Day 13: “So Long, Farewell” (Last Full Day)

Today was the day, the day where the planner said: All day – Free time.

All 20 of us were given the chance to go off on our own for the whole day! Most of us had decided to go to Austria, while some went to Nuremberg, some went to visit family, and some decided to take the day to relax at the hotel.

It was one of the earliest mornings we’d had this week because we have to leave the hotel at 7:45am to get to the train station at 8 so we would have plenty of time to buy the train tickets as there were 14 of us. We also weren’t entirely sure how to do it. We got to the station and walked into buy tickets but we were sent out to the machine right away. Initially we started putting in our destinations then I was like “wait, isn’t there a button for the Bayern-Ticket?” We went back and found it, split into groups of 5, 5, and 4 and started paying for the tickets. After sorting this out we went to the platform and got on the 8:39 train to Munich, where we’d then get on another train at 9:43 headed for Salzburg. Josh was like the group dad because he had the times of everything and would do a head-count every now and then.

Myself and several others decided to sleep on the train, which helped the time go by both for the 40 minute train ride to Munich and the 2 hour train to Salzburg. Once  we arrived at the station, it took me a couple seconds to realize “oh my god…we’re in Austria!!”

We arrived shortly before noon, so most of us were pretty hungry and wanted to grab lunch. We split up a little bit so not all of us tried to cramp into one restaurant. At this point Josh, Kayla and Grant went to find a market to grab food, and we didn’t see them again until 5:45 when we met back up at the station.

I went to one place and grabbed pizza with about half of the group. The slice was huge and really good! We finished up with that and joined back up with most of the rest of the group. The job of ‘group dad’ shifted to Stephen. He had a plan and we all just listened and followed. We were off to explore the city!

What we wanted to do first was go see the castle at the top of a very big hill. We made our way there, seeing several sights along the way. We found a big garden with fountains, it was really nice and secluded a little bit too. We then came to cross a bridge and while we didn’t cross it we saw the lock bridge they have in Salzburg there.

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A portion of the gardens

After crossing the river, we were getting closer to the castle, however, we hadn’t gone up much, just straight we meant we had a climb ahead of us at some point. We got to a set of stairs, which was only half of the climb. The stairs weren’t too bad, especially after we’d all (most of us) had conquered the 768 steps of Ulm! Once up there the view was amazing! We went around the corner and the view just kept getting better. We struggled to try and find someone to take a picture for us so we resorted to a selfie instead!

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In the background you can see how amazing the view was!

Next, we found the direction towards the castle, and oh boy was it a hike! The road was sooo steep! We made it up and should have known better but you had to pay to get to see the castle so us cheap college students thought we were close enough to it. We also didn’t have too much time and wanted to spend some time doing other things as well, so decided to pass on it. The view from up there was spectacular too! So the hike up wasn’t for nothing 🙂

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Again with the views! In the corner if you zoom in on Ally that was her reaction (as it was most of ours) when we found out how steep it was up to the castle!

We went down a different way a found a little market by the sculpture of a man on top of a giant gold ball (Sphaera). We decided then that it was time for ice cream.

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The market on the left hand side, by the sculpture

On the hunt for some good ice cream (we wanted a variety of flavors) we saw some more sights. We went into another church and saw the cemetery where all of the graves were flower beds, which was really nice and beautiful. We also saw Mozart’s birthplace! While some people went to find a bathroom, some of us just waited outside. I saw out of the corner of my eye a Starbucks! I told the group I was going there for a quick second…not to buy a coffee though, but to buy a mug from the “You Are Here” collection! I debated between the Salzburg one and the Austria one. I went with the Salzburg one and as I was paying asked if I could have a water and how much it was…FREE!!! My first and only free water on this whole trip! I was way too excited about this, but I came back and everyone was like “Did you get that for free?!” so they were surprised by it too! We then finally found our ice cream after walking past a couple that only had a couple flavors.

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Mozart’s Birthplace

After sitting down and relaxing for a little bit with our ice cream we headed out to find a couple places that were featured in the Sound of Music, which until then I hadn’t realized was set/filmed here (in my defense I haven’t seen it in a long time)! We went back over the river on the Mozartsteg bridge, also a filming location in the Sound of music. It was nice since it was only a pedestrian bridge also pretty quiet and calm too! We decided to relax some more by the side of the river and just take everything in. We had just done and saw a lot in a short amount of time! It was truly amazing and really nice to sit and lay down for a little bit.

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The bridge on the left is Mozartsteg above the Salzach River. You can see the castle in the back and just how high up we climbed!

We decided it was time to head back, especially since we absolutely couldn’t miss our train! We decided we’d grab dinner beforehand so we went to grab our last döner! On the way towards the restaurant Stephen completely dunked his head in one of the fountains in the middle of the street. We all turned around and were slightly confused to say the least because it was completely unexpected, but whatever you gotta do to cool off right?

We all got our food and I decided to try a döner box. It was good, but I wish I stuck with a normal döner sandwich. We were cutting it pretty close on the time we said we’d meet at the station, but we were fine to get the train on time. We met back up with them asked about their day/experience and found out that they did very similar things to what we did just at different times!

We got back on the train headed to Munich, sad that our day was over, and that our trip was coming to an end every moment that passed.

We arrived in Munich with about 10 minutes to find the platform and walk between the 2. Naturally, I decided to stop into Starbucks to get a Germany “You Are Here” mug. Right as I was done paying Jackie came in to get me because everyone else was worried I wouldn’t make it, but I had finished with time to spare. On my way out she goes “ohhh, I think I’m gonna get one too!” Simultaneously 2 people ordering drinks were in front of her…then I went  “Jackie! Ahhh we gotta go!” She paid at the same time that Josh called her in a panic, since the train left in 5 minutes. We started running after she paid and he was waiting outside the train for us. We sat down and the train was pretty dark inside so I asked “you’re sure this stops in Augsburg?” (it’s destination said Ulm and normally Augsburg is a stop on the way)…Next thing I know, with 2 minutes before departure, Josh gets off the train to double check! He then runs back on and says we should move to the first train since he wasn’t 100% sure both trains were attached/leaving at the same time (they were attached and it would’ve been fine but we had moved anyway). We got back on the train further up, right before it started to leave, definitely a close call.

Before going back to the hotel we decided there was one last thing we had to do before we left Germany: Stop for our final ice cream, but not just a normal scoop, spaghetti ice cream. It was so good, but since it was pretty big and filling Ally and I split it.

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Our chocolate spaghetti ice cream

We went back to the hotel and at this point most of us had a little packing panic. We had also decided we’d play our final rounds of pool on our final night. Bittersweet times, yet again :’) We didn’t stay out too late since we have to get up around 5am tomorrow (its gonna be brutal lol).

Thanks for following me along all of my daily adventures in Germany and today’s in Austria. See you on the follow up!

-Gemma

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