This week had probably one of the strangest, most surreal and yet most rewarding starts I’ve had since being in Salzburg, but you can bet your ass I’m not complaining (well maybe I did a bit).
Due to my inability to say no whenever anyone proposes an adventure, I’d ended up setting an alarm for 4am on Monday morning to hike up the Gaisberg mountain in time to watch the sunrise over the city. The forecast was perfect and it wasn’t as if we’d only hiked another mountain 12 hours previously…… so off we went. Hiking through woodland in the pitch black and in utter silence is simultaneously one of the most bizarre but most incredible things I’d done. Knowing that we were entirely alone was scary at times, but was overridden by the knowledge that below us, Salzburg slept whilst we did something, frankly, mental. The walk was fairly long and (predictably) uphill, but from around 5.45am the sky started to get lighter and we could see the lights twinkling in the city beneath us – it was absolutely magnetising. After two hours of walking and spectacular early morning views, we reached the summit, only to find it shrouded in mist and bitterly, bitterly cold. We stuck it out though at ate breakfast, hoping for a break in the clouds. Annoyingly, this never came and we had to walk lower to really see the sunrise over the city. By the time we reached Toni’s car again, it was 8.30am, but felt like 8.30pm and felt strange that I still had a whole day ahead of me.
After a quick nap, it was off to a seminar (which was really not worth the effort), and then back home to sleep for the whole afternoon. That night was Halloween and Toni had invited us to the party in the bar at her block (who knew that halls have bars here?!) so we donned our masks, tanked up with alcohol and made ourselves a surprisingly impressive buffet. The party itself was nothing to write home about, and, at the end of the night, it felt strange realising that 24 hours ago I’d been climbing a mountain.
Understandably, Tuesday was a quiet day to say the least and my hangover wasn’t helped by a slew of technical problems on my laptop, which I didn’t fancy explaining to an Austrian repair guy, so tried (unsuccessfully) to fix myself. Tuesday was also Allerheiligen, a Catholic holiday in Austria, so I didn’t feel too bad about having a lazy day! On Wednesday, I got my ass back in gear and spent some time in the library before heading off to the gym.
Thursday, again, saw me in the gym, after which I had my first Treffen with my study group for my Interkulturell seminar. We met in one of the traditional cafes on the Getriedegasse and sampled all different kinds of strudel – Apfel, Zwetschen, Marillen and Eintopf. My kind of meeting! Then I had my C1 course, but not before a rude Austrian man crashed into my bike and left me to fix it alone in the dark; I guess not all Austrians are as friendly as the stereotype. After the class, Adele and I decided that we weren’t quite ready to head home, so we stopped off at O’Malley’s for a drink and caught up with Leonie.
On Friday, I wanted to try something I hadn’t done for ages – ice skating! Leonie, Adele and I cycled to the Eisarena in the south of the city, rented some skates and tried not to be toppled over by the annoyingly confident children there. In my head, I was incredibly elegant, in reality, I was more like Bambi on ice. After the adrenalin rush of this, it was back to the library and then off to the gym. Later that night, Toni, Adele and I had an impromptu pub crawl as we went to most of the bars in the city, looking for one that took our fancy, but getting tired before we managed to settle anywhere – typical!
I’ve told myself that each weekend, I’ll travel somewhere new, be it in Austria or further afield, and Saturday was no different. Toni, Bo, Adele and I caught the train to Munich and spent the day wandering around the city centre, drinking plenty of beer, sampling local food and visiting the Schloss Nympenberg and the Englischer Garten. It was a lot to pack in, especially as it gets dark at 4.30pm here now, but we managed it (mainly thanks to the alcohol I dare to admit). I still haven’t completely decided if I’m going to take the job offer I have in Munich; I like the city, but I am in love with my life in Salzburg at the minute. Either way, it was nice to spend some time in a big city, to see the sites and pretty architecture there and to get to know it a bit – it really is beautiful.
After a long day in Munich, the plan was to sleep and work on Sunday, but I was woken up (relatively) early by excited texts from my friends here – it was snowing! Salzburg is famed for how beautiful it looks in the snow, and today was the day that I saw it in its most spectacular guise for the first time. I took a walk through the snow (I was too scared to run) before heading home to work, and to book our adventure for next weekend (all to be revealed shortly…). It was another great week in Salzburg; I can’t believe how fast it’s going – I never want to leave! I have such good friends here, and the opportunity to travel and experience things I’d never be able to otherwise. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I’m so fucking grateful to be here.