Danke!

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Major props to Thomas (and his espresso maker) who has been the most gracious host in Vienna, setting me up with a transit card, borrowed netbook and most importantly a place to stay. I feel like the most bogus guest because I don’t know how to repay his hospitality. Even worse I’m going to post this picture of him that I took tonight at dinner. Here he is with an origami boat on his head and holding a Mex&Co business card. I’m such a pal.

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Salzburg for dummies

I was shocked Michael actually met me Tuesday morning ready to take on Salzburg. I was additionally surprised that this was his first time outside the US, he’s here completely on his own and is just a wee baby at age 20. Had no clue.

We met up with my friend via London, Daniel, at Salzburg Hbf about 10am and were all pretty rough. Each of us had been out Monday night and had that weird sort of hangover where you just feel off not to mention Daniel was battling some gnarly illness. He pushed on though.

First stop was Mozart’s Geburtshaus, or the home where Mozart was born and where the Mozart family lived while Wolfgang was young. I’m a geek for this stuff and the whole life story of Mozart fascinates me. The building was turned into a bit of a museum with paintings and some of his instruments and I definitely got yelled at for taking a (flashless!) photo of a portrait of Mozart as a young boy. What the balls? Anyway.

By the time we finished that we all physically felt like shit and took a break for the nearest pizza we could find. I couldn’t stop laughing at the poor shape we were in wandering the streets of Salzburg. Wee Michael insisted he’d feel better with the hair of the dog that bit him and started early on the Gluhwein. We found some post-lunch coffee and took on the most physically demanding task of climbing the hill to the Salzburg castle. This thing is up there. There’s a funicular (weird train thing) you can take to the top also, but that costs money, isn’t fun (despite the name), and doesn’t run very often. Halfway up to the castle there’s a booth and you’re charged 7€ to continue up to the top, which we weren’t psyched on, but fuck it, we just walked all this way. As soon as you finally reach the lookout area it’s immediately worth it. The castle overlooks all of Salzburg and the surrounding mountains. Everything was dusted with snow and seething with beauty.

Despite my complete clumsiness and penchant for slipping in icy places, I managed back down from the castle without falling on my face or breaking a kneecap. We spent the last hour walking the Christmas markets, watching some kids sing, and Michael carried on with the Gluhwein while the snow fell.

Visiting Salzburg with friends was amazing and I’m really glad it worked out that Daniel would be there the same day I was making my stop. Hopeful I’ll see them both again somewhere random halfway around the world.

Unsolicited opinions, part 2

Buy expensive socks. Your feet will thank you.

Wool or synthetic fiber socks are probably the best thing that ever happened in my life. I honestly don’t know how I went so long without knowing about them, so I assume I’m not the only person who wasn’t in on this secret. They keep you warm when it’s cold, and dry when it’s wet without ever getting too hot or soggy or gnarly. A decent pair can run $8-25 at REI or a good sports apparel store, which I balked at the first time I looked for them, but you only need a few pairs to get by so splurge and forget the price tag. My feet are complete bitches and cry when it’s even slightly cold out, but these babies kept me plowing through the snow with just my Chuck Taylors all through Salzburg. Even without crappy circulation in your toes like me, they’re generally fabulous for traveling because the nature of the fabric doesn’t attract dirt which means everything stays pretty clean. Try it and see what I mean. Buy some nice socks and don’t look back.