Though I have since left Salzburg (and am now studying in Aachen, Germany!) I find myself missing the charm of Austria every day. The abundance of folk culture, historical buildings and as much beautiful architecture as there is breathtaking natural scenery gives this country the biggest gold star I can fathom. Throughout the month of June I traveled to such wonderful places such as Innsbruck, Vienna (Wien), Munich (München), Hallstatt, Berchtesgaden; as well as more museums than I can count. These pictures give you a good idea of some of the things I saw while studying in Salzburg, but I cannot recommend enough that you take the chance to visit this stunning country on your own some day.
Ladies wearing dirndls at the Open-Air Museum Grossgmain near Salzburg, making lace by hand (right). About a four-inch piece took three to five hours, depending on their speed. The Grossgmain Museum gives live examples of folk art and architecture from 16th century Salzburg. They show, by district, different types of houses, stables, agricultural equipment and Tracht (traditional ethnic wear) which together bring to life what it was like to live during the time period.
An overlook of the Untersberg and countryside outside of Schloss Hellbrunn after a hike up to the Monatschloss. Salzburg is nestled around the edge of the glorious Alps, giving a tease of mountain ranges you can see from anywhere you stand. The Kapuzinerberg is the mountain directly across from Linzergasse, the street I lived on while studying. There is also the Mönchsberg near St Peter’s Cemetery and has cut-out catacombs dating back to 700BCE. The Gaisberg is another mountain east of Salzburg and is very possible to hike.
An underwhelming view of Stephansdom in Wien. This picture really does not do justice to the greatness of the Gothic architecture of this mid-14th century church. The current Stephansdom was built over earlier parishes in the 12th century, but the foundations of Wien, and the location of these parishes, have recently been found to overlay an ancient grave dating back to the 4th century CE, around the time of the ever-growing Germanic tribes. Our class traveled to Wien the first weekend after getting settled into our classes, and I loved the freedom of using the U-Bahn and S-Bahn as transportation anywhere in the city. The Danube River flows through Wien as well; you can sit alongside the river and have a coffee or swim in this insane pool constructed over a channel!
The breathtaking University of Munich (right), where in 1943, members of the Weisse Rose were caught distributing anti-Nazi political leaflets. Students Christoph Probst (24) and siblings Hans (24) and Sophie Scholl (21) were executed in the Stadelheim Prison, only four days after their arrest. The University has a memorial outside for the Weisse Rose, wherein marble plaques with engraved historical documents from the organization are scattered throughout the courtyard. Lake Konigssee amidst the Berchtesgaden Alps. One of my favorite places I’ve been thus far. Berchtesgaden is located in Bavaria just within German territory along the border of Austria. The lake is known to be “the cleanest water in Germany” and only allows paddle, row, and electric-powered boats to navigate the fjord-like area.
The Kaisergruft, or Imperial Crypt, is housed beneath the Kapuzinerkirche in Wien. This is the crypt of the House of Habsburg, including the well-known Maria Theresia, Franz Josef I, his Empress Elisabeth, and their son and heir Rudolf. The history of the Habsburgs is apparent everywhere in Austria; after learning so much about the wide-ranging, complex and long reign of this royal house, paying my respects at their final resting place was humbling and overwhelming.
And finally, we cannot forget about the coffee in Austria. I can say, comically enough, that the only bad coffee I had throughout my stay in Austria was at Starbucks–I hit quite a few different cafes, as you would expect. Austrian coffee is truly a treat, with so many unique variations– from a Melange, like a Spanish cafe con leche; a Kleiner/Großer Brauner, which is strong coffee served with a little pot of milk; an Einspänner, strong coffee with a dollop of whipped cream; the Verlängerter, a diluted Großer Brauner; the Eiskaffee— not like an Iced Coffee that I expected, but coffee with ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate added to it; and naturally, the classic Cappuccino. When you visit Austria, however, do not expect many places to offer filter-brewed coffee. Austrians like their coffee strong and flavorful, which is why coffees come with a small glass of water to make up for how dehydrating strong coffee is. Also, although in Germany Sahne is coffee cream, the same word means whipped cream in Austrian German, and is some dense, unsweetened, serious stuff…a fair forewarning for what you’d normally expect as whipped cream.