The great australian pilgrimage
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Wednesday 17–Friday 19 September 2014
The great australian pilgrimage
The great australian pilgrimage
The train journey from Ljubljana to Salzburg was a bit frenetic. Nobody seemed to know where the train was going from or which platform to go to when we changed, and there seemed to be a whole host of travellers (mostly other Aussies) heading in the same direction on their way to Munich for Oktoberfest, same as us. So we exchanged hurried and puzzled words of advice with a few other groups, and made it onto the right sequence of trains in the end.
The views of the lush countryside between Ljubljana to Salzburg were just spectacular.
Changing trains at Villach.
One of these other Aussies we met on their way to Munich via Salzburg was Craig, a former marketer from Sydney (for companies like Mortein; but don't worry, he wasn't behind that awful 'Save Louie the fly' campaign) who was an Oktoberfest veteran with some great stories to tell. We shared a compartment with him and parted ways when we disembarked in Salzburg.
For some reason we were under the impression that the directions we had to our hostel wanted us to find the local metro, which we couldn't locate anywhere, mostly because it didn't appear to exist. In fact, the directions wanted us to take a bus to our hostel, something we only worked out after approaching some helpful teens outside the station. 'Hello, do you speak English?' we asked.
'Yes, of course,' they replied. We did presume they'd be able to, but it also seems rude not to ask. But then do you look stupid/ignorant/offensive by acting like they probably can't? The Anglophone traveller's dilemma.
We could really feel how close we were to Germany at this stage, as the bus was impeccably clean, punctual, efficient and legible (it's a well-known fact that Germany emanates an aura of efficiency that impacts every other country proportionate to its proximity), with an LED display helpfully listing the stops as we passed them, accompanied by a cheery automated announcement.
At our enormous and impersonal hostel, we were sharing a room with two other Aussies, Cam and Josh (of course, on their way to Oktoberfest), but we were starving by this point, so we went straight to the Spar Express to see what we could rustle up for dinner. We ended up taking home a simple yet surprisingly delicious combination of crusty bread, tomato and glorious, glorious hummus (something we'd been unable to find for quite a while on our travels).
The next morning we headed out to a vegan cafe, Heart of Joy, for breakfast. I was feeling very vegetable-deprived, however, so I opted for a tasty tofu salad instead of a brekkie option. I picked up the camera to record my meal, as every Gen-Y traveller is mandated to do by the laws of the universe, only to realise that I'd left the battery charging in our room back at the hostel, a forty-minute walk away.
Til and I proceeded to debate about what to do, with her experiencing a powerful bout of Hostel Patron's Reluctance (HPR), and me arguing that we only had one day to see beautiful Salzburg and I wasn't going to waste all that sightseeing on a crappy iPhone camera. So in the end she ordered something else from the cafe so she could continue sitting there while I went back for the battery.
My vegetabular breakfast (and battery-less camera).
On the way back from the hostel I managed to run into Craig again, too, which was pretty crazy. After that I met Til at a bridge for a wander through the town to the funicular and up to the castle, and I was very glad I had the good camera with me, as the sample of the many photos I took will attest. We were lucky to have gotten a long list of tips from our friend from exchange Barbara, so we could squeeze as much as possible into our one day (but not enough!)
The castle in the distance overlooking the town.
An art installation (not an actual egg)
Water fountain at the foot of the castle hill.
The incredible view from the castle.
An inventive and dynamic way to display weapons and armour.
An actual chastity belt. The teeth!!!
Another fountain in the castle square.
Climbing the walls.
In the museum we were able to take an elevator down through the hill back to the city, which was kind of trippy. Our next stop was to check out some (frankly underwhelming) catacombs in a small graveyard before a walk down the main street and a lunch of pretzels.
Cool old-style signs.
The weather was fantastic that afternoon, and we noticed a lot of locals picnicking on a verdant grassy slope by the river, so we decided to do a little food and beverage shopping and join them.
Mmmm. Loser rice.
After that it was pretty much time to head home, and that would be about it for our time in Salzburg, because we had to leave the next day for Munich. That night though we hung out a bit in our room talking to Cam and Josh, and the former revealed himself to be a total ass. He was only eighteen and he'd clearly destroyed himself by drinking and smoking and partying too hard too consistently since he'd been away, boasting the worst smoker's cough you've ever heard, but all he did was complain. He didn't like Austria, didn't like Sydney, was over travelling but was going to keep doing it for another six months. And he kept going on and on, trying to let us know how rich he was. Later that night he was hanging out with this British girl in the room and didn't say a word except to get us to reiterate in front of her that we hadn't woken up the night before when he was having a coughing fit (clearly building a case to the girl that they could do whatever they wanted later and we wouldn't wake up and hear it). They went out and didn't get back till twelve, when he was clearly disappointed to find us still awake. When they left again after five minutes I said to Til, 'You watch, they've gone downstairs hoping that we'll be asleep by the time they get back. Bet you they come back at 1am.' So we stayed up, half because we were busy and half out of spite, and at 1am on the dot they came back in and went to sleep disappointed. Sucked in. Should've gotten himself a private room if he was so rich. What a schmuck-bitchler.
Here's a short video of some footage from Salzburg: