Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Sights and Sounds of Music in Austria

Imagine this if you can: Our Seminar group stayed in a renovated horse stable from which we had an impeccable view of the Swiss Alps, dined in the marble hallway of the Schloss Leopoldskron Palace for every meal, and we were able to see and visit the fortress of the castle located at the top of the old town of Salzburg. The weather was cold, but there was no harsh wind as there is in Ferrum. A light dusting of snow covered the ground, which was just enough for an aesthetic perk without turning the trip in to a mess. The lake in front of the palace was almost entirely frozen over, so a few daring individuals decided to take a stroll (or a skate) on the ice.

The old town was about a fifteen minute walk from our residence for the week. This was convenient, although we opted to take a cab if we were in a hurry. The walkways were cobblestone and there were horse and buggies roaming the streets. Outside of the monolithic cathedral was a hotspot for unknown musicians to plug and play their instruments. While we were there, we witnessed an electrical and an acoustic guitarist, followed by a violinist, all of whom demonstrated their love of classical music.

The shopping and dining in the small town of Salzburg ranged from the low key to the most exquisite. Needless to say, our group opted for the modest options. It was so interesting to explore the specialty shops and the souvenir kiosks. I couldn’t look in any direction without seeing Mozart, his chocolates, or giant pretzel vendors. After our shopping expedition, Cody, Jessi, and I stopped for dinner to enjoy some authentic European foods and beverages.

Waking up every morning to walk to the palace for breakfast was a treat, not only because of the food, but because of the breathtaking mountains. Every day the snow covered Alps appeared differently in every light, from the bleak, cloudy mornings, to the rosy red sunrises. Many from the seminar noticed that the shape of the mountains was not that of those in Appalachia. The Alps were jagged and steep instead of rounded and less inclined than they are here.

Just taking it all in was harder than one might think. I was on sensory overload, and I am beginning to feel that way right now even as I recall my experience. I am still not adjusted to the time zone and am having a difficult time coping with being immediately immersed in the demanding world of academia; however, in the spirit of the Salzburg Seminar faculty, I must “Stay awake” to my surroundings, and remember my task of becoming a global citizen.

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