Munich, Germany, March 2012

In March 2012, I spent my spring break doing research at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library) in Munich, Germany. Below is a blog post I wrote during a weekend trip to Salzburg, Austria.

March 18, 2012

You know me…I just can’t stay put! The library is closed on Saturday & Sunday, so naturally I figured I could cross another country off of my list.

Hallo, Austria!

Elizabeth (the American/Australian) and I bought a double Bavarian ticket for 29 Euros (best deal there is) and left Munich for Salzburg at a bright & early 7:42 AM on Saturday. Beautiful! An absolutely stunning city. And small–we managed to walk through almost all of it in one day. The old city, across the Salzach River, contains the famous Festung Hohensalzburg (Hohensalzburg Fortress), Dom Cathedral, Modern Art Museum, Alter Markt (Old Market), the Katakomben (catacombs), and, of course, the Residenz (Residence Palace). To top it off, we also visited the world-famous Mozart Wohnhaus (Mozart Residence), which was filled to the brim with tourists.

So many details to record! Salzburg is one of those cities where you have to pause every few minutes, survey the riverbanks lined with sunbathers, the women in their leather jackets, the horse-drawn carriages, the palaces and cathedrals and Mozart chocolate shops, and remind yourself that yes, this is real.

My favorite moment came on Sunday morning, after Elizabeth returned to Munich and I decided to stay for a few more hours to marvel at the city a bit longer. I bought a cappucino and pastry from a Backerei (Bakery) in Mozart Plaza and began the surprisingly short ascent to the fortress atop the hill.

Along the way, an older man stopped  me.

“Sprechen sie Deutsch?” (Do you speak German?)

“No, English,” I responded.

Apparently that didn’t piss him off like it does most of the waiters and info guides here in Bavaria.

“Ah, I speak a little English!” he announced jubilantly, grasping my shoulder. “Do you see over there? The tower with the museum? Beautiful! Best view of the city! I walk up the stairs every morning, every morning!”

By this point I was certain that he was Austrian, so I asked:

“Are you from Salzburg?”

“Yes! All my years. What a beauty, this city. Every morning I look at it anew. Every morning!” Clutching his chest, he continued: “Salzburg. My heart is enjoyed.”

After kissing me twice on both cheeks, he continued on his way, turning back to grin at me while I yelled to him, “Beautiful! Yes, beautiful!”

I think he said it best. Gazing at the intricacies of the Dom Cathedral, walking through the Catacombs with the graves decorated with flowers and candles, lounging along the riverbank pretending to be an Austrian, attending a string quartet concert of the finest Mozart music in a small room in the fortress, my heart was enjoyed.

The train ride back to Munich would have been underwhelming if not for the group of students who I heard fervently discussing their travel plans in Spanish. One situated himself across from me, and, bravely, I asked him, “Ellos son de Espana?”

The ensuing conversation lasted an hour and a half! And all of it in Spanish. David from Colombia was kind enough to correct my when I incorrectly conjugated verbs and stumbled over the pronunciation of “afortunadamente.” An entire conversation, en español, with a student from Colombia, during a train ride through Europe… Again, my heart is enjoyed.