There is this strong feeling of inadequacy when you spent a lot of time somewhere and have yet to discover the surroundings with the imminence of your return looming.
I, like many, felt compelled to travel even more knowing that soon I would be on a plane bound to Canada, not really sure when I would get the chance to be in Europe again.
That struck me even more after having a discussion with a friend about the places I wanted to see and ultimately was not able to visit due to many reasons such as time, organization or money. Places like Liechtenstein, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Vienna etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I did travel quite a bit during my time living in Germany,- but there is always this thirst for more. Unquenchable.
My friend Jara, a German gal from the Schwabian mountains met through couch surfing, and I, had planned to rent a car (Ok I had planned and she wanted to tag along, plus I don’t actually drive !) and drive to Passau, a little city on an Island in the south of Germany, and from there to make our way to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, and to come back by a city called Brand in Austria, with a beautiful mountain top lake and very little tourists.
When we realized car rental insurance implied a deductible of 1000€ for drivers in case of any accidents, even not caused by the renting party, we dropped that idea. However, we still wanted to travel a bit together, having spent quite a bit of time together in the last few months but never going on a field trip.
We thus picked Salzburg. Its proximity to Munich played a key role, but even more the fact that I had missed two opportunities to go there with the international group of my German University, that I knew people there, and that it is the fourth biggest city in Austria, internationally known for being Mozart’s city.
You know Mozart right? One of the three globally well-known Austrians. The second one being Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California and terminator. I’m sure you guys know the third one too. Can you guess?
From Munich, Salzburg is just a regional train away and you can go using a Bayern ticket. Cheap full day ticket normally reserved for travel within Bavaria but with many special rules, like being able to go straight to Salzburg with it. Barely two hours away with the slow regional trains.
We went on a really warm day and stayed stuck in the transport to and from there. But eventually made it. The day was spent mostly enjoying the various alleys and the gorgeous plazas surrounding the Salzburg Dom (The Salzburg cathedral).
We spent quite some time trying to get a nice view from the city river, the Salzach, with not much success. It’s insane that a city with only roughly 150,000 souls could get so packed. Which is, in a sense, understandable if you keep in mind that this Baroque styled city is one of the most well preserved city near the Alps and was named in 1997 a UNESCO world heritage site.
I quickly started annoying my travel mate with this photo-taking habit of mine.
Before making our way up to the castle and attempting the steep walk we entered the cathedral to be greeted with cool air on a burning day, and a quire of young Asian tourists taking advantage of the nice acoustics of the church for some a Capella action. I then tried to take a picture of a hallway succession and probably waited ten minutes for the walkers to stop going straight in my shot.
Upon leaving the cathedral and doing the tiny urban hike required to get to the castle, which had a disappointingly expensive entry price, we were greeted with a gorgeous view of the city that could not be missed.
We really looked forward seeing the castle but after being told it was 8€ just to see the inner courtyard compound, we figured inquiring about the other fees of the visit was pointless, we were to just enjoy the view from the side of the tiny outer ramparts that were free to roam.
After which it was traditional Austrian food time; Schnitzel ! In a very classic setting, not too far from Munich restaurants either ;
And quickly the day passed by in a flash and It was almost time to head to the Bahnoff. We made our way smoothly through the gorgeous buildings, the tourist shops selling all sorts of Mozart themed junk and ended up walking through gardens and getting lost.
Took the opportunity to snap a nice picture, off we went, back to Munich.
Salzburg is a city which you can visit almost completely in a matter of a day or two, but it is definitely worth the detour and probably has many beautiful secret spots waiting to be discovered.
Go spend a day in Austria.