I am here in Salzburg, Austria. This is the Birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he was born January 27, 1756, so this year marks his 250th Birthday and the city is having an all out, all Mozart party. There are museums, his birthplace, his first piano, the church he was baptized in all on exhibit. There are Mozart concerts, basically everyday all over the city. I was told the city is usually very proud of its most famous son, but this year especially has rolled out the red carpet big time. You can even buy Mozart chocolates. I didnt buy, but I have pictures of them, and will try to get pictures up soon if I can get some free internet access in the next few days. My pictures are about 1MB in size each and at the slow internet cafes, they take about 1 minute each to upload, so taking 40 to 50 pictures each city, well u can do the math.
The is a beautiful city, it sits at the Northern end of the Alps in a lovely valley. South of here you have tall snow capped(even in the summer) mountains between here and Udine, Italy. Salzburg is a canidate city for the 2014 Winter Olympics, now this is a shock to me, as the city is both compact and old, and I dont see where they would built the necessary facilities to host an olympic games. Also the public transportation ends at 1130pm, so that will have to be extended and expanded for sure, but who knows in 8 years the world might all be gathering in Salzburg, and if there are still NHL hockey players in the games, I would love to come back to this city.
It seems that my favorite cities on this trip are the ones that come as a total suprise to me. Cities like Luxembourg City, and Salzburg which I had not really done much research, but just visited and am amazed at the scenery. I showed up without any hostel reservations and after a few phone calls, found a place for only 19Euros a night with breakfast included. It was a bit on the outskirts of town, away from the center, so not a place I would want to spend 4 or 5 nights especially if I was partying in town, but for just the 1 night I have been here it was great. I met some great people and went to dinner, where else but staying at a Hostel could in a few minutes you meet a guy from Paraguay who was in europe traveling for a month and then went to the World cup for a month and now is ready to go home, his first trip ever to Europe.. along with a just graduated Northwestern University theatre major, who is rushing her way thru 3 weeks in europe, before starting a job in NYC working for a theatre company on a newly opening broadway show. We walked around the old town, and had a nice dinner outside at a cafe. This city is perfect for outdoor eating, as the streets dont have car traffic, no busses, no horns, sirens, or pollution, just a nice relaxing outdoor dinner, try that on Amsterdam Avenue sometime...
The Beer is great here, Salzburg is right on the german border, so that culture rubs off for sure. Despite thought in my head of Austria being very expensive, its in some ways cheaper than germany, that could be cause of the jacked up prices in Germany for the World Cup. I had a great Edelweiss beer for lunch, a wheat beer(they dont put lemon in theirs, i guess its pure enough already) and it was only 3.5Euros for a full half liter, so Finland u and your almost 6Euro Pilsner gets a big FU. The weather on the other hand here changes by the minute. When I arrived yesterday it was HOT and sunny, i was sweating and saying once I get to hostel I have to change into short sleeve shirt. Then the skies opened up and it rained hard for 45 minutes, after that it cleared out and was decent evening. Same thing this morning, it was raining and thundering overnight, and then rained most of the morning, but when 10am hit and I was out to explore the city, it had cleared up... Now around 1600, i felt a few sprinkles and ducked into this internet cafe hopeing whatever might come down will pass. I guess living in such a valley surrounded by mountains the weather can change in an instant.
This seems like a good party city, as right on the Salzach River(one of the fastest moving-current rivers i have ever seen), on both the old town and new town side there are plenty of bars. In fact I am going to go and try to find this one place Carpe Diem, that looked like a pretty cool afterwork joint when I leave here and hang out till my night train leaves. Oh yeah for u old movie buffs, the Sound of Music was filmed here, and there are lots of tours to the actual hill, or house used in the movie, naturally i didnt go on that, but its an option out there. I did take the elevator to the top of the Monchsberg Hill and the view was amazing, at least 200 or 300 meters up, and that was not even the highest hill, but it was only 1.80Euros to the top, where as the castle was 10Euros, naturally u know what I choose, more euros for beer!!
Well this evening is my first night train, 10hrs to Hamburg Germany, basically I will be traveling the full south to north length of the country. I opted just to pay extra for a reclining seat, as having almost taken one night train to prague, u never know what kind of neighbors u are going to get in a sleeper compartment. Not going to risk paying 24euros to have smelly or big time snoring people in a tiny compartment. Let me tell u while german trains are nice, gone are the days of thoughts of romantic train rides in sleeper compartment with 3 course meals in the dining car.. now its trying to find a smoke free area that people know what a bath is. At least there are no rules on what u can bring onboard, its BYOB for sure, so I hope to have a few bottles of beer to make the night either more fun, or easier to sleep. Catch ya from northern Germany!!!