So that’s it, it’s over, I’ve left Salzburg. Even though the semester finished a month ago, it still feels like a really sudden departure. I consider this city my home now; I built a whole life there – friends, flatmates, sports – I understood the city and I felt more comfortable there than I’ve ever felt anywhere else. Leaving has been devastating. If it wasn’t for the fact that so many of my friends – the people who make the city mean what it does to mean – had already left, I don’t think I’d have had it in me to leave. I love this city more than anywhere in the world, and I’m so grateful to have had the experiences it’s given me.
So to my last week in Salzburg. After travelling back from Prague on Sunday night, it’s fair to say that Monday was pretty much a write off. On Tuesday, I did some admin, prepared for Munich and went to the gym. On Wednesday, I took the train to Munich to pick up my apartment keys and to leave some stuff there. My room is small, but nice enough. The rest of the flat is frankly disgusting, so since I’ve been here, I’ve spent most of my time cleaning. I got back to Salzburg later that evening, and headed almost straight out to the Augustiner, where the new Erasmus cohort was having there first Stammtisch. Adele introduced me to some of her new friends and we hung out for a while, but it felt weird, knowing that I’d be leaving so soon and that I’d never see these people again. With this changing of the guard in the Erasmus society in Salzburg, it kind of felt right that I should be leaving; so many of my friends had gone, it was becoming a different city.
On Thursday, I had a meeting at the unipark about my literature module, which went about as badly as could be imagined. Afterwards, Adele and I sat on the rooftop terrace looking over the mountains for old times sake, before I headed to the gym and Adele back home. It had got much warmer in Salzburg by now; there’s almost no sign that the snow was ever there, and I’ve finally been able to go outside without my thermals.
The next day was quite significant, as it was the day when I officially deregistered as a citizen of the city. I took the bus to Schloss Mirabell, and made my way to the office I’d entered six months prior as a newcomer to the city. This time, I left a former citizen, and wandered around the Mirabell Gardens for a while, before heading to Adele’s for some coffee and Netflix. After a few hours here, I took the bus to Salzburg Sued for my last trip to the gym here, and stayed until I could barely walk. The bus ride home was emotional, taking me through the city centre, past places that have become parts of some of my best memories. It didn’t feel real that I could be leaving. Before I came to Salzburg, I was a very different person to who I am now.
My last full day dawned, and I spent the morning packing. It was a bright, cloudless sky outside, so I walked from my apartment, through the hospital and along the river to the old town, taking in the view for one last time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear. At the foot of the Kapuzinerberg, I met with Adele and Leonie, and we followed the steep path to the top of the hill and looked out over Salzburg. I’ve never known a city with so many peaceful, secret oases within it’s central region as Salzburg. It felt kind of unreal being so close to, yet so far from the city centre. At the bottom, we parted ways with Leonie, and Adele and I had one last stroll through the sun-drenched Altstadt together. It is truly the most beautiful city in the world. As the sun set, I walked home, back along the river, and took one last look back before turning into the hospital. Of course I’ll be back in Salzburg, probably very soon, but I was more saying goodbye to the people and experiences I’d had as a student there, that can’t be replicated on a tourist’s visit. Naturally, all good things have to end, but some are more difficult to push away than others.
That evening, I watched TV to distract myself that I would be leaving the next day, and finished packing my things. The next morning, Adele came round, and together, we hauled my stuff first to the station, and then on towards Munich. That was it, I’d left.
Since I’ve been in Munich, things have been far from easy and perfect. I was living in a bubble in Salzburg, where everything seemed to go perfectly and my friends’ problems in other parts of Europe seemed far away. Now I understand them a lot more. That’s not to say it’s been a disaster thus far. On that first day, I was grateful to have Adele there; we unpacked my things, then went into the city centre to get some food. It was when I waved her goodbye at the station that it truly hit me that I wasn’t getting on that familiar train back to Salzburg too, that this was all very very real. That night was difficult, really difficult, but the next day, I busied myself with grocery shopping, cleaning, and meeting up with Katie, who had also recently moved to Munich. It’s been a bank holiday here for a while, so I’ve not been able to get much paperwork done, but I’m getting there, slowly. My living situation, as mentioned, is far from ideal: the room is small, the flatmates are dirty and reticent and the apartment smells, but I’m trying to clean and get by best I can – worst things have happened.
It still doesn’t really feel real, as if I don’t actually live here and that I’ll be back in Salzburg soon. As hard as it was to leave such a perfect life there, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s not to say no to an opportunity. I had an amazing time there, and I left whilst it was still amazing. Now I’m in Munich, and I start my internship in the morning. I’m terrified, frankly, and am very apprehensive about having a 9-6 routine every day – it’s just not who I am. However, how I’m thinking about this is that it’s only six months, and it’s a great opportunity. If I hate it, I’ll never do it again, but I’ll never know if I don’t try to make the best of it.