June 19th 2010
The birthplace of Mozart. The setting for ‘The Sound of Music’. That’s all I knew of Salzburg. It was as pretty as they say it was. It rained the whole time I was there but there in lay a hidden silver lining.
I love arriving to a freshly cleaned hostel room that doesn’t have any people in it yet. The bathrooms are fresh and clean, while the room is neat and orderly. I can sit there in peace and quiet while I contemplate my next move for the day. I get to take the inaugural “first shower” of the fresh bathroom. I guess I appreciate these little things after living in hostels for a while; I’ve rarely had neat and clean hostel mates as they always seem to destroy the place with their filthy ways.
I liked the fact Salzburg was really small. One could cover the entire Old Town in a matter of hours. It had its fair share of attractions like Mozart’s birthplace and the place he lived in until he was about 24 years of age before leaving for Vienna (the small town was not enough, he wanted to play for bigger crowds, understandable). I didn’t bother paying any money to see the insides, just the outsides were enough. I guess at this point, I’d rather spend money on food than museums. An entry fee is the cost of a good meal at a restaurant. I walked around, looked at churches, old buildings, the shops surrounding the area, nothing really stood out compared to what else was found in Europe.
I ate some sirloin steak with noodles at a small little Austrian joint tucked away in the alleys. I liked the fact the guy serving me wore lederhosen (I think that’s what the German/Austrian get up is called. Hat, shirt, knee long shorts, suspenders…?).
I made my way back to the hostel. Saw an older Asian lady walking into the hostel to meet up with her Asian family inside. I thought to myself “LOL lady, you look out of place in a hostel.” I went to finish watching a World Cup game that was on and headed up to my room, hoping that I was still the only resident of my room.
Turns out, the Asian family WERE my roommates! I was so bemused. The older gentleman of the group immediately introduced himself and asked me where I was from. I told him and his face lit up; so were they! I am naturally pretty happy at this coincidence since I liked meeting Malaysians on the road. I guess I assume there aren’t many of them out there but over the course of my travels, I find this to be false.
The Jong family were from Kuching, Sarawak. They spoke a brand of Hakka I haven’t heard before although I could make out some things they say. They were friendly folk but also very touristy. All they’ve been eating on their European travels were Chinese food. I personally refuse to touch any American food while in Europe (meaning McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Burger King etc.).Well, the Jong family were lovely for the most part but they flooded the bathroom within the first hour. I don’t know how. It was impossible but they did. It was disgusting.
The next day was interesting. I wanted to do the “Fraulein Maria Bicycle Tour” and headed out in the rain to look for it. I don’t know why I thought anyone would hold a bicycle tour in the rain but I wanted to try anyway. I looked around at the place it was supposed to be at but didn’t find anything but I did find a tour happening across the street called “The Original Sound of Music Tour”. The bus was just about to leave so I decided to pay €38 (!!!) for it and hopped on the bus. I don’t know if it was worth that much but it was certainly a good decision on my part.
Got to see lots of locations where the SoM was filmed. The two palaces that served as the front/back end of the Von Trapp family home, the glass house where Liesl/Rolf sang “I am 16 going on 17”, the river where everyone fell out from the boat, the trees were the kids climbed, the church where Maria married Capt Von Trapp, the steps where the kids did the “so do la fa mi do re” song. etc. We passed the town of St Gillen which had a stunningly beautiful landscape.
Anyway, that’s it for Salzburg. I am too tired to remember all the details of the place, those were the highlights.