It was my second day in the country when I was confronted with a magnet bearing this slogan. How very welcoming of them, I thought, to remind of how I’m not at home. It even looks like an Aussie road sign “Kangaroos, Next 10 km” for crying out loud, I think the Austrians are just jealous because kangaroos are awesome. And for those who are wondering, yes I did buy the magnet in the end, it was too funny to pass up.
So, overlooking the adamant rejection of kangaroos, Austria, or more specifically Salzburg, is amazing. The same day I saw the magnet I looked out my bedroom window to see a mountain. A beautiful, clear, now snowcapped mountain. The hills are alive indeed and I’m proud to say that within my first fortnight in Salzburg I’ve already ticked three of the biggest things off the list. Firstly I went to the Mozart museum, ate the original Mozartkugel and went to the Mozart cafe. Secondly, I watched the Sound of Music. I haven’t done the movie-inspired tour yet, but I’m working on it. And lastly, we went to one of the salt mines that gave the city its name and wealth. For a girl who loves roller coasters, going down steep slides metres below the surface is great fun. Not to mention the little train that took us all down there and made sure we all got up close and personal with each other. It was a fun, if slightly awkward, way to break the ice.
Salzburg is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. I think in part that because I’m being biased about my new home, but it’s also due to the fact that on my walk around the campus one evening I saw some deer. And of course the old town (Altstadt) is charming. I have a thing for pedestrianised streets, because honestly the idea of being run over in the middle of sightseeing doesn’t appeal to me, so Salzburg’s altstadt is perfect. Walking down the main street, Getreidegasse, is a bit like taking step back in time, if you ignore the McDonald’s. All the shops have ornate metal signs hanging out the front, with cute pictures or symbols to show what they sell. My favourite shops there are the ones that sell tracht, dirndl and the oh so sexy lederhosen. A little part of me wants to become Austrian for a day just so I can wear a dirndl without feeling like a fraud.
Of course, I’m too much of an Aussie to admit that out loud. And again speaking of Australia, there are 3 things that I miss the most right now, having settled into my cute little self-contained apartment. And those three things are all food. I want vegemite, timtams and shapes! I would kill for a timtam right now. Austria has great food too, while I’m on the topic. Wiener Schnitzels for the win. Oh and Mozartkugel, but I’ve mentioned that already. And yes, Mozartkugel is a reference to the musician. The literal translation is Mozart balls. I’ll leave you to think on that one.