IT’S FREE TRAVEL!!!! Time to pack the bags and leave the villa for a week of fun with 7 fellow adventurers. We were talking on one of our trains about the first time we sat down to start brainstorming and planning at the very beginning of the summer. My, how far we’ve come! Armed with nothing but our backpacks, Eurrails, and excitement, we left the villa on Sunday ready for our journey.
The first stop was Venice. After scouring the city to get the keys to our apartment, we tried to cool off some (Italy is blazing right now) and then headed to check the stereotypical gondola ride off the list. On our way, we found a Magnum chocolate shop and I made my own ice cream bar that was quite delectable if I do say so myself. Our gondola ride was nothing short of fabulous and allowed us to take in lots of the sites of the city, including some fellow gondolanians (I made it up but it really rolls off the tongue I think) that we all agree we could’ve gone without seeing. We inquired about the siting to our gondolier who ensured us that many people kiss on gondolas and that there are often proposals too! Let’s hope they all said yes! Okay, back on track now…after the gondola ride, we picked up supplies at the grocery store and cooked dinner at our apartment and enjoy a relaxing evening. We had no idea of the adventure that would await us the next morning!
Our train was supposed to leave at 11:20, but as we got to the station, discovered we had booked a bus and the bus station was at a different location than the train station…after some rerouting and adjusting, we finally managed to get on a train to Germany where we switched trains and arrived in Salzburg only 3 hours later than originally planned. We met a cool man from Munich named Kurt on our train to Germany who pointed out places of historical value along the ride and gave us advice on places to go and things to see the rest of this week! I suppose everyone has to have at least one transpiration hiccup–hopefully that will be our only!! We found our hotel and ate a late dinner before crashing for the night. Today, we woke up and walked into the old city, ate some authentic Austrian lunch, and headed to a Sound of Music bus tour. My oh my, I love that movie and I was astounded at the beauty of Salzburg. Seeing the filming locations and small towns along the way while singing along to the soundtrack and thoroughly annoying my bus buddy (sorry Billy) was a perfect way spend the afternoon. I guess I was okay with the 4 hour air conditioned bus ride too. I also enjoyed an amazing apple streudel in a quaint suburb of Salzburg with an awe inspiring view of the mountains behind us. We strolled again along the streets of the old town and went to the top of a hotel to see a great view of the city from above. A wonderful day all in all! Anna put it best in her Instagram caption: first stop outside of Italy: check. Next stop: Czech!!