3 A.M. in Salzburg, and All’s Well!
So I ended up sleeping most of the way to Stuttgart, waking just enough to get off the train, wander out into the nearby street, and then find my way back to the train heading for Salzburg. Once on this train, I more or less quickly fell back asleep until we had crossed into Austria. Every now and then I’d come to just enough to see that we were still gliding by postcard-perfect landscapes, filled with green slopes, tidy houses tucked into stands of trees, inviting dirt roads winding through hedges, and corduroyed hillsides of terraced vineyards.
Salzburg was not the final stop on my train, so I wisely set my alarm for about 20 minutes before our scheduled arrival in Salzburg. Not only did this prevent me from sleeping through my stop, but it also gave me the pleasure of taking in some even more stunning countryside, lit by the wonderful light of the last golden hour of sun and backed by rocky crags of the Austrian Alps. Ironically, I disembarked one station too early, something that seemed self-evident once the train pulled away and the charming silence of the area set in. One passenger slid into a waiting Audi and pulled away, leaving me basking in the golden sunlight with nothing but the sound of birds. What a pleasant spot… but only for a few minutes until another local train pulled in. I hopped on for the 5 minute ride to the center of Salzburg.
I was able to find my hostel without much difficulty, though I arrived to find they were having troubles with their electrical system. The computers were down, so I just dropped off my bag and wandered into town in search of dinner. My plan is not to spend a ton of time in Salzburg itself, but rather find my way to a hike in the nearby mountains. I’ve seen enough foreign cities this year, and am not particularly interested in yet another. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by the charm of Salzburg. It’s much quieter and far more picturesque than I anticipated. I heard music wafting on the breeze and followed my ears into a park with stunning gardens. A wind band was nestled under a grove of linden trees, providing a Mozartesque atmosphere for those resting on park benches or strolling the grounds. An imposing, white castle loomed high on a hillside in the background, and dark clouds mixed with sunlight from below the horizon. I continued to a footbridge that crossed the Salzbach River and wandered through some quiet streets until I found a restaurant with nice, garden seating. I told the waiter to server me whatever he recommended, and I ended up feasting on a huge roast pork leg with sauerkraut, and potatoes. For dessert I had a wonderful Salzburg-style soufflé.
Back at the hostel, I checked in and then spent a couple of hours working on my laptop. With a decent WiFi connection, I’m able to remote in to my desktop back home and keep up with business. It’s either a wonderful gift or a curse. For my means and lifestyle, I definitely call it a gift.
After work, I pulled out my camera to download photos and update my blog. If I end up in a mountain hut tomorrow night, I won’t have a chance to update things perhaps until Monday. So now it is once again nearly 3 a.m., but at least I got some decent sleep on the train!