Monday, November 19, 2007

Salzburg, So Far


Day One: Arrive in Vienna, eventually find trains to Salzburg, and bus to hostel, settle in and wander around the city taking photos of everything! Find a beautiful clown busking in a square and he blows me a kiss. Stroll through food markets past stalls selling huge hunks of ham and cheese, pretzels, crepes, kebabs, fruit and veg, fish… past frozen fountains and shops with window display of dirndls (I WANT ONE, but all I can find is ultra-expensive brocade numbers from 100 Euros+), past fountains in their winter perspex boxes, old people in felt hats with feathers, through shops full of reindeer Xmas decorations… staring up in wonder at churches and abbeys and castles nestled into mountainsides or perched atop alpine peaks as horses pull carriages of tourists around the streets… its like a fairytale city, the icy green river and the milky white skies…

Day Two: Sound of Music tour. Singing along to the soundtrack in the van, giggling at the gazebo whilst discussing Lisle’s appalling lack of feminism in wanting ‘someone older and wiser, telling me what to do’, taking pix outside mansions and in gardens and by lakes and snow-covered fields. There was an appalling lack of suitably tacky merchandise, which was hideously disappointing- just a handful of average fridge magnets and some postcards really! So stocked up on Krampus goods instead, and if you don’t know who Krampus is just you wait for Christmas you naughty creatures… then the Salt Mine tour in the afternoon, highlights including the compulsory sexy blue overalls, TWO different and very steep miner’s slides/slippery dips to whiz down, a little train which looked like something the Seven Dwarfs would ride around on, and a trip across an underground river on a barge whilst a supremely tacky light display carried on around us. Heehee! I LOVE BEING A TOURIST, except for the expense of it all. Looking forward to settling down on known couches and floors and beds and being able to cook at ‘home’ and not spend quite so much money on accommodation and food. All the more for cheap/standby/student opera tickets and museum entries and gallery fees, am constantly finding more ‘culture’ to play with. Oh, its almost endlessly exciting!

Tried to go to gay bar, but was simply too exhausted. Combination of minor jet lag and acclimatising to the cold I think, plus the effort of dragging luggage about and having to THINK about everything (is this toothpaste? ja, zahncreme, okay… umm, now, what is shower gel called again? dusche something?). Still, there are plenty of bars and clubs awaiting me, and as this is the strictly business end of the trip I shouldn’t mind too much that I sleep and write for a lot of it. Need to be in some fit state for the conference, and with a paper written too!

Day Three: STILL KNACKERED. But almost have my paper written, and wandered about the city hiking up the castle and the abbey and generally exploring the back streets and other shopping areas, through the spectacular cemetery at St Peter’s church, and the church itself. Attempted to go to the Museum of Modern Art, but apparently it was ‘closed for the changing of the exhibitions’ so I just wandered back to the hostel via the ice-skating square and people drinking gluhwein and the remnants of the Christkindl market… Came back to the hostel to write some more, suddenly was EXHAUSTED and had a little sleep before dinner, which turned into about three hours, and then got up and was too sleepy to even contemplate going out again. Not sure what is going on, I have slept SO much yet I can’t seem to wake up for more than half a day! It can’t be jet-lag anymore, and I thought I was getting used to the cold, and I haven’t even had, or wanted, a beer since I got here so I’m not hung-over… A bloke at the bar suggested maybe it’s the altitude? I’m thinking a combination of all of it, plus the dry air. Despite all the precipitation it seems that humidity is awfully low, at least according to my dehydrated and ouchy sinuses. Hopefully I’ll wake up properly sometime soon, as its getting kind of tedious and its going to be a long cold air-conditioned and over-heated winter… More water? More food? Not more coffee, as that just seems to make me worse? Hmm. Can’t spend every night in Salzburg watching the Sound Of Music in the hostel, can I? Actually, bugger it, its kind of FUN, and cosy, to be surrounded by a bunch of fellow tourists watching a schmaltzy kitschy old film, in the city it was filmed in. And I’ve plenty more adventures to have, so a few days getting my bearings and my energy levels up are not too big a worry.

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