After the high of Venice, even Salzburg was going to struggle to avoid disappointing me slightly and to be honest, plenty of things went awry this week which could have led me to be very stroppy, but somehow, being in such a beautiful place prevents that from happening.
First to Monday. I had what can only be described as a Venice Hangover. Despite my class only being at 11am, it might as well have been 7am for how tired and grumpy I was. After a quick session in the gym and an extremely long nap, however, I started to feel like myself again…
Until my 9am lecture on Tuesday, during which I discovered that I had managed to catch a cold in Venice. That, coupled with the fact that it was raining heavily and very very cold, didn’t leave me in the best of moods, so I caught the bus home as soon as I could to catch some zzz’s before my terrifyingly complicated seminar at 3pm. Even after a meeting with the tutor, I ended up just as, if not more, confused than before I walked through the door. The theory was that I would now cycle home, change and fix my new bike lights to my bike before going to basketball. As luck would have it, I spent an hour trying to affix broken lights, by which time I’d missed my bus to basketball and I had no means to cycle…. brilliant. Very annoyed and ill, I did a few push ups and got ready for the party at Haus Humboldt that evening…. which turned out to be filled to capacity by 10pm. Sodden and painfully sober, a group of us trooped over to O’Malley’s for a while before calling it a night.
The next day, I woke up in the full throes of illness and spent much of the day in bed deciphering various German texts before deciding that I had to get out and going for a run (again, not my smartest move). I did feel better the next morning however, and went to the gym again before heading over to my language course.
Friday marked the first day of my weekend, so I went to Europark to pick up various supplies, only to have my card declined at the checkout and at the ATMs. On the verge of a very public breakdown, I tried to call the card company, only to be told that they were “having system problems” which were “now fixed”. Not feeling particularly great after this, I headed over to the gym again to take out my anger on a few dumbbells… and managed to re-injure my recently recovered back again. Not one to drop out of a dinner date, I headed over to Zirkelwirt like a trooper to meet the girls and Katie, who’d come to visit from Regensburg. It’s easy to get sick of the hyperboles used to describe the food in this city, but let me tell you, Zirkelwirt is a hidden gem; traditional Austrian food in an adorable restaurant with a student discount! The dream! After a very satisfying Kasespaetzle, the six of us headed over to O’Malley’s for a few hours before heading home.
The next day, Adele and Katie had planned an excursion, Bo had a friend visiting and Iris was working, so Toni and I decided to take a trip to Schloss Leopoldskron, one of the many beautiful palaces in Salzburg. As the palace itself was closed, we instead took a lovely autumnal walk around the lake. After, we took the bus back into the Altstadt and walked down the Linzer Gasse in search of some Mozartkuegln – Toni couldn’t believe I’d been in Salzburg for so long and never had one! Then it was over to Getriedegasse to pick up an outfit for the Halloween party tomorrow and, finally, we headed to the much-lauded Afro Cafe, famed for it’s spiced teas.
By far the highlight of what started as a pretty dodgy week happened today when Toni, Adele, Katie and I drove to Berchtesgaden to climb to the Kehlsteinhaus, or Eagles’ Nest. After a scenic yet precarious drive, we began our walk up steep paths and through foggy, eerily spooky alpine woodland towards the infamous tea house. It was arduous work, but the scenery felt quite fitting for Halloween and was beautiful in its own Bavarian way. Soon enough, we emerged above both the clouds and the tree line and were greeted with a spectacular view: mountain tops peeking out from a blanket of clouds and the sea of woodland fading into the fog. Onward we walked and I don’t know if it was just the altitude, but the place had a certain sense of awe about it. After a couple of hours, we reached the Kehlsteinhaus and took in the 360 degree panoramic view of Bavaria and Salzburg – genuinely one of the most beautiful sights ever, even in the cloud. From the viewpoint, the house itself seemed to be floating above the clouds, on the edge of the world – it was truly spectacular… but extremely cold. So we headed inside the mountain hut style restaurant (it’s guise since 1952) and subjected ourselves to the unbelievably rude service of the staff there. After a walk around the building (it’s strange, and horrific, to think of who walked these corridors 80 years ago) we decided to head back down, through the mist and trees (it was knee-breaking work!).
Whilst the last bit of daylight clung to the sky, we headed into the town of Berchtesgaden – a quaint, typically alpine town – where we went into the Cafe Forscher Konditorei to have some well-deserved Kasekuchen and coffee. Since the clocks changed last night, it had turned dark by 5pm, so we decided to drive the 20 minutes back to Salzburg. A great day.
What started out as a tired, grumpy, stroppy week turned out to be quite beautiful by the end. I’m just trying to make the most of every day I have here (and do a bit of studying!), no matter what the weather and, as winter closes in, I’m excited to see what else Salzburg has to offer.