Monday, March 9, 2009

I love Austria

Last week was just a week of class, hanging out around Prague and getting ready to go to Austria for the weekend. Originally this trip was scheduled through the UPrague program and we were supposed to go to Linz and Salzburg. However at the last second we got an email saying that our trip had been canceled and no one told us why. We were all upset about this so we decided to go on our own, but to Salzburg and Innsbruck instead of Linz.

Friday: We woke up at 5AM got ready and took the train to Salzburg. To get to the train we had to take the tram and then two metros. The train and metro are in the same building. We bought our tickets and, found our train, found a compartment and boarded the Hogwarts Express. I had never been on a train before so it was really cool and fun because it was like having a little train room to ourselves. The train left at 7:15 and took 6 hours, so we got to Salzburg around 1PM. After we got off the train we went to the tourist information center and got directions to our hotel and bought tickets for the Sound of Music Tour on Sunday. We then took a bus to our Turnerwirt Hotel. The hotel ended up being pretty nice and our room was in a separate "villa" called the Beauty Tower. Clearly they knew who was coming. This was also good because we were bringing 5 people into a 4 person room. After we dropped our stuff off at the hotel we went into the downtown area to walk around and get some lunch. Surprisingly they eat fish everywhere in Austria. We went to this little restaurant that was a fish place but had all sorts of sandwiches, salads and actual meals. I got a sandwich with shrimp on it and it was really good and I was excited because I love shrimp. After lunch we went to Mozart's birthplace and saw the museum there. At the museum shop we bought the candy that Salzburg is famous for, Mozart balls. These candies are like lindt balls but a million times better. They're chocolate with nougat and a little marzipan and pistachio and I'm not sure what else in them and I think there might be two kinds. Austria is also famous for pretzels so we bought an apple one which was basically a pastry and a chocolate nut one which was also more like pastry than pretzel. They were absolutely huge so we split them among the 5 of us. After the museum we just walked around the town and walked up to the castle. I don't remember the name of it but it was really high up on a hill and we had a great view. It was also deserted and I was scared that someone was going to close the gates and lock us in. Then we walked down and walked around the town some more to find somewhere to go to dinner. We found this traditional Austrian place and I just got salad with chicken in it. It was really good though. After dinner we were exhausted so we just went back to the hotel, hung out and went to bed.

Saturday: Saturday was Innsbruck day. We woke up very early and caught the 6:30 AM train there so we got there around 8:40. Some people went skiing for the day but I didn't want to so me and Julie toured the town for the day. When we arrived we got coffee and strategized our plan for the day. We bought the Innnsbruck card for 25 euros and this got us into all the sights we wanted to see for the day and I calculated it and by buying this card I saved 26 euros. Our first stop was the Museum Goldenes Dachl. I'm not actually sure what this museum was about but the building has a golden roof and was really pretty. After the museum we went to the Bergisel Sprungstadion which was the Olympic ski jump. To get there we walked across the town so that we could see everything and it was absolutely beautiful, with views of the Alps and gorgeous buildings. Once we got to the Bergisel we walked up kind of a steep path and got to the jump. We took a funicular to the top and saw the views of the Alps from all three levels. Then I skiied down the jump. Haha. Then we walked around the stadium a little and then took a bus back to the center of town for lunch. For lunch I just got salad and I thought I was getting a multigrain roll but it turned out to be a bacon roll. I was very disappointed but I got a crunchy pretzel to make up for it. After lunch we went to the Stadtturn which is a church with a tower but unfortunately the tower was closed so we couldn't go up it. So we only took like 6 minutes in the church. After the church we conquered the Alps. We did this by taking the Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen. First we took a tram funicular type thing which went over the river to Station Hungerburg. Then we took a gondola to Station Segrube. It was really pretty on the way up but it was snowing so we couldn't see as far as we probably could have during nicer weather. The car was also filled with skiiers and I was blatantly a tourist because I didn't have skis and was taking tons of pictures. These skiiers must have been amazing because the trails weren't clearly marked and it wasn't officially a ski mountain, it was more like a mountain that people skiied down. Once we got there we took some pictures outside but we could barely see. Then we took another gondola and it was only the two of us and the operator. He said they had gotten 5 meters of snow in the past two weeks so people hadn't been skiing. Once we got to the top, Station Hafelekar, we took pictures but could literally only see a couple feet in front of us. But I was on top of the world! Literally and figuratively. It was a great feeling just knowing that I was at the top of the Alps. We only stayed at the top for like 15 minutes and then we took the two gondolas down and got on the tram. However, on the tram we stopped at the Alpenzoo and walked around. This zoo had a bunch of animals that lived in cold weather. It wasn't that exciting, it was better for little kids but it had great views of the city. It was also crazy to feel the difference in temperature from the top of mountain to only part of the way up, it felt a million times warmer. After the zoo we took the tram the rest of the way down and went to Alpenverein Museum. This was a mountaineering museum and had pictures, information, supplies and exhibits of mountain climbing since its beginning. It was really interesting. After this museum we went to the Swarovski store and I got cute earrings. Then we went back to the train station to catch the train back to Salzburg. Once we returned we wanted to go out to a cafe and get cake at a place that apparently had the best cake in Salzburg. However, it defnitely did not. My cake was not that good. No ones was great either. Then we went back to the hotel and just relaxed.

Sunday: Sound of Music Tour! We got to sleep in until around 8:30 because the tour guide was picking us up at 9:10. We got ready, packed up our stuff, checked out, got coffee and waited for the driver. Then we hopped in the bus and we ended up having a tour with the 5 of us and 3 other people who were staying at our hotel and were studying in Rome. The tour took us all through Salzburg and we saw the house from the movie, the theater they were in, the mountain they supposedly escaped over to Switzerland but it actually borders Germany, where a car drives down, the pond they go in and the gazebo where they sing I am 16 going on 17. We also saw a bunch of sights throughout the city. Then we drove through the Austrian countryside and saw gorgeous views of the Alps. We made a few stops to take pictures and one of them was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life. It was a lake surrounded by the Alps with a little town on it. We then continued the drive and saw some other views and then went to Mondsee, which is where the wedding church from the movie is. Throughout the ride we listened to the movie soundtrack. Our tour guide was also wicked nice. Everyone we met in Austria was wicked nice and friendly, much nice than Czech people are. Once we arrived in the town we saw the church, walked around a little, went to a souvenir shop and then ate in a cafe. We had apple strudel and it was delicious. It defnitely made up for the bad cake the night before. After we ate we drove back and went to the gardens where they sing and play in the movie. Then we went to the train station and bought our tickets back to Prague. Joanna and I got falafel and ate it on the train, it was really good. The weather was beautiful and sunny on Sunday so throughout the day we had really good views and on the train ride back we were able to see the mountains the whole time. I started to get really bored on the train and just couldn't wait to get back to Prague and go to bed. Unfortunately as we were getting on the metro to get back to our dorm someone stole Joanna's wallet out of her backpack. This sucked because they took her money but everyone on the entire metro had a backpack so there really wassn't anything she could have done. Luckily her passport or credit cards weren't in it.

Overall, this trip was amazing. Everything we saw was beautiful and I had an amazing time. Everyone we talked to was very nice and willing to answer any questions we might have. I loved Austria and it is a place that I would definitely like to go back to and would recommend anyone to go to.

1 comment:

  1. The Sound of Music tour sounded like fun. I wish that I had applied for the UPrague program when you did!