Sound of Music in real life!

Trip Start Jan 03, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Austria  ,
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I was a bit surprised at where I would be spending the next 12 hours after stepping on the train to Salzburg... I would like to say it was a small "cubby" with six very upright seats, three across from three.  All I kept thinking was I should have spent the extra 15 euro for a sleeper cart.  Well, there I was.  I tried to not complain to myself as that's all I could think of doing.  I remembered my nightmare travels in Asia, long, crazy, scary bus-rides...and was comforted by the "normalcy" I was in.  I could deal with recycled air from six adults for 12 hours in a closed "cubby" and with the not so pleasant smell of a womans feet situated next to me.
Arriving Munich for a seven hour layover, which I chose to take advantage of, was a nice break.  I managed to find one of the only places open at 630 am on a Monday morning in Munich city centre, Starbucks ( I still don't get all the craze about their coffee), where I found a comfortable seat, plugged in my electronics, used the restroom to brush my teeth, "paint" up my face a bit and wash my apples I had been carrying with me for way too long.  I sound like a bit of a homeless girl hey?  All good...dont worry mom...I do what I need to where I can.
Ordering my coffee I was reciprocated a smile by the gal working at the, a smile and eye contact!  This was great!  It had been awhile since I had that...darn cities.  I found an information center 3 hours later and got myself a map for fifty cents.  I did a Shana style walking tour.  I found maybe half of the marked places on the map with several detours taken to a bakery where I found a great sandwich.  An attractive market, the Viktualienmarkt, caught my eye so I went to have a look.  I admired the fruits, breads and bakery beautifully placed on tables and tiered displays.  MANGO.  I saw it.  I had been looking for it ever since Asia.  I made my way over and after looking at the price per kilo ( I still can't do the conversion) I began filling a small bag.  Mostly with mango and a few chocolate covered apples and other dried fruits...who could resist?  Apparently I should have.  After the woman weighed my small bag and gave me the total I contemplated dropping the bag and running.  For real?  It was about 9 USD for a tiny bag I could've eaten in one 5 minute sitting.  I paid kindly and left quickly...
I debriefed in the park where I attempted falling asleep in the shade which was nearly impossible with my allergies.  Somehow though, I didn't mind having to blow my nose every 5 seconds...I was in a beautiful park, soaking in the sun and in a very thick patch of wonderful, lush grass.  It was then that I realized I had two very large holes in the inner portion of my pants.  How could I not have noticed this...and they were fairly new.  So much for Primark...the store all rave about being so cheap...I wonder why.  I changed into my jeans in the Burger King bathroom where I received some looks as I tossed those puppies in the trash.
Arriving Salzburg was incredible.  Once again I was glued to the window, snapping photos and taking video as I passed the incredible scenery.  Majestic mountains, some snow-capped, green rolling hills, scattered villages, steeples and animals grazing in the hills...a spectacular scene.  I went into my usual thoughst of do people actually get to live here and wondering why everyone wasn't as excited as I to see it all.
I departed the train and found the bus station where a nice young man assisted me in purchasing a bus ticket (I'm so grateful for helpful people) and headed to my pre-booked hostel (anyone proud?)  I arrived the Jufa Hostel quickly which looked more like a hotel.  I was impressed.  It was settled near the city centre and had a wonderful view of the mountains.  I met a great young gal, Mel, from Ohio who was in my dorm.  We spent a few days together wandering the city, following Rick Steves "walking tour" and had a great time.  We came across the church where Beethoven played, the fountain where a scene in the Sound of Music was filmed, saw the fortress on top of the hill...amazing, and went to several places where the horses used to be bathed in these large, ramp-like structures with fountains in the middle...lovely.  I saw beautiful horse and carriages around the town square...once again I wanted so badly to jump in.  We wandered through a tunnel which lead us down a nice walking path to an open hill where I wanted to run around and sing the Hills song from Sound of Music.  I must say I hummed that tune every day while there.  It's just in you when your there!
And then the rain came.  Two days of rain.  I decided not to be discouraged and use that time to catch up on journaling, reading and researching my next lag of the journey.  Mel and I watched the Sound of Music one evening, they played it each night at the hostel, in between listening to the very annoying Americans yapping, yapping, yapping about things they seemed to not have a clue about.  Maybe I was beginning to understand the reputation the Americans have...unfortunately it's not so positive; but I must say so many I have come across I would feel the same way.  
We had made a plan to leave the following day for a day trip to a place I can't remember the name, although I do remember the castle which Disneyland uses is the replica of this castle we were to see...anyhow, rain cancelled that plan.  So, with a bit of cabin fever, I packed up Black, put Blue in storage, threw on my raingear and headed off for nowhere in particular in the rain.
After my nomadic wandering left me cold and wet, I found a small cafe with a beautiful view of the mountains and water, ordered myself a small espresso and two hours later I left...  I had a nice conversation with the Norweigan owner and a young man, who I eventually realized was a "fellow couchsurfer."  
I had planned to set out in search for a "toilet" as they were few and far between in public places.  Round and around I went with my map in hand and two encounters with people inquiring about the whereabouts of a simple toilet.  I paused for a few moments at the light post to rest my body...where I met Lyman.  Sweet Lyman.
"Can I help you?"  I heard an American voice.  I turned to my right and saw a tall man, perhaps in his late 70's, standing there.  I replied with a confident yes as I desperately needed a restroom.  After he explained to me directions, we had a quick "firy question match" getting to know the basics about each other...ending with his inquiry as to where my accomadation was.  With my reluctancy to explain "couchsurfing" to a man in his 70's (now I know he's 83!), he took me by the arm and said I was staying with him.  I had to laugh to myself.  Just when the bit of panic settled in with knowing the hostels were booked that evening, I hadn't heard back from my couchsurfing contact and the price for a hotel was too much for Shana...I met Lyman...  God is good.
Let's just say I went from "hostel life" to eating on gold-rimmed china...literally.
God must have known I was missing my Harry (for those of you who don't know about Harry, he is my 97 year old friend back home who I spent every Wednesday with...) because He provided Lyman for me!  We had a wonderful 3 days together.  Lyman was a professor many, many years.  A professor of history, geography, arts...he's spent most of his life with students, so I think he enjoyed having a "young mind" around.  We went to a pub outside his apartment that evening and I was able to meet many of his "young student friends" who loved their Lyman.  It was incredible to see him with all these young adults, talking, laughing, engaging, and seeing the life that was in him.  He regretfully lost his wife 6 years ago, almost to the date I met him, and has been keeping himself going in a healthy way.  Lyman had a huge impact on me during my stay with him.  I would say he's a bit of an "intellectual," but not so much that he can't have a conversation with just about anybody. He encouraged me, enlightened me, taught me, and truly caused me to think about life in a different way.  I am go grateful to have met him.
I joined him for church on Sunday where I met some wonderful people.  A small church, an intimate setting where everyone seems to know each was just what I needed.  I had a great time meeting everyone and soon realized what company I was in...opera singers!  I met Grace Bumbry who sang for President Obama...and many other wonderful opera singers in the church.  I closed my mouth quickly during worship as I listened to the amazing voices around me...I had never heard this before.
That evening after doing sightseeing and getting the inside scoop on Salzburg, we went to the church potluck which was a lot of fun.  I had some wonderful home-cooked food (everyone brought food from their country as not many were Austrians) and had some great entertainment!  The women sang opera, people played the piano, danced and it goes on.  Much fun.  
I was sad to leave, as once again I had made new friends and had wanted to continue to explore, see and enjoy...but as I'm learning I must move on...I was off to Rome.
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Rachel Andreshak on

As far as the starbucks comment, I think of the Emperors new clothes story. I personally don't even like the stuff, and I'm not afraid to say so. LOL I just marvel at all what your doing by your self. How would you know that it would be safe to just go and stay at some strangers house (the 83yr old) Things like that, I have to give you credit.

diane on

Your adventure continues to amaze me. You are adding such wonderful memories of a chapter in your life. I was thinking of you the other day and wondering if you where home sick at all?
Miss you my beautiful friend

ctrayford on

Lyman, is JUST how I pictured him when I saw it! I'm completely flabbergasted by how God is blessing you. Don't you feel His presence with each step you take? I mean, wow...I'm so in awe.... ~~hugs~~

Kaitlyn on

I'm moving to Salzburg, it's so beautiful! I'm glad to hear that God is taking such great care of you, I know He will continue to do so.
I agree with you about Starbucks-Alterra is way better. I also agree about Americans, even though I am one, hopefully not an obnoxious one:) It is sort of jarring to hear American english after you've been listening to other languages for awhile. Makes me want to whisper.

Mindy on

Neuschwanstein Castle is the Disney castle. I was to Linderhof which is close to Oberamergau. Stunning!

Cheri F on

Hi Shana:

Last Friday I went to see Harry. He looked great - tan, and of course dressed up in nice khakis and a button down shirt on a warm day. We sat on the patio and talked for a couple of hours. I took sandwiches. He is doing well but very lonely up there. Pretty isolated and he misses his friends. I can relate, as right now I live in the country and feel the same way. His eyesight has very much deteriorated unfortunately.

Didn't totally realize it until I went into Wauwatosa last Friday. What a difference! People, etc...........

Your trip sounds wonderful. How long is it yet? I loved the Ireland photos. Always wanted to go to Italy and back to France. You are very brave doing all of this on your own and not always knowing where you will stay at night...

Are you going to Tuscany?

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