An Introduction to German Culture Via Austria- Salzburg, Austria

Technically this post is about the day trip I took to Salzburg from Munich with my friend Julia. But I can’t really start this post before first explaining how I ended up in Germany in the first place, and who Julia is. Julia is a friend I met about a year or so ago through the same website I met Rob (guy I met up with in Edinburgh) and Dennis (guy I met up with in Amsterdam) though she has the distinction of being the only person I know who also has bunny rabbits as pets and that cemented the bond of friendship between us.  

After leaving Amsterdam at the literal crack of dawn and dealing with a truely craptastic journey that included having to buy a whole new train ticket because the one I had wasn’t pulling up for some reason (though I did get refunded for this later thankfully) and wondering why I had thought trying to visit so many countries in one go was a good idea, I finally made it to Munich HBF where Julia was waiting for me. By the time we made it to her car we were talking like we’d been friends for ages and the journey from Munich to Geretsried (where she lives ) was filled with breathless laughter and her trying to explain why someone on the train had said “shoes” to me- they actually said “tschuss” which means bye.

She took me on some picturesque country backroads and by the time we made it to her apartment I was feeling 100% better about my decision to leave Amsterdam for Germany. We settled in for the evening and then ran back out to pick up some groceries and drinks for the next days adventure, which we had decided would be a day trip to Salzburg. 

 Why Salzburg? Because I bought a guide book for the Bavaria region of Germany and there was a whole section as to why Salzburg makes a great day trip. It does indeed make a great day trip- which is probably why we got stuck in traffic almost as soon as we got on the road. The fact that it was a stunningly beautiful Saturday also had something you to do with it I think. The drive took twice as long as it should have but it was enjoyable as Julia taught me some more about the German way of life (like why so many trucks were out on the highway that day, why the exit for Innsbruck was so popular, etc). Eventually we made it to Salzburg and found parking just a short distance from Mirabell Palace and after grabbing a quick lunch across the street at a places called “Pommes Boutique”, we started our tour of the city there. 


The crowds were definetly out in full force here so we didn’t stay long, eventually moving on from the lovely gardens surrounding the palace to head deeper into the city and cross the river to the other side where my guide book assured me there were a hundred and one things to see. 

(That’s Julia in middle picture btw- can I just say how awesome it was traveling and exploring with someone who also loves photography? There’s such joy and freedom in being able to stop to get a good shot and not feeling like you’re annoying your fellow traveler because they’ve also stopped to snap a pic too.) 


Taking a bit of a circuitous walk we made it across the  river, our goal to head to Getreidegasse, a busy shopping street in the historic Altstadt section of the Old City ( as it’s called, I’m not calling it old just to start a fight with anyone).  Even as we crossed the bridge to the other side, I knew I was going to have to come back again because you could just feel and see so much ahead and behind and all around you, every direction holding something interesting. 

 We wandered a bit aimlessly for a while, just enjoying the weather and city- it’s genuinly one of the most beautiful and explorer friendly places I’ve ever visited, so many side streets and inviting storefronts, you feel you could wander happily all day. We stopped in at a Christmas decoration store because Julia was like “oh my, we have to go in there.” And she was right, I have never in my life seen more Christmas ornaments in one place, all delicate, handmade and selling like hot cakes even out of season. 

After that spellbinding (seriously it was magical) interlude we stopped in at some  gift shops so I could pick up some souvenirs for friends and if you didn’t know it before let me tell you now- Salzburg is the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As such you’ll easily be able to find his face on any kind of souvenir you wish:  beer steins, postcards, chocolates. It’s pretty sweet (pun totally intended).

Finished up with the requisite souvenir shopping, we made our way vaguely up.

 Hohensalzburg Castle is in view from near almost any point in the city and while we decided not to spring for the entrance tickets, we still climbed up a mini mountain of stairs to enjoy the magnificent views of the city. As we caught our breath from the climb and enjoyed the views, the bells of the cathedral below us started to toll and if the journey up hadn’t been worth it before, that moment more than made up for it. 

~ m

Joshua Tree Sketches, Postcards and Travel Plans- Frisco, TX



First up- Travel Plans!

I’ve been a bit hush-hush about this since the end of March when I bought my plane ticket, partly because I had no idea where I was going and partly because I didn’t want to utterly jinx anything. But with less than a month left before wheels up and an actual workable itinerary on hand, I think it’s probably time to share the plans.

So back at the end of the last roadtrip taken to have adventures in Colorado , while we were waiting for the snow to stop falling enough to be able to actually leave CO and head home, a price alert came up on flights to Paris. And I remember sitting there on the couch in the living room of the cozy cabin we were staying at and deciding after two minuets of solid thinking, yes, i’m buying it. Did I particularly want to go to Paris? Not really, but I have a good friend there and Paris is an excellent gateway to the rest of Europe so that settled it for me and the ticket was snapped up.

Fast forward a good few months later and it’s July and I still didn’t have a single clue where I was actually going to go, never mind the fact that I had yet to apply for my Passport (I did have an expired one …but it was from when I was a minor and not valid for renewal, though it was valid to use a second ID somehow). And so last month consisted of me getting that ever so important task taken care of- shout out to that lovely lady at the passport office who waived the fee for my photo and who I believe is responsible for the near miraculous turn around time (considering I didn’t pay for expedited service)- and also figuring out my itinerary.

Two weeks was the allotted time I had to work with, and while I know plenty of people would choose to pick just one country and spend the whole time there, i’m that kind of person that loves to just exhaust myself trying to see as much as possible. With that being said, I did hold myself back from going too country-hopping happy.

The itinerary, as it is now (and trust me I wish I could say i’m 100% sure it’s not going to change anymore) is as follows:  leaving Dallas —> literally almost a full day of traveling –> Edinburgh, Scotland–> Amsterdam, The Netherlands–> Salzburg, Austria–> Bavaria, Germany —> Paris, France –> home to Dallas

More as to my actual plans in these places next month when I actually sit down and think through that part more, but at least for now, i’m glad to actually see the full scale of my travel ambitions written out and so close to coming true. This will by first time in Europe and to say i’ve dreamed of doing this for almost 10 years is only just a slight exaggeration.

Apart from setting down those plans, I finished up the Joshua Tree sketches I had mentioned wanting to do and also sent a bunch of postcards to a new penpal in Poland, as well as a couple to one in Germany that i’d really love to fill with enough wanderlust as to make her visit the USA for a roadtrip one day. It’s been a good end to the month and hopefully September brings more creativity, less storms and maybe some more interesting people to send postcards/snailmail to.

~m

p.s If you’ve been to any of the cities/places I mentioned above, feel free to leave me suggestions of places I should see in the comments, i’m very much still at odds as to what exactly i’m going to try and see or visit so it’ll be appreciated :)

 

Love, Trilobites and Postcards- Snailmail Wednesday

What do Norway, Germany, England and France all have in common? Well obviously plenty of things but if you guessed their respective mail services having to deal with deciphering my atrocious handwriting, then well….you’d be correct and you would also have to be a mind reader I think.

I took the last month off from posting anything on here to devote effort to other things and also to just give myself a little time off- it might not look it but a good bit of time and effort goes into these, mainly cause I firmly believe if you’re gonna do something, do it well (or are well as you can). Part of the “other things” I was doing was catching up with friends and my snail mail, making sure I was still set on heading to Europe for two weeks at the end of September and surviving the onset of the devils season in Texas (aka Summer).

Snailmailing is something that has been a love of mine since I was 17 and actually the biggest reason I got into traveling and being more curious about the world around me. Only a few of the people I met during that first foray into penpalling are still around and while i’ve learned how easy and subsequently painful it can be to lose touch with people you’ve grown close to through letters, it’s still a thing I enjoy greatly. If anything, snailmailing and having penpals I can send postcards to and exchange travel stories with still remains a big motivator for those days when I’m so tired from work and trying to plan an epic trip and all I can think of is “gods, I wish I could just take two weeks off to be a couch potato“. These days especially with how stressful work can be, knowing I have a friend in Germany who will recommend me some amazing places to visit or another in Paris who’ll help me feel like less of a tourist in one of the most visited cities on earth, it helps to keep the wanderlust alive.

And if sometimes I end up sending people a weird art piece, a pizza pin or a t-shirt with a Texas state outline on it in addition to something I picked up for them on my travels? Well, i’ve gotten no complaints so far.

not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

90’s memories- Night Photography Practice

Night photography postcards

postcards in the dark

postcards in the dark

texas lights

Camera in hand, lights turned off except for the tiny blazing bulbs of small moons cascading down my shelves. Something about it all reminds me of the 90’s, in an abstract sort of way. Memories of ice cream cones at Central Park in the time before cell phones, Seinfeld playing in the background of summer bar-b-ques, car rides with Savage Garden playing on repeat, humid summers running around under fire hydrant water sprays in Queens, and tiny plastic butterfly clips in my hair. The millennium came and went but the 90’s still live on in tiny spaces of time, behind postcards and underneath low lights.

~m

Mail from the Road- US 160

Colorado mountains from on the Road feet up on the dashboard, us 160Sometimes things combine beautifully to create an atmosphere of fantastic inspiration. Early morning sunrise, driving back home from a fantastic (if short) trip, feet propped up on the dashboard and a smooth road with mountains on all sides and a clear horizon in the distance. This would be the perfect time to catch up on letters, explore words on paper, expound on the virtues of mountains and their rugged perfections.

US 160, snailmailing on the road US 160, Photos from on the road Writing on the road US160 US 160, sketching on the road

I’m polishing up everything now that i’m home, making envelopes and slipping souvenirs inside, but the initial inspiration from on the road, I’m hoping that shines through like a ray of sun from behind towering mountains.

~m