15 days--6 cities--1 backpack--1 pair of shoes--countless kilometers walked--even more trained--but one great time! This is why I have been absent of the course of the past 2 weeks. Traveling to Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, and Venice. Utterly beautiful cities that I ate, walked, museumed, and "conquered" (which is defined as me eating at least 1 traditional dish, drinking one local beer in a local establishment, walking the entire area, and seeing at least 1 museum). Indeed, I can tick off each of these cities from my "to see" list. But more importantly, I went to Budapest, Bratislava, and Salzburg not really knowing too much about any of them. Usually I do ample amounts of research beforehand to plot, outline, and make bullets of things to do. But for those 3 cities I went with the bare minimum, knowing only cursory information about the layout and land. To say the least, they impressed me greatly, and the most surprising fact about each one was this: the absolute beauty and infinite amount of thermal baths and spas in Budapest, the usage of poppyseed (Mohn) in Bratislava and Hungary, and that Alexander von Humboldt said that Salzburg is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and I wholeheartedly agree. The other three cities went as this: Vienna IS the global capital of cakes--the best in the world, Munich looks great outside of Oktoberfest time, and Venice is, well, everything you could imagine.
I ate well, traveled soundly, and met some great people along the way. Ranging from Americans, to a Brazilian, a Spaniard, two newly minted Budapestians, and man from Manhattan who confirmed my beliefs about a piece of cake I was eating. For 15 days I lived out of my waterproof, black Timbuk2 backpack. That thing is my $30 savior. I jammed, stuffed, and squeezed pants,jeans, 7 shirts, socks, underwear, magazines, my travel book, chargers, a phone, maps, and 1 water bottle in it. The way I started my trip? Having to unpack everything at 630 in the morning to satisfy an airport security guard that my 2 chocolate bars were not C4 and that my deodorant was 33ml too much for EU safety standards...PRICK. So I just took up some space and lots of time packing it back up, and made him have to work around me. Go ahead make my day buddy. Besides that, it was 0 degrees Celsius, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit throughout 10 days of my 15 day journey. Christmas in March anybody? Everyday I would hope for a break, but wake up to a wintery wonderland outside. But, it made everything look pretty and pure, and something about snowy Munich on Easter morning still kind of gets me all tingly (plus in Vienna it gave me an excuse to stop in a famous coffeeshop, thus getting cake, because of the legitimate reason of "I was cold and tired" I really wasn't, but it's a legitimate reason right?). In Salzburg I saw spring arrive over the course of 3 days. I would have to walk through Mirabell Garden every morning to get to the city center (this is the one where the clan from "The Sound of Music" finishes singing the song Do Rey Me Fo La Ti Doe) and at first I could barely see the flowers peeking through the snow, but by day 3, when I was going to leave of course, it was warm and the gardens were epic. But Salzburg had the greatest single thing I did. I took an alpine lift to the top of Mt. Untersberg, also featured in TSoM, and got a view of Austria and Germany and the Alps from over 1500 meters up with nothing to stop a person from falling off save a piece of steel cord. That was fantastic and something that was simply "unbelievable." Of course, floating down the Grand Canal in Venice isn't too shabby either...
So, I am not going to go into details here. 15 days of travel is a lot. I remember every detail, but am not going to write it down. This is best done via pictures. So I will put on this page the highlights of each city, going in order of my journey. Enjoy! (but to be able to actually load the page, I am going to do 2 different posts, this one will have the 1st three cities, and the other will have the later half).
BUDAPEST (Pronounced Buda-pescht)
BRATISLAVA (One really nice day!)
VIENNA (the imperial city of tortes)