Tag Archive: Hot

Day 9: Salzburg

It was time to leave.

We woke up early that morning so that we wouldn’t miss the one train stopping in Dorfgastein. It was sad putting everything back into our bags knowing that we probably wouldn’t be back for a very long time, if ever. However, there was also excitement in the air, because we would be traveling back to Wien and our host families would be there waiting for us.

The plan was to travel to Salzburg and spend the day there. After Salzburg we would then, finally, make our way to Wien.

Although the train was nothing exciting we did get to pass by Hohenwerfen Castle. A few scenes in The Sound of Music were shot at this castle.

Now, if you like The Sounds of Music, Salzburg is the place to go. As soon as we started walking away from the train station we were informed that the mountains in front of us were the ones that the real Von Trapp family crossed. They are also the mountains that separate Salzburg from Germany.

Our main destination in Salzburg was the old part of town, so we had to travel through some of the newer areas to cross the Salzach, the main river that runs through Salzburg. On our way there we glimpsed, for a brief second, one of the houses that Mozart spent some of his life in.

We crossed through Maribell Gardens, which were amazing and had a great view of the castle on the hill above Salzburg, called Hohensalzburg Castle. The garden around Maribel was very long with designs in the grass created from flowers and impressive statues of men and women in twisting poses. There were a lot of weddings taking place both in the gardens and inside the palace.

The statue below was one of my favorite, because of it’s elegance and modern feel, but it also fit well into the scenery of the garden and looked out over both Maribell Gardens and Hohensalzburg Castle.

The gardens were very large and long. One section on the right had a fountain, some flowers and then it turned into a tunnel of trees that provided shade from the blistering sun. The garden on the left and hidden behind the palace was wide open with multiple statues decorating each side and a fountain in the middle that lined up perfectly between all the statues, the garden and the Hohensalzburg Castle.

A pegasus statue in the middle of the gardens, overlooking Hohensalzburg Castle.

For a few minutes we were able to go inside the large baroque style palace. Inside it had high arching ceilings and a stairway with banisters decorated with cherubs. Some of the weddings were being held in the upper floors of the buildings.

The ceiling at the entrance to the castle.

A closer look at the detail on the ceiling.

The bridge we used to cross the Salzach was covered in padlocks of all different shapes and sizes. They are meant to keep love alive and once a couple writes on the lock and then secures it to the bridge, they throw the key into the river so that their love can never be broken. In some sections of the bridge the entire fence was obscured by locks.

Once we crossed the bridge we were in the older part of the town and immediately came upon the most crowded street in all of Salzburg. Getreidegasse is known for its cute shops and impressive signs. Long ago the signs out front use to hold pictures that informed people of what exactly the shop sold. There are still a few signs like that now, but mostly they just say the name of the business or shop. Most of the shops were more for tourists and also very expensive, but we were able to find a place that sold a scoop of ice cream for one Euro. Although the street was crowded, I especially liked this part of the town, because there were secret alleyways that looked like shops, but were actually shortcuts to the other streets and the farmer’s market.

Now, if McDonalds looked this fancy in America, I might actually eat something there.

One of the more creative sings along the street.

Along this same shopping street is also the house where Mozart was born. He lived on the third floor. Now, its a fantastic museum with paintings, pianos, and actual documents from Mozart.

It’s hard to imagine what the street would have looked like when Mozart was around, definitely not so crowded, but in general it seemed like the city had preserved his house pretty well. Although Mozart often talked about leaving his boring life in Salzburg for something more, just going back through his past and seeing all of Salzburg made it easy to see where he got his inspiration from. Out his back door he had the towering churches, a giant castle, and the market place full of people.

The picture below was one of the only pictures I was allowed to take while inside. The apartment had rooms on the side where I’m standing and then it went down a long passageway that was open to a small courtyard below. It then continued into another two rooms that looked out over the farmer’s market.

After the museum we headed towards some of the churches. There were a lot of churches in the area and quite a few that I can’t remember the names of, but one of the more dramatic ones was Dom zu Salzburg. The outside was impressive with huge white and black statues of saints, inside was even more so.

Going inside churches like the Dom zu Salzburg always floors me. I can’t even fathom how someone could think up such tiny intricate details and make them three dimensional and as large as possible. I could have stayed and stared at a single spot on the ceiling for hours if we hadn’t been on a schedule. The wonder of it all is what makes me really love and appreciate architecture.

This particular part of the ceiling wasn’t even in the main room, it was off to the side.

Just off to the side of Dom zu Salzburg is Residenzplatz. It’s a huge open square with a large fountain in the center that was not only beautiful, but great for cooling off. Although there was nothing there the day we visited, Residenzplatz is the main place for events in Salzburg.

The fountain.

Just for kicks and because who doesn’t like to be a tourist sometimes, Annika, Ari and I took a ride on a carriage with the famous Haflinger horses from Austria. They took us to all the different attractions around the area and it made for a nice break from walking.

Before heading back to the train station we made our way over to the elevator to get a better view of the city. The elevator shaft runs straight up through the natural stone wall that protects part of Salzburg. It took us up to the top where there is a museum and also a restuarant, but most importantly a beautiful view of Salzburg and the Hohensalzburg Castle. The castle was placed up on the hill not only to protect the city, but also to act as a toll station.

After a full day of walking, we headed back to the station to catch the 6:00 train to Vienna. It was a smooth ride until we got closer to Vienna and were informed that the station’s communication system was not functioning. After that announcement it was a mad dash to the underground to get on the next tram and head over to the Westbahnhof ourselves.

Luckily, our families were still waiting for us and we all got in taxis and headed to our new homes.

Summer Photography Trip: Moab

I’m really late posting this, but I took some photos over the summer in Moab, Utah. While my mother and sister were off on their own adventure my father and I decided to go somewhere specifically for photography.

We couldn’t have chosen a better place.

I’ve seen pictures of the desert and high plateaus, but if you really want to experience them, go there yourself, because there’s nothing else like it in the world. While we were driving to our hotel we were literally right up against a plateau. It was beautiful and unnerving at the same time. Car-sized boulders were strewn all over the side of the road and I constantly tried not to think about what would happen if one decided to tumble down the cliff and land on top of us.

The horses at the ranch where we stayed were impressive. I have no idea how they went out into the heat twice a day with someone on their back. During the day when they weren’t being ridden most of them just relaxed under the shade, but really in 100 degree weather the shade isn’t going to be much cooler.

* Fun fact: Apparently the plateau in the background of the picture above has been used to film a lot of music videos (Blaze of Glory by Bon Jovi) and also some car commercials where they had to helicopter the car in pieces up to the top. While my father and I were there we also met a group of people who were there working on the new Lone Ranger film with Johnny Depp. Sadly, we did not get to see Johnny Depp himself.

While we were there it was over 100 degrees every day. I felt like the water was being sucked out of my skin by the sun and I literally felt weighed down by the air. It was a rough climate and one that I had never experienced before. My father and I wanted to do as much as possible while we were there so that meant going outside in the middle of the day.

We went rafting, which was one of the highlights, but we also made our way around Canyonlands, Island in the Sky, Arches, and also the Fiery Furnaces.

Each place had its own “feel”. Canyonlands, Island in the Sky was more panoramic. You could see for miles and miles on end. The landscape reminded me of an abstract work of art and I can only imagine how long it must have taken for the river to carve its way through the land to make such beautiful cliffs.

As you can probably see I was having fun with the fisheye lens. The sun also seems to be a big theme in my pictures, but really how could it not be? It was basically impossible to escape. Both the photos above are ones from Dead Horse Point.

Arches National Park, obviously had a lot of very impressive arches and rock formations, but it also felt a little more closed in. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to a lot of arches, but we did get to see Delicate Arch from a distance.

My favorite place was the Fiery Furnaces. I love to go hiking in caves and this place was very much like a cave without the roof. The entire place is a maze of rock columns and because of this we decided it would be best to have a guide. In one place we even had to climb through a crevasse using both hands and feet. This was extremely difficult with a camera in hand. One minute we were walking on a sandy path and the next we were climbing up a steep and slippery rock face to get to a cliff. It’s now one of my favorite places in the world. I’m glad we had a guide who knew where to go, because otherwise I don’t know if we would have come out.

The pictures above and below are basically the same photo, but on the one below I tried experimenting with the levels a little. I was going for more of a desert theme, trying to bring out the hotness I felt while walking around under the sun.

I recently took a trip to Park City, Utah and was completely blown away by the beauty of the mountains. It was an amazing place and it has such a diverse landscape! It was shocking to land near Salt Lake City and see the multi-colored lake below and then see the towering Wasatch mountain range above.

Although Park City is best know for the 2002 Winter Olympics and great skiing, I actually didn’t make it out onto the slopes all that much, but that was ok. There was a lot more to do than just ski. In fact, I spent most of my time taking pictures.


EDIT: 4/25/12

More on the photos taken:

Most of the photos are ones that I took while in a hot air balloon. It was amazing to be so high up in the air and not really have anything surrounding me. The air was completely still and it was actually warmer up in the sky than on the ground. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I really can’t wait to go back up someday.

You can see some more photos of my family and I taking off in the balloon on the Facebook page for the company Morning Star Balloons. If you are planning to go to Park City I would highly recommend them.

However, there was a lot to do on the ground too. Another highlight of the vacation was getting to see all the old mines. There were a ton of very cool looking mines up on the ski slopes. Most of them were falling apart and unsafe, but it was fun to ski past them and think about what was once there.  The old mines fascinate me, because I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have been like to work miles and miles below the earth. One of the pictures I took is of a closed mine alongside one of the main roads in Park City.  I wish I could have taken more photos of the mines up on the ski slopes, but that just gives me an excuse to go back!