Or rather, take a train to every mountain. Which we did, quite early in the morning, to head from Vienna to Salzburg. For all you non-musical-fans, Salzburg is the town in Austria in which the Sound of Music is set. Outside of that, it's a beautiful place to see a little bit of Austria outside of Vienna, and to see some of the incredibly beautiful mountain scenery. After napping uncomfortably on the train, we awoke to a mountain view and a short walk to our hostel.Salzburg is like walking through a display of hollywood scenery: every corner turned, anotherbacklit, blue, snow-capped mountain pops out at you. The city is a mix of modern and old, but still manages to retain its small-town charm. At our hostel, we were checked in by a man who may or may not have actually been the child of an elf and a hobbit (why do I keep referencing Lord of the Rings here?). He had elvish ears, was of short stature, and liked to do little dances. He also had a beer belly, since he kept running away from the counter to drink from a beer he had waiting across the room. There was seriously not a moment when this guy did not have a beer.
checked in, we headed to our room to drop our stuff and encountered our roomates, alsoamerican. These girls were the quintessential opposite of the type of traveler we've tried to be. They had money belts. They had zip off pants. They were headed to Prague next as well, but were concerned to take the same evening train we were taking since "the czech republic after dark is really not a good idea for three small girls like ourselves." While they were very nice, they seemed very sheltered for college grads who were travelling europe for 3 weeks. They didn't like to leave the hostel after dark, felt the need to check their money belts every morning, etc. It made me feel very glad that while we're safe with our belongings and ourselves (we travel together, and in Rome at any hostel without a locker I sleep with my purse like its a teddy bear), we're still able to unwind enough to not be constantly on edge. There's danger everywhere, even *gasp* in the united states! Being careful shouldn't mean being unable to really enjoy your trip because you're too scared to experience anything.
Anyway, moving on. Salzburg was the one place we decided that we would be shamelessly touristy. So, we signed up for the sound of music tour. cheesy, I know. but it was so much fun! We got some lunch, watched some of the movie (which our hostel shows a few times a day), and got ready for the tour. We boarded a bus which took us around to all the filming locations, with a guide in a traditional austrian dress telling us movie facts and bizarre jokes the whole way. Up in the lake district, we were able to get out and spend a little time in one of the small towns,Mondese (where the church was were Maria and George got married :) ). the views were so stunning, like something out of a picture book. Quite hard to describe and impossible to capture in pictures. The hillsides were vibrant green, dotted with bright yellow and blue and coral houses, among other colors, and bracketed by a brilliant blue lake on one end and deep blue and white mountains on the other. sitting in a cafe in this small town eating strudel and drinking coffee was honestly one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. I suppose that's not a strange thing, that my favorite moments should include coffee and dramatic views.
Okay, so I should stop waxing poetic about Austria. To summarize- Go to Austria. Absolutely.
So, moving on, we headed back to salzburg on our bus (including a sound of music sing along :) ) We walked around the old town for a bit and found a restaurant that was serving exactly what we wanted: beer and Weiner schnitzel.Yum. We each ordered a different beer off of a menu completely in German by just blindly pointing, and ended up quite happy with our choices! sated on food and sound of music, we decided to make it an early night so we could get up the next day and see some more of Salzburg before our two'oclock train.
Continuing on with Salzburg (I know this entry is very long!! Sorry!), We woke up early the next day, grabbed some breakfast at the hostel, headed out to walk around and see more of the old city. We walked up a short section of the mountain, following the stations of the cross statues. Gorgeous views, of course. Then, we headed up towards the Salzburg fortress. Because we were intrepid and cheap, we decided to take the hike up rather than the funicular. Which was... difficult. Beautiful views, but so tough! Still, it was worth it for the incredible views. we could see a lot of the places we went on the bus the day before. I tried to take a picture of every single part of the view, so when I get back I can put together a panorama. Hopefully it will turn out alright, since i don't think there's any other way I could describe it! After, we hiked back down and got some lunch, followed by German pretzels from a market (yuuuuum. We got a chocolate, a nutty one, and an apple one, and split them). Then, we headed back out to the train station! Which brings me to right now, where I'm sitting on a train writing blog posts to post later when I can get internet. We got a whole compartment to ourselves, 6 seats for 3 people :) So now, I'm off to look out the window as the Czech republic flies by.