This is Austria – Day 4-8 (Hall, Innsbruck, Heiligenblut and Hallstatt)

I do a lot of thinking after I travel.

Actually, I probably think a lot more about my travels after it’s done compared to when I am actually on it. Which probably makes sense given I am generally more reflective in nature. That’s not to say I am an imbecile during my travels. The obvious subtexts can still scream out at me, but for the most part I try and enjoy thing as they unfold. It’s only when I gird myself for a flight home, suffer banal airplane food, drag my luggage to a waiting car, endure a car ride that’s usually more frantic than I want it to be, unlock the doors to my home, turn on the air-conditioner, have my first local meal sometime in the next couple of hours, and look at the pictures many times over the next few days, that things start to sink in and I start to think about the trip.

A lot of what I’ve been thinking about this trip concerns a specific occurrence that happened during my time in the mountainous town of Heiligenblut, more or less in the middle of our trip. I had made my way up to higher ground with my father-in-law (FIL) to grab a picture of The Church of St Vincent at dusk, which is really the centerpiece of this otherwise quiet mountaintop town. We were on the way back to the town center to rendezvous with our respective wives when I saw the thing that has stuck in my mind so vividly since. No, it wasn’t a portly man crossing the street, naked, except for a pair of boots, in freezing weather, although that would be pretty hard to scald out of your mind as well. It was an aged gentleman, with a bottle of milk in hand, coming out of the only supermarket in town, walking up an open staircase just next to it, opening the door to his home, which is stacked rustically on top of the market against a hill, and going in.

What? No nudity? Hamsters spontaneously combusting? A dog peeing while doing cartwheels? Just a man with a bottle of milk heading back to his home? You’re out of your mind joe. No I am not. Hear me out. I can’t profess to have travelled extensively so whatever I say in regards to this, you’ve got to adjust it a little against the ‘talking out of your butt’ scale. So yeah, I’ve not travelled a lot, but I have travelled quite a bit in the last two-three years. At no point in any of our travels, did I look at the life the people had in those countries and wished that I had it too. Not even when we were high up in the quite magical town of Kilmuir, surrounded by sea with the clouds just slightly above us, did I feel this. Not even when we were walking along the almost-unimaginably beautiful beaches of Paros did I feel this too. I definitely did not feel it in the cosmopolitan cities of London, Edinburgh and Athens as well. Don’t even get me started about Australia. There was an itch in Bangkok, but it did not amount to much.

But up there, looking at him, I was boiling green with envy. Why? I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. Just the combination of the very pleasant weather, the small town infrastructures of Heiligenblut (The town center was basically just a single street with one market, and one bank), the view that was right there in front of his home, how completely stress-free he looked. I tried to reserve a small percentage that the man I saw was just a tourist renting the place for the night or maybe a terribly unhappy man inside but it was no use. Someone had to live, somewhere in this town right? Jealousy justified then.

I wanted what he had. Being born here (Taking massive liberties now), in this gorgeous town that just purrs in autumn but looks like Santa’s holiday home during Christmas from the snow and the simple but beautiful life that he was given no choice on. Yes, perhaps we always want what we don’t have and secretly inside he may be wishing that he has made it a corporate banker somewhere in warm and stressful Southeast Asia and we could just trade roles but I am going to fashion a guess and say, no. He doesn’t envy my life, but I envied his terribly.

Go tell it on the mountains

Nature has a way of righting the wrongs of men. If our exposure to Austrian civilization thus far (Salzburg) had left us cold (literally) in regards to the people in this country, then this seem to become better the further we venture into the wilderness. Thematically it felt like a similar point to the one I made about Greek towns and how they look more beautiful the closer they are to the sea, almost like they are nourished by it. It’s the same thing with Austrian people and the woods – they seem happier and friendlier the further we ventured away from a city. It’s almost as if men become less pre-occupied with oneself when they retreat to basics. Okay that’s stating the obvious. I guess removing oneself from the usual tropes, expectations and stress that come from trying to live and succeed in a dusty, loud and obnoxious city can allow someone to focus on other things, like being a decent human being. Heiligenblut represented the furthest into the Austrian woods we ventured into but before we got there we managed to spend two days exploring the region of Tirol, namely Hall and Innsbruck.

In the list of ‘places we could do without if we ever came back to Austria’ (basically a useless list), Innsbruck hangs pretty high up there. It has neither the cultural richness nor medieval vibe of Salzburg and not enough of pizzazz to be Vienna. The selling point that it is a ‘city surrounded by mountains’ becomes moot when part of your program involves driving and hiking up said mountains and generally being surrounded by them a lot. Innsbruck felt a little like an Australian city to me. Yes I am aware I was in Central Europe and not somewhere in between the Indian and Pacific Oceans despite their similar names. It was a pleasant city, with wide roads, brisk wind and pretty architecture. Shops were arranged neatly in designated blocks that were obviously calculatedly-painted in various colors. But it lacked character and it ranked really low in the possibilities scale (For more info on what that is, go here), with buildings neatly arranged in grids so you can see the block you’re walking on is clearly going to be boring. The chances of you being pleasantly surprised by a store felt rather unlikely when you can see that the next large block consists of basically just a Spar.

The medieval-like city of Hall

Hall on the other hand, cares little for trying to be anything but itself. The town center in Hall feels like a place out of time. In a tribute to the randomness of my mind, I find myself thinking about that scene in that kitschy Master of the Universe movie in the 80s starring Dolph Lundgren where a portion of the city was transported back to Eternia because of some cosmic key. Wasn’t Courtney Cox in it? She looked really fetching. Wasn’t Skeletor basically just a man behind a skull mask? There was also being that looked a little like a Troll. Yeah, the ones on a keychain. What, the movie has a RT rating of 17%? Come on, that’s harsh. Oh thank God it just about shaves it against that awful Gerard Butler romantic comedy. Man, Gerard Butler has been in some seriously awful films, except 300 that is. That I enjoyed. Hey wait, that scene where he kicked the emissary into the large hole, who actually has to go down there to clean the hole of bodies? Are there steps to go down? I don’t remember seeing any. Maybe they are lowered down.

Oh sorry, got seriously distracted there. Hall yes a city that was out of synch with time. Yes it was like that scene in that He-Man movie because its town center felt so old and medieval, which is quite displaced from the more modern surroundings you have to pass through to get into it. But it’s precisely this jagged edge to its geographical existence that makes Hall endearing. It’s akin to that friendly uncle you have that has become so unfashionable that he doesn’t even try anymore. Hall felt like that. It seems neither interested to be gradually more modern like its outer fringes, or to fully embrace its medieval-ness enough to make it relevant to modern times. Instead it sits somewhere in between – generally unbothered with what everyone else has to offer, comfortable in what it is. Flower shops stood beside pizza parlors and bookstores in a un-curated manner, all geared towards serving the locals rather than tourists. I do generally prefer towns that appear more concerned with serving its locals rather than pandering to tourists. I’ve always preferred a more immersive travel experience and I am not able to do that if the town/city I am visiting insists on treating me like a vacationer.

A veal Schnitzel

I had put off eating a Wiener Schnitzel up till this point. Seeing it as the closing cut at the end of an encore, the epic orchestral finale to a concept album. I need it to be perfect. My resilience wore at Hall. Why? No idea. Probably a combination of early morning driving, hunger and the friendly waitress in a milkmaid dress at the restaurant in Hotel Goldener Engl. Actually it may be because they had a veal one on the menu. It’s normally pork. It was nice. Fluffy, breaded flattened veal deep fried and served with potatoes and elderberry jam. It was nice, but hardly world-altering. My mind drifts back to something my wife said while we were on a short break in Bangkok earlier in the year, in reference to a stir fried cabbage dish in the restaurant Supanigga (I know, a rather unfortunate name), ‘How nice can a cabbage dish be?’ Nevertheless we went with the majority, given that everyone in the restaurant had that dish on their table. It was seriously awesome. So I would transplant that same thought here, ‘How nice can a piece of deep-fried breaded veal’ be?’ Or to weave in a more Malaysian-centric version of the same thought, “How nice can a veal version of a Chicken Maryland’ be? The answer is nice, but far from awesome. It was no Thai-style cabbage. That saying it was decent enough for me to eat it a few times more for the remainder of the trip. But what I thought would be the epic finale to a widescreen concept album turned out to just be a catchier pop cut in the middle of an unlistenable album. Appreciated, but was never going to make the album good.

The thematic and literal high-point of the trip was our drive up to the summit of Edelweißspitze. Well not exactly the drive-per se because I was the driver so all I was focused on was for our Jeep not to be a large orange dot falling from a height to people at a distance. I have spoken before about how the Caldera view in Santorini at times appeared so large that it feels impossible for our eyes to take it all in at a glance. The feeling is the same at many points during our summit up the High Alpine Road. The trees looked more imposing here, threatening to reach towards the heavens, the mountains standing tall like a threatening monolith designed to suffocate your point of view and the river valleys seemed so far away down that it feels no longer real nor tangible. Nature of this sort heals the soul in a way. Suddenly, you no longer feel like the most important thing in the world. All self-centeredness recedes because you discover that there things out there that are put in this world to make your life’s narrative feel so insignificant. All the pressures of modern life, the intoxication we feed ourselves to survive it, the arguments we start and end to endure the people in it – it all just fades away in one fell swoop and you’re for a moment, rewound back to a vanilla state and you start gaining some perspective on your existence again. I love that feeling. It doesn’t last of course. But to feel it even for a moment, once in a while, is rather nice.

Imagine, a cup of coffee here

If Edelweißspitze brought us up to the clouds, then our next destination Hallstatt ensured that we fell back down to earth with a loud thud. In my recent travels, I have quite often encountered nature of staggering beauty in loggerheads with the tourism industry around it that aims to earn a buck out of it. And in most of those encounters, while the industry is mostly off-putting, in all instances it has largely failed to diminish the sheen of nature at its finest. Not quite so in Hallstatt.

The charm of Hallstatt is probably still somewhere in there, buried under caked layers of side-street peddlers, touch-and-go travelers and touristy restaurants but not quite enough of it peeks through to remind me of it. Instead the experience I get is a town that’s chiseled and constructed out of a holiday brochure. It has betrayed the spirit and soul of its history to serve its new master – tourism. I find towns and cities like that unappealing. The mental image is likened to to a sound stage for a movie studio. Construct a historical town out of nothing? Sure. Which is tragic because Hallstatt is a town steeped in history. But all that has been defaced by a glossy exterior that leaves a plastic taste to the mouth.

That’s not to say Hallstatt isn’t still beautiful. It clearly is. The sight of swans and sucks waddling in the lake, framed against the mountains and a seducing sunset remains one of the most enduring images of the trip for me. In some strange way, I am glad I experienced it, even more glad that it was only for a night but a place I am certain I would never want to return to again.

I had made it a habit on the trip to rise early to read my book in the morning, mostly outdoors, wherever I was and my most favorite experience doing that was at our accommodation near Hallstatt. The house had a nice backyard garden with a view of the distant mountains. I sat there, some sun radiating the ends of my toes, in relatively freezing temperatures, snuggled under a blanket, reading my book. It was very nice. I have the twinklies now just thinking about it. Many people may remember Mozart’s house or Mirabell Palace but I will always remember these little intimate moments more than the big tourist attractions. I basically travel for them.

People have asked me what I thought of Austria. The truth is, every time I do, I largely think about the time we spent away from the city and in the outback regions of the country. I think about the wonderful hike we had up to Lake Sandersee in Großglockner. Our scenic walk through the Margaritzen reservoir to get there. The spicy goulash we had at Panoramarestaurant at Kaiser Franz-Josefs-Höhe after our hike. All the places we stopped at along the High Alpine Road to try and take the view in. A moment at the summit of Untersberg, when I was alone with my camera with a view of the entire valley in front of me. Trying to take a picture without gloves at 3 degrees C and watching my hand turn red from the biting cold (it was fun, really). The night walk we made from our accommodation in Heiligenblut to our dinner place 15-mins away, through streets lined with homes, dwarfed by the mountains around them. The wonderful staff together with the two lovely Bernese Mountain Dogs Ella and Lucy at our accommodation at Tirol, Gasthof Badl, who gave us the first and probably only proper warm hospitality we would receive in Austria. In a sense, our trip joy curve was bell-shaped. It summited at the mid-point of it all before spiking up again when we hit Budapest.

Hello

So what do I think of Austria?

‘The nature there was worth the trip’.

This is Austria – Day 1-3 (Salzburg)

The charm of a city for me, as I have often noted, is almost never in the sights.

Very few statues, monuments and buildings that would have trigger-happy vacationers snapping away their phone cameras like semi-automatic machine guns, interest me on a fundamentally emotional level. I can appreciate its beauty, assuming if it is indeed beautiful, but I often find myself gravitating emotionally towards things less seen. It might be a byproduct of not wanting to associate myself with thoughtless holidaymakers who very often may be taking a picture because they are told they should or that the person next to them is. I feel like saying ‘it’s not that I’m being judgmental’, but yeah I am. I can still remember the exact moment this became an issue for me.

It was The British Museum, London, 2018, at the Rosetta Stone display. The throngs of vacationers with their monopods and phone snapping away, a lot of them with their flash functions on, just imbedded something inside me and made me feel like I did not want to be there anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with taking a picture of something that interests you, I do it all the time when I am traveling. The thing that made me feel sad was that almost none of them appeared interested to look at the stone with their own eyes, or even read the description on the display. A majority of them walked away after they got a picture. Box ticked, let’s move on to the next thing I am supposed to take a picture of. The entire situation was such a put-off that it made me completely disinterested with looking at the Rosetta Stone for myself. It’s like hating someone cause they shared the same first name as the guy who managed to snag your school crush.

We landed in Vienna at around slightly after lunchtime and proceeded to procure a car from one of the most obscure car rental section of any airport I’ve ever been to. I mean it felt like we were descending into Plato’s ninth circle of hell or the multiple levels of a suburban shopping mall (Yes, they are the same thing). Granted my mind may be a little foggy now on the exact details but the journey from the Arrival gate to the counter might’ve been a little like this.

  • Take an escalator down two floors.
  • Turn left just before the coffee stand and walk into the door just next to the broom closet.
  • Turn left just before the toilet but after the subway scene in the ‘Bad’ video.
  • Take a flight of stairs six floors down.
  • Fight through four battalions of orcs.
  • Third counter on the left.

It felt like the rental car companies in the airport were being treated like Milton in Office Space.

Our left-sided ‘orange is the new loud’ steed …

We got handed a sparkly orange Jeep as our ride which is just the kind of loud statement we needed for someone (me) who had never driven on the left-side before. I mean what would you prefer if you had a car heading towards you on collision course – a boring silver sedan or a bright orange Jeep? My point’s exactly. That saying, left-side drive turned out to be not so bad. It’s really just a matter of thinking something but doing the opposite. Kind of like being in a marriage (okay low ball, don’t murder me dear). Three hours, a bitter lemon and a Beatles playlist later, we arrived at the legendary city of Salzburg. Yes, birthplace of Mozart, the Salzburger Nockerl and do-re-mi (Eh, no?).

One of the pictures I took on the walk during the first night.

My first meeting with Salzburg was a hopeful one. You know how it is when you meet someone for the first time and exchange pleasantries. In rather rare occasions you get this urge and prompt that this might be someone you want to have a proper conversation with, to actually get to know better. It’s hard to say what it boils down to. A slight pause in the middle of a sentence that seems intuitive to you, an inappropriate quip that happens to mirror what you were thinking as well, the color of their eyes, etc. It was like that with me and Salzburg. Our accommodation only had one shower and there were four of us so I slipped out for a short walk around the city while everyone else proceeded to clean airplane grime off them. It was really short, 20-minutes perhaps. I walked down Griesgasse and turned left on to Franz-Josef-Kai, walked along the riverside and up the Makartsteg bridge. The air was cool but not biting and the streets was quiet but not deserted. It was just the perfect combination of factors that made it pleasant after a long drive and flight before that. That 20-minutes, to gather my thoughts and reflect, gave me a nice in, to gradually develop an affection for the city. Catch even the most stand-up guy on the wrong day and you’re still not going to feel it. This was really giving each other whatever that’s necessary to form a meaningful friendship. That walk helped me do that. Me and Salzburg had a nice handshake and agreed we would see how this would go.

For me, the charm of Salzburg was not in Mozart Wohnhaus (the residence where Mozart grew up in), Hohensalzburg Castle or St. Peter’s Abbey, all admittedly beautiful, historically-rich and magnificent structures. It also wasn’t in the sprawling Mirabell Gardens, key stop in The Sound of Music tour, which my father-in-law was on in his mind, although I did managed to get a good shot there of myself without my gut hanging-out. Rarer than a golden tiger in a Karen Millen dress, that one. The charm of Salzburg for me was in the streets worming from and around Residenplatz. Not the fountain where it was the site of some Von Trapp noodling but the unadorned and quirky streets strewn all around it like after-meal spaghetti specks on a plate.

I’ve always been attracted to the underbelly of a city more than its fashionable threads. I feel the true treasure of someone is never realized on their best days anyway, but their worst. It’s probably why I am innately drawn to characters with at least some residue darkness in them. I have very little interest in supposedly well-adjusted individuals. I think it was Kurt Cobain who said, ‘I was tired of pretending that I was someone else just to get along with people, just for the sake of having friendships.’ Okay actually that just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to the point I am trying to make but I was really struggling trying to find a suitable quote that was made by someone that is relevant to me. But I’m sure you get what I am trying to get at.

That saying, this was as well-sculpted an underbelly you would ever see. There are little nooks that take you to lovely tiny shops selling anything from Christmas trinkets to marmalade. It was not at all grimy or seedy. No slimy red-faced gruff in a floral shirt with stacks of gold chains around his neck, that’s dying to be your genie in a bottle here. Just nice little cobblestone paths that lead into little gritty tunnels that open up into pretty squares.

I’ve always rated cities based on my very own ‘possibilities’ scale. What does this scale mean? It means I rate it according to the level of possibility that I may discover something interesting while walking its streets. I rate malls under the same scale too. The quickest way to turn me off a mall is to have exactly the same franchises every other mall has but in newer and larger lots. No interest in that at all. I am more fascinated by dingy malls. The ones that offer the papa who’s been making coffee out of the same hell hole for the last 15-years. The one with the music shop with old faded CBS cassette copies of Springsteen albums. I have no interest in things that can be put together with a large pay cheque. I am attracted to history, to stories and well, possibilities. Salzburg does not rank as high up that scale as say a city like Bangkok or Mykonos, but it’s still pretty decent. The little nooks as mentioned, offer some hope for possibilities and that drove my intrigue enough to explore it further.

That saying, the culinary breath and borders of Austria leaves little room for any exploration. If Thailand’s was the size of the Americas, then Austria’s would be the size of my living room. Okay, sorry, there I go over-exaggerating again. I tend to do it when I am excited. It’s probably the size of an apartment block. Yup no more exaggeration. No ships needed to conquer this baby at all. Most restaurants that serve native Austrian food serve roughly about the same things, and there are not much twists to the tale. There are differences. Serving your Wiener Schnitzel with elderberry jam as opposed to lingonberry jam is a minor twist but hardly one that will get you off your seat. It’s mostly still a slab of breaded deep fried meat. I did not have a Schnitzel incidentally when I was at Salzburg. I was saving it like the epic orchestral closer of an album. It needed the right time and feeling.

Bärenwirt did provide a decent introduction into what Austria had to offer (which we later found out was the equivalent of three-chord punk songs that toggle between meat and potatoes). That saying this was pretty decent meat and potatoes. Parked under a hostel, the restaurant offered what off-hand looked like interesting choices. The frothed beer soup starter was interesting. I liked it. The wife wasn’t so convinced. I think she was expecting old cucumber soup with beer. The Gebackene Kalbsleber mit Erdäpfel-Gurkensalat caught our eye (not because it sounded like an evil Germanic spell to us) but because it was ‘deep-fried calf’s liver with potato-cucumber salad’ (sorry to disappoint you spellcasters). I mean if you’re going to walk the tightrope with uric acid, why not be completely suicidal instead? I did love the ½ Backhendl mit Erdäpfelsalat (Einstein’s formula for relativity in German?), which was ‘deep fried chicken half-a-chicken with potato salad’ (starting to see a pattern here?). There was also too much Erdäpfel on the table in the end. The chicken was billed as ‘one of the best in Europe’ so we had to try it. Doesn’t have a nick on ‘goreng berempah’ but it was pretty good. Interestingly, it was half a chicken but each part was deboned so we had trouble separating between them. Asians no likey this.   

Mozart Wohnhaus

As much as it wasn’t the charm point of Salzburg for me, I did enjoy my tour around Mozart Wohnhaus, the house that Mozart grew up in, which today doubles up as a museum dedicated to the life and travails of the Mozart family but more specifically Wolfgang’s father, Leopold. Walking through his life and how he fostered one of the greatest musical minds in history was fascinating. He did not complete formal education himself because he found it boring. He instead poured himself into music and read incessantly and he appeared to have a burning desire to nuture a curiosity towards life in his children. In their free time, they played board games, darts and bowling to entertain themselves. Despite not having formal education, he was still considered a highly intelligent man. He wrote Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, which is still considered today as ‘the’ book for violin playing. It just put a smile on my face thinking that scores of stuffy people hide behind the veneer of classical music as a appropriate trope for their well-manicured life but in actual fact, history suggests that convention was hardly the main course of the day for a lot of these classical music greats. Snark at the punk who dropped out of school? Well, that piece you’re listening to was also written by someone who dropped out as well.

It was also particularly heartening for me personally to see the passion my father-in-law had in drawing context between the places we were visiting and the scenes in which did they appeared in the film. What film? That film. The only Salzburg-related film that is relevant to Asian uncles and aunties. Yes that one. It’s always nice to see older people within our orientation, being excited about something that is not just merely functional in nature. It’s one thing for them to be excited about getting a great deal on a mattress at the local mall, quite another when they appear curious and interested in exploring the sites of a film they loved so dearly in their younger days. Always puts a smile on my face when I see older couples immediately rush out to the dance floor to slow dance when their song comes up. Their bodies may look 60 but look at their eyes, they are 16 again. It was nice to see some of that spark in his eyes. He even watched the film in the plane to prepare himself. We visited the Mirabell Gardens, the Petersfriedhof cemetery and the Nonnberg monastery as a result, as he shuffled from one location to the next like a kid at the aisles of a candy store, arms spread wide, ready to grab everything.

Nonnberg, in particular, left the strongest impression on me. Perched on top of a hill, it still houses nuns today, with its historical structure buffed up by some modern expansions. It has not lost its charm though. I walked into the cathedral within the monastery grounds. I caught it at the perfect moment, when it was empty except for someone who was knelt at the altar. For a brief moment, there I was, in a historically-rich empty hall in a place quite remote from where I am from, observing the intricacies of the structure, I imagined what it would feel like to convene with God here weekly. It was a good moment, but it was not a good moment I can truncate down to a nice snappy reason. I felt a kind of comfort, mixed with a dash of peculiarity – that I was there and no one would be able to take this moment away from me ever again. I took a picture of the cathedral as more of a mental note to myself of the moment. Then other people started walking in and I made my way out to the path just outside the gates. Just as I did, a bunch of Americans, who were perched on one of the lookout points just outside the gate with acoustic guitars and a cello, started playing and singing Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’. The rumble of the cello in particular gaining glorious traction in the airy hills. This culminated with what I had just felt and the gorgeous view of the whimsical city of Salzburg in front of me just made me smile. It’s funny, when I think about my travels, my mind immediately goes to these often scant impressions that may seem nonsensical to everyone else, but incredibly meaningful to me. I quite like that my mind is built this way.

Not that modern day Salzburg isn’t stuffy in some way, despite the punky ways of its musical godfathers. It most certainly is. There is a sense that this is a city, and possibly a country, that hasn’t quite learned to let it’s pretty little locks down properly just yet. I’ve written a lot about the Greeks and how their warmth is a reflection of the weather that reside above them. In that same way, the Austrian people were as apprehensive and cloudy as their frosty months. That’s not to say we encountered anyone who was outright rude to us. Oh wait, there was that bald bastard at Café Tomaselli. Here’s a tip from me – skip that place. Cakes were shit, coffee was tepid and its only saving grace was a wonderful mezzanine floor outdoor terrace that overlooks a beautiful square. Here’s my suggestion, look out your accommodation window instead and spend your money somewhere that isn’t run by stuffy grumps in white shirts draped over black, black hearts.

Salzburg isn’t a large city and it often felt like all roads led to Residenplatz. That intimacy is what makes it a wonderful city to explore. It at times felt like all the important ends of the city are just around the corner or a short walk away. That may not appeal to some but I’ve always been a deeper rather than a wider person (Not talking about central midfielders in a football formation). I need to drill into the bowels of the city to really feel its vibe and to stare at its true face. That’s how I learn to love a city. Not by walking just its pristine streets or merely sitting in pretty cafes. Salzburg offered me a chance to properly explore it, to really feel its vibe, to taste its air and smell it’s scents in a way I did not (later) in Vienna. I appreciated that.

Off to Tirol and Innsbruck.