Europe 2.0 – Day 31 27 June

Today we didn’t do anything much because YS and I already explored most of the attractions that we wanted to during the rainy day 2 days back. We woke up to return the car at 9am and later we started around while waiting for lunchtime. During this interval I tried to catch up with my overdue posts but was too sleepy so I decided to talk to ruoxi over the phone. 

We sent Ben off at the Mirabell tram station at 4pm. I really couldn’t believe it when he wanted to buy tickets to Salzburg when he learnt that we would be going. Maybe it wasn’t just for us but still… 

Anyway the days we spent as a 3 persons travelling group was pretty memorable. I will definitely look back on our road trip and the late nights for many years to come. 

Today it kept raining on and off and it was difficult for me to find time to properly take a walk in Salzburg’s old town with my camera. Finally, after sleeping and writing and bathing and eating, the rain stopped for good at 730pm. 

So here I am typing this while sitting in front of a grand fountain. 

I really liked salzburg and would recommend anyone to come here. Salzkammergut is especially scenic and alone may displace my first love, Italy, from the spot of my favourite outcry country. (It would definitely have if we had spent everyday meaningfully instead of having pockets of empty waiting time.) 

I like everything about it. Its architecture is really pretty – the signboards of shops are displayed in very elegant designs and the buildings are painted in warm, gentle colours like baby pink, light orange or lilac. Shades of whites complement these colours. The whole city is very small and easily understandable. I could memorise the maps after walking around and seeing the city from a few panoramic spots. I also love how the alleys have display windows selling mostly fashion products like clothes of watches. It reminds me of London except that over here, it seems more charming haha. 

Only thing less satisfactory would be the food as I personally can’t recommend any cheap and nice places that serve a great variety of food. For most of the time we’ve been eating schnitzel or hotdogs while we’re here and I guess it could be better. :p


Europe 2.0 – Day 29 25 June

Today my feelings matched the weather because IT WAS RAINING!!!! We set off at 930am to collect our car, which was a spanking MERCEDES A1!!! Very big moment for me even though most people here drive branded cars because they are manufactured in this region. 

We started off towards Berchestgaden but guess what, stupid me forgot my PASSPORT! OK not that I ‘forgot’ per see but I left my money belt (that contains my passport) in the hostel locker. I don’t remember how I suddenly got reminded but YS insisted for me to fetch it after reading forums about how it is REQUIRED BY LAW to carry one’s travel documents when travelling. They didn’t say if one needed travel documents to make this passage though. (Nonetheless we learnt the next day that it was unnecessary. -_- The road with the international border drawn across it simply had a sign to say welcome to Germany… Lol.) 

Before we even turned back, it started to RAIN! Ben commented during our journey about how even the mountain directly in front of us were obscures by grey clouds and a mist of the gentle showers. And by the time we arrived back at the hostel for me to take my passport, Ben wasn’t interested in going anymore. Photos/the view wouldn’t look nice with a cover of grey clouds, would it? YS and I completely didn’t expect this and since Ben was the driver, we hardly had any say. I suppose if we were travelling as a duo like the usual, we’d still go ahead because it is better to follow the plan and also make full use of the day. The forecast predicted that it would rain the whole day so it meant that our road trip was cancelled for today. 😦

Disappointed but determined, I searched for interesting things to do in Salzburg and even called Ruoxi to consult her as she has come here twice. After some consideration I decided that I’d head to the Mozart Birthplace as it is a famous attraction in Salzburg, and I had been interested to learn more about him. Since YS decided to come along for a walk, the Hohensalzburg fortress was on our list as well. 

I visited the Mozart Gerthaus alone. The price was pretty steep, even for students (9€) and the exhibition was so so (I was comparing it with Anne Frank House). I guess they could have given more information about the life and works of Mozart. The gallery was instead more for showing artefacts surrounding Mozart, such as things with his face on it that were made when he was alive. I guessed these were valuable because nobody really knew how Mozart looked like? Anyway they also displayed letters written from one Mozart family member to another but they weren’t super interesting. I suppose what they displayed was different from what I expected and wanted to learn about. Besides, I hadn’t have proper lunch before leaving the hostel so I felt kinda light headed and unwell. The part that I really enjoyed was the showcase of the sets in Mozart’s operas because I’ve never even heard of his operas! They all look pretty edgy, not something from 1700s.

After exiting I quickly went to the supermarket for food to refuel. The rain has stopped by then even though it was cloudy and foggy still. I met YS in front of the Dom and we headed to the Hohensalzburg via the funicular. We purchased the ‘standard ticket’ and I’m glad we did because it covered the main attraction aka the state rooms. One downside is that the prices weren’t too good (15€) and no student or youth prices. 😦 The entrances for the different A, B, C tours were also difficult to find because there were no obvious signs to direct tourists. However the map did eventually point us to the correct place. 🙂 

YS and I split up at first. I headed for the most important section first, the state rooms (part C of the ticket) . The magical theatre welcomed me and it is basically a… Hmmm how do I put it… Multimedia presentation of how the Archbishop Leonhart managed to rise to the title of the Prince and then lived in this castle. It is interesting how an important religious person was also allowed to helm the highest position in politics and governance. Many aspects of the interior design reflected this – both his code of arms (a white turnip) and the symbol of royalty were always side by side and many religious symbols (for example animals representing the saints or biblical scenes) were represented in the rooms. The ceiling was painted a special type of blue that is said to be very expensive reflected his wealth. Golden hemispheres dotted the ceiling and collectively they represented the stars and night sky. This showed how the Archbishop is someone close to heaven. 

Anyways, because the whole tour was very informative (they had many multimedia info stations in the rooms), I could understand a lot about the architecture and history of this fortress. There also weren’t too many people and I felt really relaxed looking around and occasionally outside the window for panoramic view of Salzburg. Stunning! 

The museums (part B of my ticket) were pretty good as well. Besides talking about the development of this fortress, they also showed artefacts relevant to the wars and other purposes involving Hohensalzburg fortress. All of the info panels came in different languages and I could easily comprehend what they wanted to deliver. 

Finally, the last part (A), which would come with an audio guide to accompany us in the rest of the sections of the fortress. The entry was timed for crowd control and it was a short guided tour with just 6 sections to listen to. We saw a gallery with the portraits of various archbishops who stayed in this fortress and they corresponded to models displaying the stages of development of the fortress. Later we also saw the torture chamber, which was designed to store the torture equipment more than for tormenting people inside. But the highlight had to be viewing tower where we had an obstructed 360 degrees view of Salzburg. Like at the pano spots which we visited yesterday, I took out my handy dandy map to find out where the main attractions were. 

Unlike Vienna, Salzburg is a smaller and humble city to understand. 

A river runs through it. On the side that our hostel was located, there was the mirabell Gardens. 2 prominent churches can be found – a yellow, Palace-looking one on the hill and another one shaped like the Notre Dame Cathedral is found along the main street and can also be seen from our hostel. On the other side of the river sits the old town and this fortress. 3 main cathedrals are found in the centre – Dom, St Francis cathedral and the collegiate Church. Surrounding these 3 were the Dom quarter and some museums. Later I also found out that the University of Salzburg is also located nearby. Alleys and streets within 15min walking radius surround the town centre and tada that’s that! Very easy to understand and find your way around. Uncomplicated things are sometimes the best things too. 

We left the fortress at around 7pm and decided to walk down by foot. A steep way down on my most hated kind of paths (sandy+slippery) but I managed heh. All in all, even though this is not a castle, I’d still say it is one of the better medieval/castle-y place which I visited because everything is well organised and very informative. I enjoyed the gothic interior design of the fortress, especially that unique blue paint and twisty marble pillars that withstood damage due to a civilian uprising against the archbishop. 

A public movie screening was taking place soon in the Dom square and there were food trucks standing by as well. YS and I parted ways because she was hungry but on the other hand I was still full from my supermarket lunch and wanted to walk around to make the best out of this day. 

The only pity was that I didn’t bring my dslr because the mozart birthplace didn’t allow photography (another minus point) and I hadn’t expect to be productive today. 

Europe 2.0 – Day 28 24 June

Today the day that we’d be meeting Ben! So excited hahaha because it’d be the first time that we’d be travelling together. 

The weather was so extremely WARM and even though we walked for 10minutes to reach our hostel from Salzburg Hbf, we were soaking I’m sweat when we reached. My heart was beating damn fast because we haven’t met on a long time and wasn’t sure how he was like now hahaha! Turns out his hair was super long now, by my standards, but nothing much has changed. ^^ still 2 good friends who chatted easily about anything and everything. 

Ben would be the lead for our salzburg part, so good I can finally take a break from all the navigating and planning. First he brought us to a beer garden where we had turkey schnitzel and spare ribs in bbq sauce. Then we hiked to a panoramic spot to get a bird’s eyeview of the city. The old centre is super small, like most olden cities that we’ve been to. The main attractions were the Dom and Mirabell Gardens which were on the opposite side of the river. Once again hot weather = sweat+++. Tired from the long journey we’ve come from, I kept yawning. Think it’s gonna be the slackest part of our trip! XD

The view was so so in my opinion, the best part of any climb is the journey itself. Yue Shan and I became more acquainted with Ben and we talked about many things like IP vs O levels, our travels and studies. I was really happy that Ben + Bae (i.e his thesis) were doing well together! Tbh I didn’t see most things carefully hahaha but since YS and I would be having a day to ourselves in Salzburg, it is ok. 🙂 

Next we headed to Mirabell Gardens… Which was SMALL. Sighs a bit disappointed because I feel that old towns are kinda a waste of time since they could be covered quickly. Ljubljana was the sweet spot because although small, it was packed with many things to see. Salzburg being the 2nd largest city, is still quite lacking in spite of the gardens, church and castle… Which many places have. Perhaps the former would be the main highlight since it was the filming location for Sound of Music but ehhhh it’s just alright. 

The day passed quickly because we spent much time just chilling and talking. Not sure if YS will feel left out or short changed but she seems to be ok with a slack itinerary. (imo slack = can talk more without looking at the attractions so hooray for me heh.)