When you leave some time unscheduled, funny things can happen and you can end up doing things and meeting people you’d never expect. For instance, the Friday evening when I came back to my hotel after a day of wandering, instead of being greeted by the usual wall of smoke from the business men puffing away with their drinks in the lounge (part of the entrance and reception area), I was greeted by no less than 100 twelve to twenty-year-old girls. All of them were sporting pony-tails and the same blue track suits, while pulling along the same metallic silver suitcases. Chatting away in German, it was a refreshing scene that didn’t quite make sense compared to what I was used to seeing in the lobby. Turns out that there was an international competition for synchronized skating in town, and our hotel was one of the hosts. Ironically enough, Canada was participating as well, and as I’d find out a couple of hours later, they too were staying at the Hotel Castellini in Salzburg. The next few days you couldn’t throw a stick in the hotel without hitting a figure skater (not that we were doing that – that’s only legal in Vegas and some parts of south-west Texas). We made quick friends with some of the Skate Canada coaches and parents, and we even took in part of the competition on the Sunday eve. Sadly we didn’t get to see the Canadians compete, but we did see teams from Australia, Austria, the United States. Watching them skate was absolutely memorizing. It was like watching fish swim all in unison in a small tank, but with lively music and much more glitter and spandex.
|Here’s a shot of one of the synchronized skating teams competing at the Red Bull Arena.|
|After the competition, back at the hotel, hours before the Canadian team had to catch their bus to Munich, some Canadian pride celebrating with some pizza and drinks.|
|The riverbank where I heard the unmistakable call of the Angry Birds.|
|What I had hoped to see up in the trees calling out. I'm scared to think of what the poop would look like.|
Since I couldn’t post any images on my previous Austria blogs, here are some of my favourites from the trip. Sadly most are lacking people, but that’s what you get when you travel for a few days on your own.
|Me, standing on one of the many bridges that cross the Salzach River.|
|My brother Brian - now a Californian who has trouble handling the cold and anyone who says 'eh' too much. eh.|
|Of course, one of the main reasons for tourism in Salzburg, the infamous and digitally talented, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.|
|Here's the house he grew up in (3rd floor) on the main tourist street. Sadly, there's a grocery in the space on the main floor, and I'm guessing that it's not quite authentic from the period. Especially since I could buy pre-mixed iced-mochas there.|
|Never call Austrians inefficient. Not sure what to say about this one, other than who wouldn't take a picture of this if they walked by it?|
|I've never ever ever been in favour of graffiti, yet I find myself drawn to it in other countries. This one was actually quite brilliant, and it makes me wonder if it was based on a specific character.|
|There's a huge selection of rubber ducks you can buy in Salzburg. Some look like Mozart, some look like traditional Austrians (outside of the duck-like features). Others are just your regular rubber ducks.|
|Another shop sells decorated eggs, depending on what holiday is coming up. I guess I missed the Christmas display as they were already focusing on Easter. There had to have been at least 4 or 5 thousand eggs on display, all locally produced.|
And on an end note, when traveling in a country with a language foreign to you, I'd always suggest to learn as much as you can - and that means paying attention to and trying to read signs, directions, and even the occasional poster. It's always interesting to see how our language differs.
|This one falls into the 'snicker' category for sure. Gotta love foreign languages.|