Today was the last day of our ‘around Austria’ orientation program.1 We had an early breakfast2 and then hopped aboard a train to Salzburg.
We were met at the platform by our tour guide, who gave us a few minutes to find some lockers to leave our luggage in before we were off. The tour was… I’d say interesting, but to be honest the man had a gift for finding the least interesting thing about all the locations we visited. And while he tried to crack some jokes, they ranged from falling flat to downright cringe-inducing.3 I suspect the tour company is going to be getting some unhappy phone calls tomorrow.
But hey, that aside, Salzburg is a pretty city, and we managed to see a good amount of it despite how tired we all are.4 Have some pictures:
The tour started off at a park that the Sound of Music fans in the audience might recognize:
There was a fun statue of a pegasus rampant5 out there, as well.
Inside the building were some… interesting statues.
And did I mention how dang blue the sky was all day? The streak of gorgeous weather continued.
On the way to our next stop, we went by Salzburg’s main shopping street, a series of narrow, (mostly) pedestrian-only streets, connected by a network of alleys.6 On that street was the fanciest McDonald’s sign I have ever seen:
We passed by another statue,7 a local religious figure from what I was paying attention to of the tour guide’s talking. The notable thing is the hand – somebody stole the statue’s finger recently. Presumably there’s a rather rude gesture being made perpetually in someone’s home or something.
Past that statue, we headed into a graveyard; entering it we saw what was probably one of the most gorgeous views from a graveyard I’ve ever seen.8
Directly above the graveyard was this little hint of a building, carved out of the rock above. I wish we’d had a chance to go back and see it, but by that point we were all pretty well lost, so I’ll just have to keep it in mind for the next time I’m in Salzburg.9
The final stop on our tour was a big ol’ impressive church, covered in statues and art. In front of it was a stage and quite a lot of seating, though I’ve no idea what they were going to be used for.
One of the things I noticed in the church was the interesting style of the carvings on the walls and ceiling. Once they were carved10 the artists went back and added some darker paint. Long story short, the resulting style makes the whole building look like it’s been cell-shaded.
Seriously, tell me this doesn’t look like a black-and-white comic or a coloring book or something.
On the way out, I had to grab a picture of this statue, because I clearly appreciate the sassy expressions that all the statuary we saw has.
After the tour ended, we split up into a few smaller groups and had lunch. The group I was with wound up going to a museum built in and focusing on the building Mozart was born in. It was pretty cool, but they didn’t allow any photographs inside. Which I obeyed… about 90% of the time. Because, c’mon, I’m a music major, how could I not take a picture of Mozart’s piano?11
Once we left there, it was mostly a matter of meandering around and killing an hour before we met back up and headed back to the train station.12 On the way, we made a stop at the local Bridge of Love13 so that Josie could be adorable for her anniversary. Having been named “Papa Grau”14 for the trip, I figured cracking some dad jokes and generally acting like a proud dad is what’s expected of me. Josie didn’t appreciate my humor.
- I’m pretty sure the purpose of the program is to get the worst of our tourist urges out, so we can act like actual students once we’re back in Vienna. ↩
- Well, everyone else had an early breakfast – I’m an early riser to start with, so it was the same time as usual for me. I spent the whole time cackling evilly at how tired everyone looked ↩
- A stop at a spice merchant led to a story about how Columbus’ expedition was intended to find a sea-route to India in order to procure cinnamon; it ended with “instead, he found the red indians!” ↩
- Hey, we’ve done a lot of hiking this week, we’re all exhausted. ↩
- “Why are you using the heraldry term for this?” you ask. “Why wouldn’t I?” I reply. ↩
- And in a few cases, tunnels through buildings. Austrians sure do love their tunnels, and I can’t fault them that. Tunnels are cool. ↩
- Bonus complaint from the group about the tour guide: he never took us to the front of statues, only their sides, and he never paused long enough for people to get really good photos. Tsk, tsk. ↩
- That is an oddly-specific category, but I’m standing by it. ↩
- Hey, future self: remember you’re supposed to do this. ↩
- Or molded or however they were made, I’m not an art historian. ↩
- Yes I’m aware that it’s a replica. That doesn’t make it any less cool. ↩
- For those wondering, I sorted through all my pictures and am typing this up on the train. This one doesn’t have electrical outlets, but it does have wifi, so I’m happy. ↩
- Or whatever it is that you call those bridges where couples symbolically lock padlocks onto the fence and chuck the key into the river. ↩
- “Papa Grey” or “Father Grey”, depending on how literal you want to get with your translation. Technically speaking, going into American English it should be “gray” in both cases, but it’s intended as a nickname so… I am really overthinking the linguistics of this nickname. ↩