The trip started 5:30am, when I had to wake up and get ready for the journey ahead. The bus we took picked us up on the Ringstrasse by the Kunsthistoriche and Natural History museum. We got on and set off for Hallstatt, the first stop on the trip. It was about a 3.5 hour drive there, with lovely (/s) views of open fields, and then eventually mountains. The village itself is very small, but makes most of its money from tourism. It's situated in the Austrian alps and sits next to Hallstatter See (Lake in German is See). The weather that day was lovely. No humidity at all, and was slightly cool. When we arrived to our destination, we took a small ferry across the lake to the main village. Once we landed we went to have lunch at a restaurant that was reserved for us. This is what I had for lunch, and yes, it was delicious.
|I believe this was veal with red sauerkraut, potato dumplings, and some Stiegl Goldbrau on the left.)|
Once lunch was finished, we had some time to walk around the village. It was really nice. After our free hour, we took a long haul up the mountain (plus a tram ride up) to take our tour of the worlds oldest salt mine. That might sound dull, but it was actually pretty awesome. The best part was this awesome slide you could take down while inside the mine:
Brian and I got around 32 kph (so about 20mph). Also, if you're wondering, "Glück auf!" is a greeting that miners would use. After the mine tour, I got to view one of the best (and probably my favorite) view so far.
And I'll say it because it's true: this picture did absolutely no justice. Here's another of picture of Brian and I approving the view:
After our day spent at Hallstatt, we got back on the bus and took an hour ride to Salzburg. To put it short, Salzburg was awesome. A lot of nice views, good food, and I even got a sick hat! The night we got to Salzburg, my friends and I went to a very nice Stieglbrau restaurant that over looks the city (we couldn't see the whole city because it was night time), and then to an Irish pub for a couple of pints. The next day we went on a very cool walking tour, that brought us all around the city and also up to one of the scenes from The Sound of Music (no, I did not go on the sound of music tour.) You probably saw this picture on facebook:
Here's a picture of the view that you can't see:
It was really nice.
Anyways, the rest of the day my friends Kaira, Ethan, Brian, and Sam and I walked around the city finding stuff to do and things to see. Ultimately at the end of the day, we walked around for 5 hours and saw a lot of cool stuff. Here is the view from a cafe we went to that sits on the main square:
I got a good iced coffee and I think some food, I can't really remember. After this cafe I got a very cool Austrian hat at a semi-touristy store on the main strip. But first, Mozart's house:
And now the hat, taken inside Mozart's house.
Later on in the day, we went to this very special biergarten and had some delicious food. Also beer. That night my friends and I hung outside our hostel and talked about politics and music until around 2am.
|This is the church where Mozart played organ (If I remember correctly.)|
|This is where they made the meat. Also yes, that is smoked sausage up above. I didn't get a piece. Very sad.|
Now here is the craziest part. The outside of this place looks like it's a ran down hut that's on the back road. But the back yard has a garden you might imagine from a romance or Studio Ghibli film. Here's one picture I got:
And for those of you that want to break your neck watching a video walkthrough, here it is! I apologize for the bad camera work. That was my fault.
Now the walk into the city was really nice. Weather was lovely, got some lovely pictures. Here you go:
That panoramic above is from the main square in town (as you can see it's kind of small.)
That big spire in all of the pictures is the castle that over looks the city. Sadly, I wasn't allowed to get any pictures inside but I did get a nice picture of the village below:
|ft. the listening thing that you get on tours (the red box).|
One of the coolest things about Český Krumlov was the quaintness of it all. It was pretty touristy, don't get me wrong, but I had a feeling amongst the square and the people of a quiet place where people grew up and die. There were a lot of cool things to see, and I am kinda bummed we didn't get to stay there for longer.
The next thing that happened on the trip was the whole point: Prague! From Český Krumlov to Prague was about a 3 hour drive. The first night my friends and I just stayed in and played card/word games. Nothing too special. The next day was full of walking and picture taking. I'll let the pictures do the speaking:
|This isn't that Czech style Absinthe, this is a Czech Mule that I ordered. Very tasty.|
Anyways, that was probably one of my coolest bar experiences in the world. The best part about it was the next day when we brought a couple of our friends with us, the bartender guy remembered us and was happy to show more people about the magical world of absinthe.
After this second night at the Absintherie, we had a bus trip that brought us back home, barring one more pit stop: to the Budweiser Budwar factory in České Budějovice (or in German, Budweis), Czech Republic. We got a tour of the factory where all of the Budwar beer is made for Europe. Just for clarification, this isn't the Budweiser crap that they serve in America. This stuff is delicious. Crispy, fresh, and not too expensive (I think? not sure on that one). Here are some of the pictures I got from the factory.
Well, that's pretty much it. The six days that we were traveling and enjoying central Europe flew by. Seeing these four different cities/villages was pretty crazy, and gave me a much better sense of the culture that is shared by these different cities. That's mainly beer, but also art and music and beautiful scenes. Hopefully the pictures that I took can give you a glimpse of some of the stuff I saw. Anyways, so sorry for the long delay of posts. School has been crazy, but things are coming into alignment. I have three different concerts to go to at the Musikverein in November (Brahms 1, Mahler 5, and Schubert 6). You will be hearing about these occasions, among others. Also this weekend I am going on a one day trip to Wachau valley (in Austria, along the Danube). I will be doing some killer tours and lots of wine. Have a good day. Servus!
Bonus pic of the Budwar tour guide lady and I after the tour. She was very nice. When I asked her for a picture she said "selfie?"