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Austria July 26, 2012

Posted by tsteindorf in Travel Log.
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Salzurg and Vienna

Posted on July 24, 2012

So I know this a bit late on the order of blogposts go- I actually got back from Croatia just this morning. But I was unable to post about Austria last week due to an MSE test on Friday. Anyways, last weekend, Akash and  I visited Austria- specifically Salzburg for the setting of the Sound of Music, and a day trip to Vienna.

Salzburg

When we arrived in Salzburg on Saturday morning, it was already overcast, dreary, and not particularly welcoming. After getting settled at our hostel we walked around town for the morning. Salzburg was very… small. It was also old- birthplace of Mozart, we saw his face pretty much everywhere. After walking around for most of the morning, we had lunch before getting on a bus for the Sound of Music tour. Regrettably, at that point it was decisively raining, so a lot of the beauty of Salzburg got somewhat lost in the rain. We hit many scenic points from the movie: the Von Trapp mansion, the lake that was supposedly behind the mansion (actually a completely different location!), many of the Do-Re-Mi points, and even drove into the lake region for some beautiful shots of Austria including the church where Maria got married in the movie. It was a great tour, just very dreary. That evening, Akash and I ended up falling asleep around 8, and didn’t even have dinner because we were so tired.

The Gazebo

The Gazebo from the Sound of Music

The next day some of our friends were headed to Vienna to see what else they could see of Austria, so we decided to tag along with them. We visited the Palace and Gardens of Vienna, went to a local amusement park, and even tried the famous Torte that Vienna is known for (very chocolaty, but with a surprising apricot flavor too). Honestly, Vienna didn’t seem to have very much to do, but I enjoyed the change in scenery, as I think Salzburg was in kind of the same situation. Oh, I had an AMAZING steak sandwich for lunch that day, so good it’s totally worth mentioning. We headed back to Salzburg late that evening, and again just crashed at the hostel.

Just some old building in Vienna

The next morning we took a trip to another local town to see Eisriesenwelt, or the largest Ice Caves in Europe, maybe the world. We took a train to the town, then a bus to the “base camp” where we bought tickets, then hiked to a cable car station, and after riding that almost straight up a mountain we hiked even more before arriving at the most of the cave. It was gorgeous, and reminiscent of being on top of Schilthorn in terms of beauty.

Eisriesenwelt

The Ice Caves were a totally unique experience. The tour used authentic gas lamps, so no electric light was allowed in the caves. Unfortunately, that also meant no pictures, but I was able to sneak a few bad ones. As we hiked up into the cave, our guide would continually light a strip of magnesium for even better light, and tell us the history of the cave. The tour included 702 steps up I think (no I didn’t count, but I that’s what I remember from the guide) and we saw several awesome ice structures. About an hour and a half later we emerged into the sunlight, headed down the mountain, and returned to Salzburg.

kind of a bad picture

After we got back, we still had a couple of hours to kill, so we made our way to the Salzburg edition of Augustiner Brau! Akash and I both had a liter of delicious beer, half of a roasted chicken, and some fries. Oh my gosh it was delightful. After that we packed up, headed out, and got back on the train to Metz.

Austria was really beautiful, but I think Akash and I both realized the value of traveling in a slightly larger group. We were both often too ambivalent as far as what to do or where to go, so it helps when we are with other people who have a good idea of what they want to do. After the Sound of Music tour, both of us were pretty happy with our trip to Austria, so the rest of the time we kinda just wandered around and saw what there was to see.

In other news, it is now dead week here at GTL. All of my tests have been taken, which means this week will be spent studying, getting my things somewhat in order, and finally seeing the freakin’ Dark Knight Rises. I am so pumped for this movie. But really, 4 more days of class and 3 finals separate me from August 3rd, when I return to America and real life. Ugh. I’m really starting to get a bit exhausted here, but I think it totally beats Housing training and working (no beef with General Mills, but gallivanting across Europe is totally more awesome haha).

I’m glad that I will be seeing all of you soon! Stay posted for my experience in Croatia, and then probably a trip to Normandy after finals.

PS GOOD NEWS! I got an A in MSE, and no longer have to take the final! woo!!

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