Saturday, December 5, 2009

Salzburg, Austria

After a few days in Switzerland, we jumped on a train and headed for Austria. We basically spent the entire day on one train or another, as we made our way to Salzburg. We didn't have a plan (sorry Christine) nor did we have a place to stay. We enjoyed making conversation with people on our trip, especially a nice Austrian woman who was a psychiatrist. She gave us a lot to think about as she talked about languages, politics, and health care reform.

After studying our Rick Steve's book on the train, we decided on a place to try and stay. A women's university dorm, turned partial hostile. After struggling to find the place, it was far from the best night of sleep. We opted to move locations and ended up in a great place our second night in Salzburg.

The city of Salzburg was beautiful. All of the building's had tons of character and the old castle, high above on the hill, always made the landscape look more dramatic. We spent a day touring the city, taking tons of pictures, visiting churches and castles, seeing where Mozart was born, having coffee (which was way too small) and trying to stay warm.

Here are a few pictures of the beauty Salzburg showed us.

Although Salzburg was beautiful and we logged many miles just seeing all the history, the highlight of the trip was a dinner at a small pub that was recommended by someone at our hotel. When we arrived at the restaurant, the only seats available were at a community table. We sat down, while another group of 3 were enjoying dinner and drinks. Another couple sat down shortly after we did and each of us basically kept to ourselves. After we had finished our meal, we saw the group of 3 taking pictures of each other with an iPhone, which of course prompted a comment, as well as making a great ice-breaker! We ended up chatting away, talking about anything from their profession (German doctors in Austria for a conference) to what we thought of our new President Obama. As we talked and laughed, I noticed that the gentlemen asked for their bill, as well as ours. He wanted to do a little something for us, as we were traveling through Europe. They all encouraged us to continue traveling and experiencing different cultures, as they had encouraged their own children to do. Wow, what a great experience. I'm truly thankful for their generosity and kindness.

After we parted ways, I couldn't help but wonder what people think when they come to my home country. Are we welcoming and friendly, warm and inviting or are we appalled that people come here and can't speak our language? I hope that I will be as welcoming as these folks were to others traveling....whether it's through my country or just through my town, people are the ones that make the impact and can drastically alter the lens they look through.

So, cheers to our German friends and lessons learned!!

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