My first two weeks in Salzburg have been nothing but wonderful! I am gradually getting to see the well-known tourist sites (many of which I accidentally stumble upon). I have also seen much of Salzburg’s residential life and culture, both of which I find fascinating. I love walking out of my apartment every morning to the view of a castle in front of the most majestic mountains. I sometimes have to pinch myself because I did not think a place could be so beautiful.
Since I last wrote, I have settled into an apartment with an awesome American student in the residential part of town. One of my favorite things about living there is that I have met so many people from all over the world. I also finished up a language immersion class at Universität Salzburg, where I have improved my German immensely. I tested into a higher level class than I thought capable, but am reaping the benefits of constantly challenging myself. I can comfortably navigate the city, buy groceries, and interact with the locals. In the near future, I will be teaching English classes for an hour per week at the local high school. I also bought a bike and will enjoy riding along the river to get to anywhere in the city.
Since the beginning of the trip, the other students and I have kept busy with touring the Altstadt (Old City), trying new foods, and checking out the nightlife. We had the opportunity to attend a pastry sampling at a local coffee shop, as Austria is famous for their desserts. I was also invited to attend the International Mozart Competition where musicians from all over the world compete for who can play various arrangements. Each contestant played a half hour piece on the piano and was accompanied by the University’s world-renowned orchestra.
Of course every rose has its thorn, and I must admit that I had intense culture shock for the first two days that I was in Salzburg. I have taken German language classes, travelled to Germany, and have been looking forward to Salzburg for so long that I thought I was immune. The streets were breathtaking and the views were like no other, but something was not settling right with me and I must admit that I was very disappointed. I am talking about this because I have no doubt that almost everyone will experience this at one time or another throughout their travels and it is good to be prepared and educated. I now see no faults in my new home and know that my initial reaction is completely normal, but it was an awful feeling at first.
What I find the most fascinating about Salzburg is that there is so much history in the streets. If you don’t look close enough, you could miss buildings with centuries of back stories. I have passed by Mozart’s birthplace, the house of the composer of “Silent Night”, and even a damaged building corner from a WWII tank. Here, history is not behind glass in a museum, but rather blended into everyday city life.
I have also done a great deal of exploring the Alps on the weekends. There are no words to describe the scenery here… I have so many pictures to show and places to tell you about that I decided to dedicate another post to it. Stay tuned!
I will never stop singing praises about Salzburg. I am extraordinarily excited to see what these next few months will bring and will be sure to update you as much as possible. My hope is to persuade at least one person to visit Salzburg because in my eyes, it doesn’t get any better than this! More updates to follow, and so long for now!
Want to Visit Salzburg?
- Buy a Salzburg Card! For a very reasonable price, you will get unlimited public transportation, free admission into a good number of sites, and very good discounts for the more popular attractions.
- Rent a bike for the day! Riding along the river and through the streets is by far the best way to see the city.
- Although it is very easy to stumble upon some “Sound of Music” movie sets, I am sad to say that Julie Andrew’s mountaintop is actually in Bavaria…