I can assure you that I do actually attend University here but yet again I had a large portion of school off. This meant that Sunday was able to be enjoyed in Ravensburg – a small town in Germany about an hour by car from Dornbirn. Flo, Roxy, Milann, Isabella and I enjoyed pottering around there, window shopping and ice cream eating.
Early Tuesday morning I left for a bit of a solo trip to Salzburg. Later in the week, Maddy, Isabella and I had planned to take part in some of the fun runs that Salzburg Marathon had to offer. I made the most of not having too much class to attend and headed off early. It was a time of many firsts. First trip to Salzburg, first Air BnB experience, first time I almost suffocated on a long distance train due to intense BO from a travelling school scout group.
All in all everything went amazingly well. The weather the first day was terrible and in all honesty there was once or twice that I questioned why I’d chosen to do such a trip. I walked around Salzburg regardless, peeping into modern museums and admiring how flipping diligently everything had Mozart plastered all over it. Seriously – from the local grocery shops to bathrooms, one could never forget the fact that Mozart was born and lived in this city. Whilst this was their selling point, for me there were many more exciting elements, namely being the HQ for The World of Red Bull. Additionally, there are so many beautiful lakes just outside of Salzburg which are definitely worth visiting – you’re probably familiar with Hallstatt (deemed one of the most beautiful cities in the world) but maybe not Königssee. Originally having desired to go to the former, at the recommendation of Tina and Bastian (my open-minded, somewhat hippie and insanely generous Air BnB hosts) I opted for Königssee as it was an hour or so closer and according to the locals “nicer and without the umbrella-led tourist groups.” So on Wednesday when the sun came out and blasted away any sign of cloud in the sky, I jumped on a bus to the beautiful lake. There I took a boat ride for about 2 hours and hiked around solo for a while. We were taken to St Bartholomew Obersee which are inaccessible except by boat and consequently lacked the hustle and bustle of large cities. I did some sudoku and enjoyed the surrounds, returning back to Salzburg as the sun set, a welcome change to the previous days weather. I went for a long walk that evening just discovering the small city by foot. Seeing a school group start to head up some stairs, I followed them (not creepy, I swear) and found myself sitting above the city. It was a fantastic end to the day and I was really really happy.
This became a bit of a habit, walking around, mapless, discovering things for myself or following where the crowds went. Through this method I saw many of the sights where Sound of Music was filmed as well as less touristic icons such as local farmers markets. One thing that I’ll definitely remember Salzburg for are the flowers. Whether that be the beautiful Mirabel palace gardens (which host a dancing Julie Andrews in Do-Re-Mi) to the simple hydrangeas being sold on street corners. I was lucky in that I was staying really central and so got to walk to castles and palaces and galleries with much ease over the couple of days (which ended up being much sunnier than imagined!)
A highlight would have been going for a jog one night as the sun set on the mountains. I started to walk up some stairs and actually found myself at the top of a castle, which technically wasn’t open I don’t think but eh tourist. There I was met by a full panorama view over Salzburg. I was freezing but it was phenomenal ft. an hour long conversation with American Steve).
Although I really really enjoyed being by myself for the first half of the week it was awesome to when Isabella came Friday morning and we checked into our hostel – YoHo. (Still trying to work out whether this stands for Youth Hostel or ‘You Only Hostel Once’) Overall, though, it was a really great place. The showers were clean, the beds comfy and the all you can eat buffet was top notch. There were four lovely British gappies in our dorm who were slightly wild but also really polite, even when sleep talking loudly and with great length. It’s almost like she was trying to outdo the volume of her snoring companion. This wasn’t ideal for a pre-run sleep but it was a great room regardless. We particularly liked that the Sound of Music screened every night.
The two of us spent our days following the trail of the Von Trapps and eating wholesome curries. Chocolate shop visits were plentiful as were green trail walks. We jumped on the back of other peoples tours and laughed at tourists cycling past on bicycles called ‘Brigitta’, wearing nun’s habits and listening to ‘Do-Re-Mi.’ Isabella is an avid Sound of Music fan, so we stopped at nothing to visit the sights – including sneaking into what is now a very upmarket and private hotel through locked gates in order to see the ‘Few of My Favourite Things’ gardens. We enjoyed each others company and the ability to just simply take time out.
Race day came and knowing that the run started quite a bit away from our hostel (5km to be exact) we had looked into getting a bus there and were told that a shuttle would be running. Anyway, we got up very early on Sunday, greeted the pouring Salzburg skies and checked out, jogging about a kilometre to where we knew the bus would be departing from. Arriving there, in our t-shirts and shorts, sodden and obviously tourists we spotted no bus. Intimidated by those who were obviously looking down on us, equipped with skins/trackpants/beanies/dri-fits, we didn’t feel comfortable asking. Finally though as the time drew near to the start of the race and hypothermia started to settle in we managed to query as to where this bus actually was. Turns out ‘shuttle’ didn’t actually refer to a vehicle but rather a group that would run to the start line (a further 4km away). We jumped on the back of the last group as an older lady ran over to us with ponchos obviously wary of the fact we were about to die from cold and Isabella’s white shirt was becoming increasingly more see-through.
We ran and it was great – soaking but great. A lot of fun despite shoes being about 5kg heavier and shoelaces battling with the condensation. Our times we were happy with and the free cake and beer and fruit and merch at the end of the race we were even happier with. We jogged back to the hostel, causing a bit of confusion going against the continuing race where we had warm showers and set out to find a renowned schnitzel (our first on exchange tip now!) It was brilliant and topped off what was a really hectic yet enjoyable day.
Mirabell Palace Gardens (Do-Re-Mi) Typical Salzburg Dessert – Sacher Torte