Monday, August 3rd
Saturday night I rolled into the Salzburg Hbf train station, hopped off my train, grabbed a taxi, and headed to my hotel. I was on my own, no one to make sure I still had beside me, no one to ask if they knew what to do. Just me, myself, and I. And the three of us got to the hotel just fine on our own. After I got settled in, I went out to grab a bite to eat and then headed back to make my plans for the next day. I only had 24 hours to explore Salzburg, Austria and I was going to make the best of it.
I had planned out to see the Mirabell Gardens and Palace in the morning, wander through the city a bit, and then grab a bite to eat. Now when I woke up it was pouring rain and showed no sign of letting up till about 3 pm and I couldn’t wait that long to go out and explore. Incase you didn’t know, there isn’t a thing I hate more then getting wet with my clothes on. I couldn’t tell you why, but I absolutely hate it. But for the sake of travel and exploration I braved the weather, grabbed my umbrella and off I went to see the city.
I hopped on the bus across the street from the Motel One where I was staying. Bought a 24 hour pass for the buses and headed into the city. It was only a short ride before I was at my stop, I then had to walk another little ways before I got to the gardens but it wasn’t too bad of a walk surprisingly with the rain and all. After arriving at the gardens I came to the conclusion that my shoes were going to get soaking wet and that was just that. Lucky for me, my shoes were a pair of slip on-flats made by the brand, Crocs. I have a huge obsession with Crocs and when Mom said I couldn’t bring my new hot pink Crocs with me, I settled for a more stylish pair of slip ons. So even though they got soaked clear through I knew it wouldn’t hurt them any.
My good friend, Jacquelyn, told me I had to see the gardens from a top the steps looking out over the gardens and onto the Hohensalzburg Fortress. She was right, it was a spectacular view. Even in the rain and drizzle it was amazing.
After the gardens I ventured over to Salzburg’s version of Paris’s famous love lock bridge. There were far fewer locks on this bridge but the sentiment was still there. Many couples were huddled under umbrellas as they locked their own lock onto the bridge symbolizing that their love would last forever. On the other side of the bridge I stumbled upon a small market that lined the river. It was still early on, and I love markets so I had to walk through and see it. I didn’t buy anything but it was fun to see the different wood carvings, pottery, and jewelry they vendors were selling.
After this I kept walking and decided to look for a place to eat lunch since it was past noon. I could see the fortress off in the background so I wandered in that direction in the pursuit of lunch. I found a cute little Austrian restaurant on a street that looked to be their many shopping strip with shops and vendors lining the street. The restaurant also had an english menu so I knew I would at least have an idea of what I was getting. I decided on turkey strips on top of a mixed salad. It was actually really good, I even ate the green peppers which I’ve never been a fan of, but with the turkey they tasted great. They had an Austrian light wheat beer on their menu that wasn’t too pricey so I decided to give it a try. It tasted great with my lunch, but filled me up a little more then I would have preferred.
After lunch I wandered through the streets with all of the shops. I was in no hurry so I hopped in and out of shops that looked interesting. I found a cute little African shop that was selling anything from jewelry to clothing to perfume. The vendor was very sweet and had me try out two of his perfumes, which smelt great, but I couldn’t bring myself to getting them. I wanted Austrian things to bring home, not African. That will have to wait for a trip to Africa!
After a while of wandering I found the Saint Peter’s Cathedral and walked through the grounds there until I just happened to stumble upon the entrance for the Hohensalzburg Fortress tram ride up the side of the mountain. It was perfect timing so I went on in and headed up to the castle.
As many of you know I love castles, and everything royal. When my mother and I visited the Tower of London in the UK I though I was going to faint from being so excited. Looking back on that afternoon I probably looked like a little 13 year old girl as I gazed into the crown jewels’ cases instead of the 20 year old I am. But now like then, I didn’t care if I was too excited. So you can all now mentally picture me all hyped up to see the castle in the fortress. Once I got to the top I grabbed an audio guide and was lead through the castle from the beginning showing the fortress being built, to the old torture chamber, to the large spiral stair case that lead up to the best view in Salzburg. You could see for miles up on top of the castle, literally I could see till the next mountain began. The audio guide pointed out the Mirabell Gardens, many cathedrals and the Dome which is another tourist attraction in Salzburg.
After the audio guide tour I walked through the rest of the castle and fortress just to see what else there was. It was a fun way to spent a good chunk of my afternoon. After this I headed back down the mountain to go back through the shops and another market so I could get some souvenirs. Along the way I found a little shop where an artist was selling his paintings. I found one of his that was a water colored painting of the view a top the steps in the Mirabell Gardens looking onto the Hohensalzburg Fortress where I had stood earlier that morning taking in the amazing view. I knew it was the one so I bought my painting and headed back out to the markets to continue shopping.
At a small market I got an Austrian pretzel that had bacon and cheese baked on top of it. It was absolutely amazing, better then any pretzel I’ve had back in the states! The brez-strind was a treat I would go back to get again and again. As I ate my pretzel I kept walking through the streets when I found a christmas ornament shop. They had a huge space filled with hand crafted ornaments like painted glass balls, painted eggs, and wheat ornaments. I bought a couple ornaments to take home with me. It was one of the things I was hoping to find while in Salzburg.
I then headed back to the hotel, I had been walking around all day and was tired of carrying around the bags with me. So I found the bus stop where my bus would be stopping and waited for a little bit till it got there. I grabbed some dinner to take back with me to the hotel and was in for the night. I wanted to start planning out my travels for Munich, Germany and I wanted to head to bed early since I was going to be up early training to Munich. Salzburg had treated me well and I’m glad it was my stop for Austria. I had traveled to my first city by myself and enjoyed it fully. I know a lot of people don’t think a 20 year old country kid from Indiana could travel Europe on their own, but I did. It was great being on my own and I would it again in a heart beat.
I am now on a train heading to Munich, Germany to meet up with my new friend Kelly Blake. I met Kelly through the Purpan program and we became close through our month at the University. She didn’t have any plans after her travels to Prague so I told her to come to Munich with me, and that’s what she did! I’m excited to travel Germany with her. My family has a lot of German heritage in it from my father’s side and its really surreal to be in the country that we came from. I know this will be an amazing three days to remember.
I then will be flying from Munich to London Thursday evening to stay the night before heading out Friday morning for the states. My good friend, Sam, connected me with one of her travel friends who lives in London, Amy. Amy had actually been to my house last fall to see the pumpkins and ride a tractor with my dad for the first time. Being from London she had never experienced that. I was at Purdue at the time so I didn’t get to meet Amy, but I’m glad that things have worked out so I’ll be able to get a drink with her Thursday night before traveling back home. It really is amazing to see the connections you can make while traveling abroad.
I know that none of this would be possible without Christ. My faith has grown so much throughout these past three months and I owe it all to God. He has kept me safe and happy; providing me with enriching experiences and showing me the beauty He has created around the world. I leaned on Him a lot this summer for strength when I was feeling lost or uncertain and I was always reassured that I was in the right place. Last year, a year ago today, I was baptized and openly committed my life to Christ in front of my family and congregation. The past year has been amazing. I would never have thought that I would be here, in Europe by myself, last year at this time. God has a funny way of doing things, but I can truly be thankful for all He has done through my life in one short year. August 3rd, 2014 is my rebirth through Christ and is a day I will never forget.