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Journals from Austria Program Fall 2012

2012-08-19 The Hills are Alive Here in Salzburg, Austria

Sunday August 19th:

On Saturday we woke up rather early and were at the train station by 8.20. We traveled with Ewen to Salzburg where we met with a tour guide who would show us around a bit of the city. At the train station, we left our luggage in lockers. Really cool lockers, actually, where you hold it closed and then a square in the corner of it turns red. You turn to a computer and see your locker number on the screen, insert coins and voila! Out comes a card that you use to reopen your locker upon return by inserting it back into the computer. Maybe I am easily amused, but I have never seen lockers as functional as these in the US.

After finally getting everyone’s lockers to work, we all received maps from our tour guide and walked towards the older part of town where we would start our tour. On the way we saw the mountains the Von Trapp family apparently hiked over to get into Switzerland in the movie..but our tour guide said these mountains border Bavaria, Germany..interesting how the von Trapp family got to Switzerland from Salzburg then..

Immediately we had stepped straight into “The Sound of Music” and found ourselves right on the steps where the “Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do” song took place. Needless to say, I was very close to jumping up and down the stairs singing--the Sound of Music being one of my favorite musicals.

We took a walk through the beautiful gardens and all around us were beautiful floral designs and statues. We also saw three bridegrooms..I understand it’s a beautiful place to get married..but you’re going to have all these tourists slinking around in the background with their own cameras taking pictures. Up high we saw a beautiful castle which is across the river on the older side of town.

We walked through the gardens to the older part of town and it was there we first saw the Mozartshaus where Mozart was born. Kinda lucky it’s right in the middle of the street so you can see it straight on as you walk through the square. After our tour, Annika, Kelly, and I decided to go into his house which is also a museum.

Right on this street there are also dozens of stores–it’s one of the largest shopping districts. And all the signs look so fancy, even the McDonald’s one!

As we continued our tour, we passed a beautiful church apparently constructed with five different styles of architecture including Gothic and Romanesque. Later, I went back inside and took a few pictures.

With our tour guide we went into a very large and stunning cathedral. I find it so hard to believe churches like this actually exist.. it apparently originally took fourteen years to build..and later it took fourteen years just to repair the dome..

After our tour, we had five hours of free time to enjoy and explore Salzburg. It was then that we went to the market and had a Jause (snack) and split up. We first went to Mozarts Haus, and then I went off on my own for about half an hour just looking around, taking in the sights. We met up again outside the large church and we actually decided to splurge and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage! With tip it was 15 Euros per person, and it was totally worth it. We’d never have another chance to do this probably, and it was nice to get off our feet for awhile and enjoy the sights.

While in Salzburg we also went up a cable car and saw the city from up above. It was a fantastic sight and everything looked just like a postcard!

We went back through the garden from earlier in order to meet everyone back at the train station. We walked back through along the path where in the Sound of Music they all rode their bicycles and I was, again, very excited--as well as a very obvious kind of crazy American tourist.

Having crossed the bridge to get back to the gardens, we saw all of these locks attached to it. It’s apparently from this movie where two lovers put a lock on the bridge and threw away the key into the river to symbolize a love never-ending.

Salzburg is a magical, beautiful and wonderful city. It seems humongous after being in Dorfgastein for a week. I still find myself questioning how I got here. I’m so happy living here, being in Europe, speaking German. We took the train from Salzburg to Vienna, and were going to meet our host family at Westbahnhof.. however, apparently there were some signal failures so we had to get out a stop early and take the underground to the other train station.

Upon arrival we saw several women and one married couple and we all split up to join our host families. I am living with Frau and Herr Berndhaler-Gruzley and in my next entry I will describe how it is living with my guest family here in Vienna, Austria.

I am very anxious to start classes at the Institute and everyone else seems to be as well. Tomorrow we will have several hours of orientation and soon our actual classes will start. Bis dann! ('Til then!)


Ari Lipkind

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