We had a really busy today today that started really early, a fact which was made less pleasant by our oh-so-considerate roomies who wandered in after midnight. We were already asleep, and they were apparently deeply offended by this, and expressed their irritation by slamming stuff around, talking, turning on lights and otherwise being disruptive to sleep. Jerks. Look here, undergrads, not every world-traveler appreciates a new city by barhopping. Sorry.
Crappy roommates notwithstanding, today was a great day. We went to the Mozart Geburtshaus (the house where W.A. Mozart was born) which was overrun even at 9:30 in the morning. There were some awesome artifacts there, and it was really cool to see. We were not allowed to take photos, not that the restriction stopped anyone else. We are good tourists, though, and abstained. 🙂
After that we went wandering around for awhile and accidentally went on a tour of the Prince-Archbishops’ palace, which was totally gorgeous, in a very baroque, overdone sort of way. We had a quick lunch at a seafood place before heading up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress above the city. We got to go up the side of the hill in a little rail car, which offered us a great view of the city, and also a great sampling of Touristy BO. 🙂 The fortress itself was neat, with gorgeous views all around, and a museum inside.
It also houses several apartments sponsored by the government where artists live. I can imagine this being a mixed blessing–on the one hand you’re constantly surrounded by tour groups, but on the other, you’re living in a freakin Medieval fortress!
We took the aromatic rail car back to street level, and wandered back toward the river. We were pretty thoroughly worn out by this point, and were ready
to sit still for a bit. We ducked into the Salzburger Dom, the huge, ornate Catholic cathedral
in the Altstadt. It was a beautiful space, but I realized at some point that there were no stained glass windows anywhere in it. This might be because the church was bombed during WWII, and mostly destroyed, or because it just isn’t the style here…I’m honestly not sure, but it looked sort of bare without them.
We wandered some more until we found the bus that would take us out of town and up to the Untersberg, the mountain that sits on the south side of the city. There was a cable car there to take us to the top, which offered some really spectacular panoramic views as we ascended. It’s the highest I’ve ever been without being in a plane, I think (6470 ft). It was incredibly peaceful at the top, and you could see for miles and miles in every direction, including deeper into the Alps. Clouds blew through, and turned everything white for awhile before moving off and leaving the air crystal clear again.
"Man kann nicht bergauf kommen, ohne bergan zu gehen."
“One cannot get up the mountain without going up the mountain.”
This is a quote that Wolfgang gave us during our Work with Words sessions, and it has stuck with me. Here I had the opportunity
to take it very literally. I decided to climb a bit after we reached the top, which was a difficult but beautiful little hike, since I was wearing sandals and a skirt, and the terrain is rocky and steep. I’m so glad that I did. The views were astonishing. I stayed at the top
forever taking photos, watching the birds, admiring the colorful little flowers scattered everywhere and just breathing the air. It was so peaceful.
In fact, I almost stayed too long. I was walking back, taking my time so as not to wipe out down the mountain, and so I could take more pictures as I went, when suddenly I noticed that the whole mountain had gotten really quiet. There had been people talking, kids squealing, all of which carries a good way across the mountaintop, but suddenly it was quiet. I had just started to worry when a guy on a four wheeler came roaring by. He went on past me, then turned around and came back and stopped. “Do you know that the last cable car leaves in two minutes?” Ummmmmm no! I sure did not!
He very graciously gave me a ride back the rest of the way, which was quite scary at times, but really exciting. I’m sure he got a kick out of my face in the rear view mirrors. In fact, I’m almost certain he did, since he sorta hammed it up, gunning it through turns a food away from the edge, and driving me right up to within a foot of the doors to the tram. He got a kiss on the cheek for saving my butt–I’d have been stuck up there for the night sleeping at the restaurant. It’s about a 6 hour hike down the mountain from there, and it would have been dark. Not a chance. Turns out Jo had sent him to find me after they had called 7 minute warning for the last cable car of the day. Lesson learned: double check the schedule.
Now, since it’s Sunday and everything is closed, I’m enjoying a blueberry muffin and a beer for dinner (dinner of champion Alpine mountaineers, I’m sure) in the hostel lounge before booking our train seats to Vienna tomorrow. Luckily, we seem to be in the room tonight by ourselves! Yay! We might even get to sleep in a bit!