Day 13: Austria!

We were allowed to go wherever we wanted on the last day of the trip. So, a group of ten of us decided to go to Salzburg, Austria! I know what y’all are probably thinking: Ravi probably slept in on his free day. Wrong! We were out of the hotel by 6:45! I had to wake up at 6:30. It was tragic. Jeff was trying to coax me out of bed, pointing out that I could sleep on the train ride. Somehow, I made it to the train station.

We had to buy our Bayern tickets at the station, and that was quite a struggle. We kept selecting our location, people, times, etc. and didn’t realize we were selecting the wrong tickets (regular) instead of the Bayern group tickets. After minutes of struggling, we figured it out and headed to the part of the station where the train was going to arrive. There was already a train there and it said 10 minutes until ours came. Until Ryan asked a German, we just waited idly thinking a different train would come get us: but the train in front of us was ours! We almost missed it, getting on a minute before it left. That was just the short train ride to Munich, from where we had to transfer to a Salzburg train. Before we were on the Salzburg train, I told Jeff and I was going to sleep from Munich to Salzburg maybe a hundred times. I ended up talking to him instead and decided to just get expresso.

The minute I stepped out of the train, I was instantly impressed. The station was nicer than Munich’s – which I didn’t think was possible. There was additional infrastructure to handle luggage, and I realized that this must be a regular way for people to enter the country for travel. The view was just amazing: we could see snowy mountains behind an array of trees. We did our roll call (where Stephanie starts by yelling out 1, everyone else says their pre-assigned number in order, and I end with 10 confirming everyone is present).

I was super excited because this wasn’t just my first time going on vacation to a country and then taking a trip from that country to another country, but I hadn’t planned anything! I was literally going to a different country and I hadn’t planned it out at all: I had no idea where we were going and didn’t even have the maps downloaded. I was here to enjoy the moment, explore, relax, and just enjoy Austria!

We first visited the infamous garden, which was an amazing sight and an amazing place to take pictures! Since I didn’t know where we were going, I was truly taken aback when I saw the garden: it was so beautiful! It was perfectly crafted and truly the epitome of Aesthetic.

After spending some time enjoying the garden and recuperating from the commuting we did, we wandered in the general direction of this fortress that overlooked the city; it was apparently the most touristy thing to do in Austria, so we had to! We passed this really nice bridge that had tons of locks in it – a symbol of mine and Steph’s eternal love for each other, clearly. I was just taken aback by how pretty and clean the city was!

We reached a little market area that was really spacious with some really neat stuff! Through the castle-y looking building is where we took the gondola up to the fortress!

We soon got on the gondola, that appeared more like a tram, and certainly felt like one, we were speeding up the mountain! We were at the fortress literally within minutes and as soon as we climbed the stairs to the top, we had the most amazing and breathtaking view ever.

Behold, the city of Salzburg in all its greatness.

As amazing as the image above is, it doesn’t do the view justice. It was just break taking to see the beautiful city. I didn’t realize how complimentary the city was, with the creme colored buildings and a nice lime-aqua shade sparsed throughout. We explored the fortress and went to the museum for a little bit before settling down at a little restaurant/outdoor tables place. We were told you got pretzels and drinks here so we decided to enjoy it and relax for a little bit, spending more than an hour up here. Below are the cutest video of our group taking a little break.

Our waitress was a wonderful lady named Barbara. We all became quick friends with her, and she grew incredibly comfortable with us, making fun of Jeff and me and calling us boyfriends. You can’t really blame her since everyone else was sitting in tables of four, and me and Jeff were alone together at a table of 2, and also the only ones eating fruit with our drinks. Classic.

Being up on the fortress but a new perspective to tourism for me. I always viewed tourism as a lot of work – planning, actively seeing and learning, constantly on the lookout for new things. But being up there, looking out at Salzburg, I was just enjoying the company and the view. Instead of actively seeking out “cool things to take pictures of”, I was just absorbing it all and going with the flow of the day.

I didn’t want to leave the fortress, but after a little while, and about 700 more pictures later, we decided there was still more to see! We headed down and split off into 2 groups (guys and girls) to do our own respective shopping and sightseeing. The guys went down a long alley, and we even stopped by the Sound of Music museum. We liked it, but realized we would all enjoy it a little better if any of us had seen the Sound of Music (lol). We went to a full two story Red Bull shop with crazy merchandise, and even stopped by McDonald’s for the sole purpose of seeing if we could order beer/go to the bathroom. Turns out, you can order beer, but it tastes awful.

We went back to the garden and roamed around, sitting on benches near the fountain, and just relaxing in the flora around us. After a little while, we decided we still wanted to see a museum, a palace of a famous king, so we left and I found marble statues of myself! See below:

We were ready for our reunion with the girls to have dinner before heading back to Augsburg. There was a bit of a crisis and misinterpretation as to which restaurant we were to visit, so ended up doing a little more walking, but we got some really amazing Gelato so I think it was worth it! We visited this really shady Italian place that wouldn’t let us enter and made us sit outside. As Alex put it, I’ve been rejected by boys before but never a restaurant! We only got 3 choice of pastas but they were really good so I didn’t mind!

When we were walking back to the train station, I saw the most amazing sight:

I always assumed that investing into public transport of all types and forms was, in general, a European thing, but this sign truly confirmed it. Not only did we see tons of buses and tram lines and rails, but there were literally thousands of bikes at stations waiting to be used by people. A great way to get exercise, solve the overcrowding on roads issue, and save the environment!

As we headed back to Augsburg, I took a nap. We went out for a little while upon returning to say goodbye to the German students and do our superlatives. I got the most likely to be narcissistic award, and I couldn’t be prouder. We then went to Doner for one last time and headed back to prepare for the flight tomorrow. I unfortunately won’t see you guys for another adventure, but I’ll see you for my final reflection soon! 🙂

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