The hills are alive with the sound of Salzburg.

Posted by jswt | Posted in Austria - Salzburg, General | Posted on 17-01-2010


Quick facts learned in Salzburg:

1) Mozart was born here. The city is cashing in on him huge. He hated the place.

2) Red Bull comes from here. The guy who owns it is the second richest Austrian, and has his own hangar at the airport filled with toys.

3) Yodelling sounds *exactly* like hawaiian music if you slow it down.

So I’ve been in Salzburg for the better part of the week now, and it’s one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. It’s a small little oldschool city nestled up in the mountains with craggy cliffs and castles scattered all over town.

That beauty is put in check by the Austrian people – they speak German, and there’s something really bitter buried within that keeps them all scowling and unemotionally standoffish. Shouldn’t really paint a whole culture with the same brush, but so far all efforts to allow myself to experience otherwise have failed.

Not to say the week hasn’t been pretty awesome none the less…

Monday it was snowing, so we wandered around town in the snow, stopping here and there for coffee, shopping and an amazing dinner of fabulous fingerfood. Beauty beyond words.

Tuesday I trucked up into the hills with a few guys for a day of snowboarding at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, which are two towns in a valley that are literally surrounded by ski hills. I’ve rode all over the place, but have never been anywhere as massive as this. We kept moving all day, and we only made it about 1/3 of the way around the valley, and still had a good hour ride back to where we started at the end of the day. The snow wasn’t the best, but we managed to find some stashes of powder that weren’t technically out of bounds. Endless blue skies, sun, and good company made for a killer day.

One of the girls on the tour’s dad (a poker-pro) was opening a bowling alley in town, so Chris and a bunch of others were invited down to play poker with some of his poker buddies. The game didn’t last long, but the open bar and really crazy bowling alley kept things rolling till pretty late (nyuk nyuk).

Wednesday was a work day, and I popped over for dinner at the venue. Still not sure why the bus driver was yelling at me, or what he was saying, or why he refused to take my money for a ticket. Yay German.

Thursday was Chris’ day off, and we started it off with what might officially be filed under “gayest thing ever”: The Sound of Music tour! The classic musical was filmed in and around Salzburg, and a group of us from the tour joined a busload of gays and greys visiting the sights around town and heading out into the lake district. I watched the film a lot as a kid, and though I remember the music, I never really grasped the social context of what was happening. Travelling around and seeing where it was filmed, and realizing the actuality of the Nazi occupation and the dark shadow that hangs heavy in hearts around here, gave the tour some depth. Of course, that depth was wiped clear by the campiness of the tour guide, the whole bus singing Lonely Goat Herder (odelay, odelayee, oldealyeeehooo!), and just the general silliness that we brought along. I will admit to having a lot more fun than I expected I would.

To help boost our sagging testosterone levels after that morning, we spent the afternoon touring the menacing fortress that looms perched up above Salzburg. It’s got a thousand years of history and warfare to explore – guns, torture chambers, death, rebellions, mayhem! Hell of a way to flush Julie Andrews outa the system.

Nice Italian dinner (mmm – seafood risotto) and an early night wrapped things up nicely.

It’s been a bit of a slow work week as we’ve been having endless problems with the Internet at the hotel, and I’m just frustrating myself with idle efforts in wasted time. Would love to keep moving with the project I’m wrapping up, but figure this being the last few days of my trip I’ll spend the time where I get the most out of it.

Bittersweet on the fact that I’m heading home on monday — it’ll be nice to be home in my own bed and see my cat and apartment, but it’s been a great month and I’m going to miss the adventure and company… Hotel rooms can become quite homey very quickly. Chris’ll be home in 3 weeks for tour break and we’re really looking forward to the Olympic experience.

Ah well…
Dreams of Italy in 6 weeks are floating through my head, which’ll keep the travel bug at bay 😛