Salzburg Pictures Vienna Pictures
There are some places you go that have a certain feel to them. It's hard to describe yet so easy to get swept up in. Perhaps I just created the perfect scenario for myself, that or the planets aligned. It was about 7:00pm when my train from Frankfurt arrived at Salzburg Hauptbanhoff. I initially got lost trying to find a street using my Lonely Planet guide, which, had conveniently labeled the streets incorrectly. I ended up staying at a place called Pension Junger Fuchs, and it was like going back in time. I walked up these little narrow stone passageways leading up to my room which had a window looking out over a pedestrian street with a church towering above. I decided to take a walk and ended up crossing the river and going into the Old Town. It was the most beautiful city I had ever been to, tight cobblestone pedestrian streets weaving between incredible buildings and churches courtesy of the Hapsburgs. This place had the most magical feeling to it. Walking around the most beautiful city in the world, with the Festung lit up high above the town, in an exotic place (by North American standards) felt so good. Yet being alone in a place like this felt so bad. It was cruel. I was so lonely, but so happy to be there. I knew from the instant I arrived, that I would come back to Salzburg, and hopefully, not alone.
I spent 3 nights in Salzburg before heading on to Vienna. Unquestionably Austrian, undoubtedly a city like no other. Vienna is big, let's not kid ourselves. Maybe just coming from Salzburg made it seem a lot bigger than it is. Maybe walking for hours on end and still barely making it into the city center made it seem a lot bigger than it is too. I met this guy on my way out of Vienna who later told me something that stuck with me for the rest of my trip and still sticks with me now. He told me that he didn't care if he didn't see everything there was to see because in his mind, he would be back. He could relax, do what he wanted and not worry about not seeing things. I traveled so much easier with this way of thinking. I was more relaxed and I honestly believe it is true, I will be back one day. The basic message from this is to have no regrets, in anything and everything you do and do not do. Unfortunately I did have one regret on my trip, and that was during my hours of walking through Vienna. There were some amazing buildings. Massive palaces and museums and magnificent architecture all over the city, and I only got four pictures. Four. And they're all horrible. Vienna was beautiful, it was incredible. Just don't eat at any places that are tucked away in a side street where the locals don't even eat the food there and you'll be fine.
I later returned to Vienna twice during my trip, but only as a transit spot. My flights to and from Malta were from Vienna, seeing the city lights from several thousand feet up made me wish I had stayed longer than I did. I'll be back though, just like I said, but Vienna is different. I don't necessarily feel as though I want to go back, I feel as though I have to go back. I have to experience Vienna like it's meant to be. It's a city that demands it.
On my flight back to Vienna from Malta, I sat beside the same guy I sat beside on the way to Malta. He was an Austrian and spoke very good English. He had family in Canada and told me that the two countries were very similar. Mountains to the west, flat farmland in the middle and forested hillsides to the east. Not overly populated and home to some of the nicest people around. The comparisons are clear and perhaps that's part of what I liked about Austria so much. It was so far away, yet felt so close to home.
©2003 Paul Inglis