stop to see this. Worth it.
Somewhere in here, I flew my kite.
You can see by the string in this last picture that I'm obviously failing at it, but look how cunning and athletic I look.
After the tour, a large group of us decided to go to a beer garden for dinner. Oh boy, was the food good! They had different meats and breads and other dishes to choose from. With the help of the man behind the meat counter, I ended up getting some spicy dried sausage, some peppered salami, and some smoked cow tongue.
Yes, you heard me correctly.
Smoked cow tongue.
I was quite afraid to try it, but the man insisted that it was delicious, so I got it. And, you know what? It was great. It was like a super tender salami. The only gross bite was one with some of the taste buds on it. They were a little crunchy and bouncy, which I didn’t like very much. But I was very impressed with the tongue.
Since this trip is a Bethel University function, we are still under the Covenant agreement that we signed saying we won’t drink alcohol. The choir made an agreement that we wouldn’t drink unless it was culturally necessary. Well, when we were at the beer garden, our whole table asked for soda, and our server said, “Don’t you want beer?” And we all said no. He laughed at us. I suppose that make sense; we’re at a beer garden for crying out loud. So we, as a table, ordered one liter of beer. He laughed again Sensing that we weren’t going to order any more beer, he went to go get us a liter. When he brought it back, he passed a man who was bringing a mug twice our mug’s size back to drink himself. I understood why it was so ridiculous that we ordered a liter as a table.
We all shared the liter. What was really funny was when Melissa (the other choir chaplain) and I (also a chaplain) were passing the beer in between us. We all had a good laugh about that one.
After dinner, as we walked back, we saw a small road leading up a hill to some sort of old building, and decided to walk up it. (Of course.) It was a nice walk, and it ended up being very rewarding. Turns out that the old building was an ancient fortress, and the hill on which it sat had a view like no other. And it was such a nice, cool night, that I was humbled by the beauty of God has made, and what God has made us to make.
God, I love this world.
From our view of the city, we could see that a storm was coming, so we decided to head back. The fortress that overlooks Salzburg looks extra "fortressy" when it's storming.
Of course we needed ice cream first. We got quite lost in the city again, but found an ice cream place soon enough. I had a wonderful vanilla and strawberry cone.
Austria was beautiful. The people, the landscape, and the beer garden…all wonderful. Also, I fell in love with the traditional dress some people wear—especially the green suit jackets the men wear. Check it out.
What do you say, Christie? Feel like matching in Salzburg? J
I love you all. Peace to you.
P.S.: STREET ACTS!!!