I feel like Austria is one of those places that I really have never heard all that much about. I mean, I knew it had its difficulties throughout the WWII era but I don’t really ever remember having heard of it as a place to travel to, a place you wanted to make sure to see on your trip to Europe, like Rome and Paris. Over our one week break, after traveling through Poland and Germany, our group ended in Salzburg, Austria, home of The Sound of Music. The train ride into the country was enough for me to wonder why haven’t people been talking about this place more! It is, by far, the most beautiful place that I have ever been to in my life.
In Salzburg, the Alps are surrounding you. Walking out of the train station, in a beautiful 63 degree weather, the Alps greeted us with just barely snowcapped mountains in the distance. It was the most beautiful, breath-taking sight that I had the luxury to view for the next two days. Walking around Salzburg, we found cute shops and stores and immediately saw The Fortress that overlooked the entire city. That was our first destination. After dropping off our items at the hostel (and walking outside to a beautiful view of the Alps) we headed off to The Fortress. Most of our excursions are just wandering and knowing that eventually we will get to where we want to end up. That was much how our Fortress excursion went. We kept walking around, and around, looking up at the great castle beside us, wondering just how to get up.
After a while we came to a market where several little booths were held. A few booths had souvenirs and one had many different kinds of pretzels, from hazelnut covered pretzels to cream filled pretzels and apple filled pretzels. We made a pack that after we climbed to The Fortress we would reward our trip with one of these delicious snacks, and delicious they were! Eventually we did find out way to a very steep hill and many, many stairs leading up to The Fortress. After a bit of a workout, especially in such wonderful weather, we made it to the top and found a free audio tour. The tour led us to the highest point of The Fortress that overlooked the entire city of Salzburg. It was the most beautiful sight. There weren’t any buildings to obstruct your view and all you could see for miles in the clear blue skies were the mountains protruding up in the distance.
Being up there and overlooking the city, a sense of peace and serenity washed over me. It was the most calming place I think I may have ever been to (it even beats relaxing on the beach). The city below was filled with cute little buildings and shops, structured so much differently than they are back home.
Later that day we found that a lot of people were sitting in the grass along the river that ran through the city, so we decided to join them and find a spot to lay on. We relaxed along the river, looking to the left and seeing the Alps in the distance, behind a bridge that crossed the river. We could have stayed there all day in the perfect weather and clear blue skies, but there was more of Salzburg to see.
The next day we decided to take a Sound of Music Tour that led us to many of the places the film was made and even some of the locations that the real Maria and Captain Von Trapp were at, such as the place they were married. We saw the houses that were used to film the outside of the Von Trapp house, the different gazebos used in the film (there were two), and even the church where Maria and the Captain got married in the film that was about an hour outside of Salzburg in Mondsee. The drive through the mountains to Mondsee was unbelievable as well. Pictures that we took really don’t even do the view justice. We passed lakes of clear, bright blue water that was clean enough to drink, and ventured through the mountains. I really don’t know how to get across how much I absolutely loved driving through the mountains and all of the natural beauty that surrounded me those two days.
I honestly believe that Austria was my favorite place that I have been to so far in my life. I wish that I could have stayed longer and honestly did not want to leave on Sunday morning. I wish I could go back sometime during this trip, though I doubt I’ll be able to, but I can say for a fact that I will visit again one day in the future and highly recommend to anyone to go and visit there. I didn’t get a chance to go to Vienna, but hear that it is absolutely gorgeous there as well, and look forward to a trip there in the future.