Continuing from the previous e-mail:
We got safely home, but we were completely exhausted. It was a bit stressful because the next day we had to head towards Salzburg. Goodness gracious………
In the morning my host mom told us that we would be having breakfast at my host aunt’s house before we headed to Salzburg. We headed at around 8:30. That was plenty of time because the train was going to leave at 10:41. My host aunt Elke greeted us at the door and told us to be at home. Once we were in the dining room, my other host aunt Kerstyn came from the kitchen a wonderful surprise. Elke told us to take a seat and make ourselves comfortable. A few minutes later the door bell rang and my host grandfather showed up as well as Kerstyn’s husband, Roman. My mom was extremely surprised because she had wanted to meet my host grandpa very much. It was a funny meeting because my mom and host grandpa were trying to speak to each other in Spanish and German. We laughed heartily.
After a wonderful Austrian breakfast it was time to head to the train station to catch our train. We had 15 minutes to spare and a one and a half hour ride to go. The train ride was smooth only making one stop in Wels. From there we continued to Salzburg and arrived at 12:30 in the afternoon. This time around I didn’t have any other exchange students to help me out, but luckily I have been to Salzburg a few more times than Vienna. From the train station we took a bus to where our hotel should have been. Since I wasn’t well versed in the outskirts of the city and my map didn’t have the layout to the airport either we were lost. Good thing though that we weren’t completely lost though. I still managed to find a hotel and I asked the front desk to tell me where I to find our destination. Once I knew where we had to go we again took the bus and this time we were headed over to the right place. We got off at the right stop and then we walked a few blocks to our hotel. Once there my mom and I rested for about 45 minutes. After we rested we headed back towards the altstadt.
The weather was quite wonderful that day. It had the perfect cloud cover and the right breeze to hit the spot. We headed down the most famous street the Getreidegasse. Of course there were tourists from all over the globe. My mom wanted to have coffee in a real Austrian way so I took her to Café Mozart of course. There we sat down and we took our order for coffee and I also told my mom that we needed to try the famous Salzburger Nockerl. The Salzburger Nockerl is an Austrian dessert that is similar to Soufflé, but in the shape of two mountains. Once we had it we were both stuffed with an inflated egg dessert into our stomachs. It was not my kind of dessert, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Afterwards we payed and then we headed down towards the Dom, this is the largest cathedral in Salzburg. My mom was again surprised at the architecture of the church. It was completely different than Stefans Dom. While Stefans Dom has Gothic architecture the Dom has Baroque architecture. Once we finished walking through the Dom we headed towards a small candy shop called Fürst which has another famous Salzburg sweet. In this shop they sell the famous Mozart Kugeln. I told my mom that she also had to try this “delicacy” because it isn’t made like this anywhere else. This particular sweet is a ball of chocolate, with a pistachio marzipan and nougat center. The Kugeln from Fürst are all made by hand ever since they were first made by Paul Fürst in 1890. I can safely say that is a sweet one must have if they ever visit Salzburg. After that my mom and I walked around looking at all the buildings going into stores etc. Before we left to the hotel we stopped by the Fest Park across the Salzach river. Although this is a small park it is as grandiose as the Schonbrunn gardens in Vienna. The gardens have some of my favorite statues in Austria which depict the four elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. My mom absolutely loved this place, but it was getting windier and darker so from there we decided to go eat before heading back to the hotel. We ate a restaurant called Khan’s which I tell you is one of the best Asian restaurants I’ve been to. I was stuffed that night. After we headed to the hotel and then we went to bed. The next day would be an interesting one.
On Saturday the 23rd we woke up to a sunny day. We checked out of the hotel at 9:30 from there my mom and I went to see the last attraction in Salzburg. I was taking my mom to see Mozart’s Geburtshaus (Birth House). It’s one of my favorite museums in Austria because it has so much to offer. It’s a quaint house that millions walk through everyday. I loved walking through the rooms and seeing instruments that Mozart played during his lifetime, his half-finished concertos and his letter’s to his wife. Once we finished with Mozart’s Geburtshaus my mom wanted to go eat. I had no idea where to go because my mom wanted to eat something completely Austrian. So I rang up a friend who lives in Salzburg and recommended this place called the Augustiner Bräustübl. It’s an old brewery from 1621 that offers plenty of food and drink for all. I was astonished at this place once inside because it is enormous and it had so much food all of it consisting purely of Austrian cuisine. This is another place I would highly recommend to go, the food is delicious beyond comparison. They had it all: Schnitzel, Wurstl, Knödel, Spieß, Kotelett. That’s to name a few. I say that’s a way to leave Austria right because from there my mom and I were headed to another place of wonder. This time Rome, Italy.
We headed towards the airport at around 4:30 p.m. because our flight took off at 6:20. We waited in the airport for that short time and the time came to board the plane. I seriously couldn’t believe that my mom and I were going to Italy let alone Rome. Of all places I was excited because it’s an archaeological museum. We took off from Austria and we had a connecting flight from Frankfurt which we had to wait about two hours. From there we headed to Rome. We got to Rome at around 11:45 p.m. This time we both had to find a way to navigate by ourselves. We called the bed and breakfast we were staying at and asked if we could arrive and manager said of course. We took a taxi from the airport and then we arrived to our destination quite at this time it was already one in the morning, but despite the time we were glad to be there. I mean that day we were going to a Papal mass.
We woke up at 7 in the morning to get ready to go to the Vatican. My sister was incredibly lucky to find this bed and breakfast because it was incredibly affordable and also because we were literally three minutes walking from the Vatican. Talk about insanity. We left there at 7:45 to see if we could get a good entry. It was already packed, but we could still walk through to get in. Also, since it was Palm Sunday the place was more crowded than usual. My mom and I were ecstatic to be able to witness a mass from the holy father because it’s something not everyone can witness. The mass was spectacular because they had it in Italian and Latin, but they also had it in many other languages which was real moving. This whole congregation of people had a sense of warmth and it brought the essence of what humanity should be. That is of course unity. It was powerful. When the mass ended we left, but we had to leave slowly because there simply were too many people to go through. We waited a little bit in order for the crowd to disperse. From there we headed towards where we were staying, but decided to grab a bite to eat first. We had our first Italian meal and it was radically different from the Austrian cuisine I had gotten used to. After we finished eating we headed to the bnb to drop of a few things and collect what we needed to go explore Rome. The manager told us how we could get places anywhere through Rome simply walking instead of taking a bus.
We were happy that we were able to do this. I told my mom that the first thing I wanted to see was the Colosseum. It was a 45 minute walk, but on the way we saw a mass of incredible things. It was too much to take in really, but enjoyable nonetheless. My mom and I bought some things on the way like small souvenirs and a map. The one thing though that made that day a bit dreary was that after about two in the afternoon it got cloudy. We still made the best of it by seeing ruins, the famous Roman cats, the parliament building, a castle, a plethora of churches, a famous marketplace and much more. Once we arrived to the Colosseum it was already about 4 p.m. Beforehand we saw it from a distance on one of the hills and then we headed toward it. Seeing this up close after many years only reading about it and seeing pictures in textbooks. I was blown away. I couldn’t handle it. I mean this structure of legend and awe. I mean this whole place in the city that used to have an empire that vanished off this planet. It was incredible to experience. I felt the adrenaline rushing through my body. My mom and I toured the Colosseum and we saw all that it had to offer. After that we were exhausted from all the walking we had done that day and to top it off my knee was hurting. We took a taxi from the Colosseum back to the bnb to arrive faster in order for us to rest, shower, and eat. The next morning we were going to explore the Vatican Museum, the Pantheon, and the Fontana di Trevi.
When we woke up the next morning we headed toward the Vatican to check out the inside of the church and the actual museum. Again it was packed, but it was definitely worth seeing. The structure of the church was breathtaking. I can’t even describe it, it was more than anyone could think of. I mean how long did it take to build, design, conceive? It was on a whole nother level. This was only the basilica not to mention we hadn’t even gone to the museum yet! That’s one of the best parts because this museum took roughly two and a half hours to get through. It was enormous. I’m not going to get into detail because I have photos, but I will make one special mention. Near the end we were trying to see the main attraction the Sistine Chapel. That is something I can never experience the same again. I mean the first instant I walk in there and I see all these paintings by some of the most famous artists of the renaissance. I saw The Creation of Adam up above me. It’s one of those things that makes me wonder about everything. It’s a highlight of life. After we finished there. My mom and I walked to one of the many market places that Rome had to offer we bought more trinkets and I bought some gummies. From there we headed towards the Pantheon. On the way there we stopped by a really cool plaza that seemed like the entrance to a castle. I forget the name, but there were two great fountains and a spire in the center. We were really close to the Pantheon at this point so from there we headed there. Once we got there I called a friend of mine who was there from Graz. She was there with her host granparents and we met up at the Pantheon. It was fun meeting her. After that my mom and I went inside to see.
Since it was getting dark we decided to head to the Fontana di Trevi before it was late in the evening. We arrived to it and it was amazing to look at this fountain. Especially at night since it was lit and it glowed a blue hue. After we finished with the fountain we left to find a place to eat. We found this nice pasta place. When we finished we took a taxi back to the bnb to rest up and shower. The next day we were scheduled to fly at three so we woke up and left to a market place to buy some last minute things for our relatives. From there we took a taxi toward the airport. We waited about one hour and then we flew back to Salzburg. Once we arrived to Salzburg we took the train back to the apartment and after a short, but exhausting trip we were glad to be back in Riedau. We had a good night’s sleep.
The next day we woke up and my mom wanted to do some shopping in Ried. We headed out in the morning to buy some gifts for everyone back home. After that we had a relaxed day with my host family they were asking how Rome was and if it was amazing. In the evening we headed to the apartment to rest because the next day would be my mom’s last day in Austria. Of course I was sad, but we did end up making another Mexican dish for my host family. We ended up making tamales the whole day since my host family was working. Again this was one of the best things I hadn’t had in months. A fresh home made tamale made by none other than my mom. It was delicious beyond belief because it was perfectly soft and warm. Those tamales left everyone speechless because they didn’t think posole could be topped, but we proved them wrong again haha.
The next day in the wee hours of the morning my host dad drove my mom and I to the airport so she could catch her flight. Her plane left at 6:40 and we got there at the nick of time at 6 we only had a short time to spare because her plane boarded at 6:20. It was morose to see my mother go, but it couldn’t be avoided. We said our goodbyes and I saw my mom leave the gate. That ends my mother’s visit. After that we drove back to my house and I soon slept. To top it off the last few days I got an awful bug in my system so I was sick for the last few days of break and Easter.
That ends this chapter of my exchange. I have three left, and now I have to make the most out of them for my big finally. We’ll see what the world has in store. Until next month.