There’s a scene in the movie The Hobbit that a fight occurs between two mountains. The films protagonists are caught on the side of one of the mountains during the battle, and swept up in the power that occurs. They realize how small they are in comparison to the might of these giants. If I had to describe a bus ride through the Alps at sunrise, I would say Bilbo and I had similar emotions.
Salzburg is a city known for music. It is the birthplace and home of Mozart, to start. But, I have absolutely no shame in saying that this trip was planned with the purpose of the Sound of Music. The 1965 movie captures the majesty that is this city and draws visitors by the hundreds. Taking the Sound of Music tour and being completely encompassed by the story brings a new appreciation to it in totality.
The city itself is something out of the storybook from my youth. The white trim accents and colorful buildings are more similar to that of a Dr Seuss book than that of reality. The shimmering lakes and cheerful signs everywhere only seem to emphasize this point, too.
This trip brought another new experience, my first hostel stay. Staying at the YoHo International youth hostel was an unexpectedly lovely time. The staff was friendly, and the other guests proved to be lively travel companions. Four Americans, one Finn, one Brit, and one Mexican laughing at a couple Icelanders as their eyes watered while eating “the worlds hottest burger” will forever be engraved into my fondest memories.
To quote the Reverend Mother, while in Salzburg you should “climb every mountain”. Climbing to the Modern Art Museum and standing on its terrace produced a spectacular view of the city below, as well as its surrounding mountains.
On the side of this same mountain is a church with the famous Augustiner Bräustübl beer hall attached to it. Recommend by both our tour guide and my go to travel source (Rick Steves) this place did not disappoint in the way of traditional Austrian foods and, of course, beer.
The trip in total had one overwhelming theme: cold. Being January and in the mountains, the city was snowy and crystallized in ice. I’m sure that it is just as beautiful in the summer, but the ice brought a certain sparkle to everything it touched. Less crowded due to it being the low tourist season, the city was quiet and tranquil with silent snowflakes drifting down. Seeing Salzburg like this stirred emotions showing that this was a glimpse of the city at its most pure, the most accurate representation of life here.
Now, since you will ask, yes I fell down several times in the snow. Yes, I didn’t bring a heavy enough coat and was chilly because of it. Yes, it was planned totally last minute (about a day and a half prior to departure). And no, I still wouldn’t change a thing.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye