That Trip to Salzburg Posted on October 26th, 2010 by

So, AJY gave us all these German Rail passes and we can use them five days in a 30 day period. A couple of us had some days left and since Annika wanted to see Salzburg, and I had been rather happy with the place (those two other times I’d been there) so me, and Annika and Sarah (who was giving Salzburg a second chance–and boy was that a good decision!) and Haleigh went off to Salzburg for the weekend. We left in the evening on Friday, since Haleigh had an afternoon class. Actually a couple of people were a little late to the station and I was having flashbacks to that other time we were leaving for Salzburg and someone was running late, but they made it and it was fine. We got seats together and talked and laughed a lot, even though we might have been disrupting the people around us and I was really tired. (I for some reason decided to get only 4 or 5 hours sleep the night before) But around somewhere (Stuttgart? That’d be funny…see later in story) our train got held up and they kept having announcements saying we’d be 10 minutes late. And by 10 minutes they meant 15, or rather 20, etc. Which was all well and good except for that part where we only had a 23 minute window in Munich to catch our train to Salzburg. So we pulled into the station and I could see the train right next to us was the one we wanted and it was still there but we were SO SLOW pulling in and stopping and we ran off and ran to the end of the train and around to the next platform and what do you know but the train was just pulling out of the station. But, not to worry we could get another train. We’d already told our hostel to expect us around 2am so we still had time. So we looked on the little computer thing and we found a train that got there at 1:15ish (had we made that other train we would have arrived at 12:40am or something) so we decided on that one. We still could use our German Rail passes but this particular train required we make a seat reservation, which was 12 Euro. Luckily, it was rather a scramble to find all the change necessary but as we were going through our pockets the machine spit all our money back out. Too slow. So the next time we were ready, and in a mad scramble, Haleigh and Sarah shoved those dumb coins down the throat of this ticket machine before it could start complaining again. After that we had about 45 minutes to wander around the Munich train station, not being hungry or thirsty or needing to use the bathroom. (Things are so spendy in train stations!)

But I don’t know why I’m spending so much time telling all the details. We finally got the next train (in our own compartment! Just like Harry Potter!) and listened to music on my magic iPod (it takes video too! which is why I have a video of us on the train, talking about how we can’t stand the sound of our own voices recorded) and made it into Salzburg at 1:15 on schedule. We looked at our handy google maps directions to the hostel and discovered that it was an hour and one minute walk there. But not to worry, even though it was completely dark and not all the streets on this map are labeled, we can make it OK. So we walked along the river, singing songs from Anastasia, Mulan and Beauty and the Beast (possibly a mistake since no one knew as many words to “Beauty and the Beast” as they thought) when no one else seemed to be around. It was by then after 2 and we were all still in good moods. In the end, we sort of got lost and wandered around for a bit and ended up needing to go down this dark alley, down a lighted path through the woods and turn a corner and look behind you and there it was! It only took 3 hours to get there. As it happened, we were able to catch the door and a young man ahead of us entered but when we got in we found that reception was, unsurprisingly, closed. We tried calling the hostel phone number, which functioned about as well as when we called it earlier for directions (aka: not at all). But with reception opening in a few hours there wasn’t much choice but to get some sleep before then. I think this was around 3:30. So in a side room, right outside the breakfast room, we found an area with a few chairs. Sarah and Haleigh took the floor while Annika and I took the chairs. So it was fine really, except that the lights were motion sensitive so if you wanted to talk with each other the lights would suddenly go completely out and after a few minutes of waving your arms, they would slowly flicker back on. And, adversely, (if that’s the word I want) if you were trying to get some sleep on a marble floor/almost padded wooden chair and rolled over, of all things, the lights would start their slow flickering and you’d have to not move for real for a minute before it went off again. Also, lying down and not moving makes you colder. And floors/wooden chairs do not get more comfortable over time. But after we woke up to put on all our clothes and waited another hour or so, eventually people came and we could check in to our room (We didn’t ring the bell? Oh! We could have avoided this completely if we’d just been locked out initially like we were supposed to!) and after a breakfast (included!) we took a much appreciated nap. Until 1pm.

Then we set off to explore the city. We tooled around the normal places and all wore scarves around our heads because it was kind of cold. And we walked up the mountain to the Burg this time because I made it ultra-clear that I was paying no 10, 50 for a Bergbahn. And, of course, the view we had contained not only the people right next to us, but a few buildings that were close to the castle. (It was kind of foggy) If I didn’t have picture proof from earlier, I would probably not have known there were mountains we were missing. For dinner we went to a place with pumpkin soup (which was absolutely amazing!! It was one of those things that are so good it just makes you want to cry and then keep eating it forever!) and then walked back to the hostel. Also a fun walk, but just because my feet were already sore, and not because we got lost again or anything.

The next day we checked out of the hostel, reenacted that fateful Wizard’s Chess game (from Harry Potter!) with the large chess set out on their patio (we will definitely be welcomed back there!) and then recreated the “16 going on 17” from Sound of Music in their gazebo, which was incidentally, less cool that the actual gazebo. Or, for that matter, most other gazebos. This one was covered in graffiti from other youth and had a pile of plastic cups, cigarettes and other garbage in the center, where a cozy fire no doubt once was. But our pictures turned out perfectly anyway, never mind that it was sprinkling either. Then we went back to the city and saw some churches that were closed and souvenir shops that were overpriced. But THEN we visited Schloss Mirabel and was THAT a good decision! (no for real, it was) This was where Maria and the children skip through a hedged tunnel in the movie, if you recall, and we were totally not just going there for that reason. But we ALSO found a whole lot of statues of caricatures that we impersonated whilst standing right next to them (awesome pics there) and also there was a statue of a unicorn that first Sarah pretended to be riding, and then Haleigh drank its blood (like in Harry Potter!). Oh, also, we found this hedge maze (like in Harry Potter!) and got some great photos of us dueling. We were sort of hard-pressed to find suitable sticks/wands but not as hard-pressed as we would have been, had not Haleigh broken three wands in a row. Then we found this little stage and Sarah and I sang “Edelweiss” from Sound of Music, except that’s one of those songs where we overestimated the amount of lyrics we knew and ended up singing the word “Edelweiss” a couple of times, mumbling “something, something else entiiirely” and humming the tune. Turns out Annika, who was recording that masterpiece, knew all the words but could hardly prompt us from behind the camera. Ah well. We also found that tunnel from Sound of Music and have some knew continuous shots of us skipping through it.

Also, next to the castle was a playground! Perfect place for some 20 year olds to hang out! Actually, we were drawn in by this enormous slide that we decided looked crazy, dangerous, and also we had to try it out. It was very strange. The way up was difficult because despite the appearance of a ladder, it was impossible to use and basically just got in your way as you climbed up from platform to platform, each of which got progressively smaller as you ascended. Slightly tricky actually. Probably not for fully grown humans, we realized. And yet. So we made it to the top and I was actually not keen to go down it at all. I thought it would be more fun to take pictures of them coming out at the bottom but the others weren’t willing to wait that long so they peer-pressured me to go first. Which was all well and good EXCEPT it had been raining so my suspicions about it being actually quite wet at the bottom were totally well-founded! There’s a picture Sarah took of me from the top of the slide and if you zoom in you can see me leaning over, trying to wipe the water off my butt (not something that can be done, actually) with an expression of anger and frustration and disgust on my face. It’s pretty cool. But anyways, then because of camera issues I didn’t even get such great pictures anyhow.

So then we went back to that one Swedish candy shop. Where the others got candy, but since I thought it all looked kind of questionable, I just got some Salt and Vinegar chips which were….not as good as in America! Sorry British brand, but I rely on Lay’s Kettle Cooked Sea Salt and Vinegar chips to get my fill of grease and vinegar. Oh, my mouth is watering. But yeah, not the read thing. Oh well. Then we found the train station and left town. We had a compartment at first. Well, see we were going to share a compartment with this one guy but when all four of us came in and put our stuff down, he left immediately and came back a few minutes later only to tell us that they compartment was all ours and then he took up all four of his bags and left. Wow. Good to know it is just us after all. I guess I didn’t tell you before but on Saturday night, when we actually had beds, we had some roommates: two Polish(?) women who came in and did up their beds and then left again. Then about a half hour later, one came back in and packed up their stuff and mentioned something about finding a new room so we had it all to ourselves! Great! But we were pretty sure they took one took at us (we were at the time sitting around talking in our pj’s on the beds) and decided to get the hell out of there. But at least they didn’t come in when we were all taking various positions, trying to stretch out our muscles. Although…that would have been funnier. Moral of the story: we are apparently somewhat repulsive to Austrians. Who knew?

While in this compartment we tried the Swedish candy, which turned out to be mostly horrible. Then at Munich we had to leave the compartment because the seats were reserved. There weren’t any other places so we sat in the narrow hallway outside the compartments. Which meant of course that we had to get up for whoever wanted to get by, but that just adds a little exercise to a very relaxed, unproductive weekend. Once we hit Ulm (farther away than I thought…) we made a run for seats in the next train car down but so did everyone else in the world so we were stuck standing in the aisles, between comfortably seated passengers for about 45 minutes. Luckily, at Stuttgart, everyone and their brother got off and Annika (my hero!) saved us four seats around a table and our legs were saved! And that was about it for that trip. Fun times all around. Actually, there was never a point where any one of us got crabby about what was happening, which we can all agree, is a miracle. It was by far the most fun-filled mishap-laden trip I’ve ever had and I only wish there was more time for another like it! I love Salzburg.


One Comment

  1. Sarah says:

    Anne, I just reread this, as preparation for my Herr Dörr essay, and I laughed so hard, like so hard, at it. Especially at remembering us singing “Edelweiß” and those people who totally didn’t understand that we were in the middle of performing and just awkwardly stood behind us as we performed. Also at the mostly disgusting candy…so true.