How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Austria Travel Blog

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Hello Everyone!

Well, I'm back at home and happy to be here.  The last month in Europe was a whirlwind, filled with highs and lows, but mostly highs.  Even though it was wonderful, I am happy to be back where credit cards are accepted everywhere, you can get your coffee to go, and your dinner is served within the hour you ordered it. 

Now, I don't know where exactly I left off last time, so maybe I should just start from the beginning.  Ha!!! Just kidding, I wouldn't do that to you. I actually plan on breaking my trip up into a couple emails for all of our sanity.  But in case you forgot, I was last in Grenada, getting used to leaving behind beautiful Sagres, and the most Southwestern point of Europe, known as Cabo de Sao Vicente, where you receive a certificate for visiting and have the last opportunity to purchase a bratwurst before swimming to America (freaking Germans). 

Next, I took an overnight train, then a plane, then another train, and headed to Aviano, Italy to visit my friend Ryan and family, who recently moved for the Air Force.  Nice gig, if you ask me.  We were a quick train ride to Venice, and even though I had already been once, decided to explore for the day.  After going back to Venice, I realize, it never gets old.  The tiny canals are still as romantic and awe inspiring as they were the first time I saw them.  The tiny shops with jewelry and carnivale masks are still as novel.  And the thin crust pizza and house wine is still as delicious.  After the day in Venice, I relished in simple traveler's pleasures, such as sleeping in, doing laundry, watching CNN, and enjoying the company of the newest edition to the Family, Hudson. 

Next, it was off to Innsbruck Austria, with bratwurst aplenty, and is a place I thought only existed in snow globes.  The tiny town is situated in a box canyon, surrounded by mountains, with the Wiptal river running through the middle of it.  I arrived late and without a reservation, and the Innkeeper immediately scolded me for walking the streets alone and night when it was so dangerous!  Honestly, I could hardly say it was dangerous, since kind english speaking residents were constantly offering directions when I walked around with a confused look on my face and a crumpled map in my hands.  I would usually feel threatened by such gestures and immediately clutch my purse close to me, but in Austria, it was so genuine, that I didn't worry at all. 

After spending a day in the city, enjoying the food and trying to enjoy the coffee, I intended to spend another day hiking in the famous Nordkette mountains.  However, my plans were thwarted when it rained, and since I didn't have any real hiking or cold weather gear, like a hat, or gloves, or a water bottle (or especially highly unnecessary ski poles for hiking).  So, I headed to Salzburg, Austria, where the Sound of Music was filmed!!!  For those of you who don't know, I have seen the movie Sound of Music probably 100 times.  My parents can vouch for this, ashamedly I'm sure.  But, going to Salzburg was a huge treat for me because I loved the movie.  It was so beautiful there and because I gotten so sick of walking, I decided to rent a bike and take on the town just as the Von Trapp Family did long before me.  I found the family villa and the park where the family sang and sang myself the entire time, "How do you solve a problem like Maria."  In addition to the beautiful scenery, Salzburg has yet another perk, the "Mozartkulgen" or Mozart Chocolate Balls.  I bought a bag intending to share them, but as the trip went on, the bag got empty.  Fortunately, I found more to share in tourist shops througout Europe, but wow, those things are delicious.

Then, finally, my solo tour through Austria ended when I visited the Salzkammergut area of Austria, in Steeg.  This is literally one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  If you ever have a chance in your life to go here, I highly reccommend it.  On the train ride through the area, I was in awe, wishing I could get out and take pictures.  There are several lakes, with the clearest blue water, all surrounded by giant mountains, and fitted with tiny chalets.  I headed out to the Dachstein Giant Ice Caves in nearby Obertraun, got stuck in Hallstatt after the buses stopped running at 7pm, and again was sabotaged by rain when I had plans to hike through the mountains the next day. 

The last few weeks of my trip will be coming up!

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