The day I arrived in Salzburg it was sunny and bright and on the warm side... Of course within a few hours it was dark and snowing, and stayed grey and wintry for the rest of the weekend, with the occasional ray of sunshine breaking through the otherwise thickly frosted sky. I went to the library on Thursday and Friday, with some time for sightseeing after the library closed in the evenings.

I'm always fascinated by graffiti like this, which is so raw and emotional and intimate. I love you. She loves her boyfriend.  A loves B who loves C who loves D. The linear futility of all this love facing the wrong direction was evidently too frustrating for the writer. Was it written in English in some giant black permanent marker by some anglophone tourist, or is an affectaton of an Austrian teen? Who knows. Hard to imagine when it might have been done, too - on such a busy touristic street. 

My first trip to the library was before I had a decent street map, so I just tried to keep myself traveling in the right direction - even if it meant sliding through buildings instead of going around them. But this is a street! An actual street! With street vendors.

Salzburg was founded by Ents! Or their first cousins.

NOOOOOOOOO. It's spreading! Appropriate use of apostrophes will soon have to be mandated in an amendment to the Geneva conventions.

Soup #1: a cream of potato and leek soup made with lots of pepper and dill seed, with two slices of fragrant rosemary beer bread and a crispy piece of pan-fried prosciutto. I have important news! Prosciutto fried like bacon is WAY yummier than bacon. I said it! I meant it! It's divine. It's like bacon that has been stripped of all its imperfections.

I found this confusing. Evidently God threw fireballs at Pegasus and the shoeless stableboy who stole the sword fell off and fell into a dragon's mouth while Mt. Vesuvius erupted all around them. The end. What?

This makes me nervous for the unicorn.

I picked up some toys for my niece's birthday (some Playmobil pieces to go with her dollhouse) and took a bus to a post office, but then walked back into the towncenter. This involved walking under a mountain that was in the way. There was a car tunnel and a pedestrian/bicycle tunnel. See that sign next to the tunnel? It says "This is a damn long tunnel. Pack a lunch!"

Snow snow snow snow.

And out to dinner that evening at the Italian place next door, where I had a really delicious bowl of creamy garlic soup. There was also some pasta, but the soup was the best part.

At the library the next day I noticed this matronly pidge and it reminded me of Virginia Woolf.

 I had a late lunch after finishing up at the library - the menu said "pumpkin soup" but it was so much more fun than that - in the States we would probably see it billed as a pumpkin cappucino, because it was a smooth pumpkin soup with a thick steamed foam of cream on top of it, then a drizzling of basil oil and a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds. It was delicious.

After my soup, I walked around the corner to Furst, and bought a few truffles to take up to the top of Monchsberg with me from their amazing selection:

This mosaic is at the bottom - at the top, there was a beautiful view of the city:

And a view of Untersberg mountain. See how the clouds are just scudding over the tip of the mountain? Make a mental note.

In Vienna the carriages are very refined and the horses are too - in Salzburg the carriages are more like wagons, and the horses are sturdy little mountain ponies.

Wooden rocking horses motorcycles!

These shop signs advertise businesses on Salzburg's main shopping street.

Classiest McDo sign ever:

These boots? 500 Euros. UM. I do like the jeweled lizard, though.

Saturday I took the bus out to Unterberg, and the cable car that goes to the top of the mountain. When I got back to town I picked up some more toys for my niece, some groceries for dinner, and spent a kind of frustrating hour at the train station trying to sort out my ticket to Mantua for Tuesday. Frustration hinging on confusion surrounding Mantua/Mantova and some Viennese town called Mantovsomethingelse - sorted out in the end.

This sign tells you the weather up on the mountain. The ski pass is closed.

These are the cables that the car rides on! Um.

That doesn't look so bad, right? Even if you've got a little bit of the ol' fear of heights that your mom has in spades.

Then five minutes later, you're here:

And while the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful, every time I thought of those little cables I felt a little frisson of terror. And I wasn't alone. Everyone was making a lot of noise, kind of like an audience at a horror movie. Nobody's genuinely scared per se, it just makes you feel a little better to get some of the tension out of your system.

See the ground down there? That's where the car started. Looking at this again now makes my heart do this weird slide all the way down my spine. In the states there are always safety fences and partitions and stuff like that between you and the vast, whistling chasm or abyss. Not here. One step and your days are done. I'm really not crazy about the margin of error.

Then we all piled off and climbed another few meters to the lodge area - a few people continued on to the closed ski pass (not sure what that was all about) but me and the Scot and Englishwoman I met on the cable car opted to just drink some hot mulled wine in the lodge - they'd planned on doing some hiking around, but...

A cloud popped itself on the top of the mountain and it got awfully foggy.

Mountain goat trophy on the wall of the lodge - in aviators:
When I left the lodge this is what I saw:

The difference between the ground and the sky and the howling abyss and everything else was pretty much 0. But then along came this boisterous group of leathery mountain Austrians, chain smoking and hiking boots spitting up snow as they churned along full-steam, so I just slip-streamed into their wake and that's how I got back to the cable car safe and sound and considerably less gibbering and on all fours than might have been the case otherwise.

I wanted to send this cute lamb cake at the grocery store home to my mother so she could give it a fresh coat of sugar fluff and hang a little bell around its neck on a silk ribbon and eat it all up with hot chocolate on Easter, but I'm pretty sure that it would have arrived in the form of a pile of crumbs with a lable announcing that it was once a delicious vanilla lamb cake.

Sunday: everything will be closed. My plan is to find the coin op laundromat near the train station, finish up on some preparatory work for the Italian archives, and take it easy. Monday I'm in Mantua. Venice from Wednesday to April 1st. Getting the Venice manuscripts sorted has been a little weird, and I'm no longer entirely certain how many manuscripts I'll actually have to work on there. At least three - unfortunately when I was trip planning I thought there would only be two. If there's more than three I'm going to be running into scheduling problems. We'll see.




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