Thursday, 27 August 2015

Salzburg! Austria, Part 2

Onto Salzburg, the home of the Sound of Music, for my second post on Austria.

After the big city feel that Vienna gave off, Salzburg felt like a very small, quaint village. The area that our hostel was in felt so small in fact that it took us a while to find a store to get things to eat from. And the store that we did find was pretty small so there wasn't many options of things to eat. That's not a complaint about Salzburg though! It was nice to stay in a little Austrian village and be able to walk fo a bit to get into the main city. Our hostel was obviously taking on board the whole Sound of Music thing as well, because they played it every night at 8pm in the tv room. We sat down and watched it one night and it was amazing but for the people at reception, they must absoutely hate it now.


Not only was Salzburg big on promoting their attachment to the Sound of Music, but there was also a lot of promotion everywhere with Salzburg's affinity with Mozart. In fact, near our hostel, hidden behind a church was a beautiful little graveyard which had Mozart's parents gravestone's in it. And then in the main area of the city was Mozart's former home. It was so expensive to get into though so we just took a picture of the oustide. 


Salzburg was beautiful. So many gorgeous buildings and beautiful gardens, surrounded by mountains. It was amazing to be able to walk around such a picteresque place. Perhaps one of the most gorgeous views you can get of Salzburg, is from the funicular that takes you up to Fortress Hohensalzburg, and then from the Fortress Hohensalzburg itself. Hohensalzburg castle is an 11th century fortress complex sitting on a hilltop with amazing views over the city and to the Alps. Not only does it have gorgeous views, but you can also take an audio-guided tour around the fortress and learn about it's history. There's also a restaurant next to the fortress which overlooks the spectacular views of the city which must be an amazing place to have lunch. 




On our way to see the Fortress, we walked through a market where we bought delicious schnitzel and I got a huge apple pretzel. Don't think there was a more Austrian meal that we could have eaten on the steps of an Austrian church, next to an Austrian market. 

Side note, we passed the fanciest McDonald's I have ever seen on our way through the city centre. We didn't go in but I just had to take a picutre of the infamous 'M' sign. 



Side, side note. I thought Paris was the only city that had a love lock bridge but apparently not! It was amazing to see all these different locks on this bridge in Salzburg, with all the different message on them of people declaring their love for each other. It was rather sweet. 



If you want a more picturesque, relaxing trip to Austria, I definitely recommend Salzburg. It's a perfect little story-book setting.

Anyone else been to Salzburg? Anyone want to go? Let me know!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Kygo

Before my second post on Austria (Salzburg this time), I thought I'd write a quick note on my musical love at the moment. Its the Norweigen DJ, Kygo. A DJ is a bit of a weird choice for me to be into because I'm not normally a fan of house music, but I've made an exception for Kygo. He has a strange ability to make music that you can listen to when you're with your friends getting ready for a night out but also when you're chilling in your room. Probably because he offers chilled, melodic music that also has a strong beat to it.


He started off as just a normal artist on SoundCloud who got major recognition and views because of his work and was sought out by artists such as Chris Martin (Coldplay) to create official remixes of their songs. 


I first heard of Kygo when I was shown a remix of I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, and I absolutely loved it. Since then, not only do I love his remixes e.g. Angels by XX and Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye [which is amazing, you have to give it a listen] but I also love his officially released singles. Namely, Firestone featuring Conrad Sewell, Stole the Show featuring Parson James and Nothing Left featuring Will Heard. If you only listen to a couple of his songs, I practically insist that you listen to those three. They are amazing. 

What's your music crush at the moment? Any suggestions? Let me know what you think of Kygo!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Vienna! Austria, Part 1

Whilst browsing through a few different travel blog posts on Bloglovin (those are basically the only posts I read other than cooking and fitness ones - sorry everyone else!) I came to the sad realisation that I'm never going to become a famous travel blogger and therefore never going to experience the perks that come with such a profession, such as the free flights, free accomodation and so on (in exchange for reviews of course). Not only is this because I am unfortunately not travelling to new places a lot, my writing isn't that eloquent and the saddest reason of all - my follower count sucks. Despite the fact that I get quite a few views on my posts (although not on my travel posts to be fair, more so on my other ones), no one seems to go the extra mile and follow me! Sigh. I guess I must resign myself to the fact that compared to the travel bloggers out there, its just not going to happen to me... Oh well! On to Vienna where 3 became 4!


Up to this point on our trip it had only been the three of us - Ashleigh, Cosmo and myself. However, once we arrived in Vienna (after another exhausting night train), we had plans to meet up with our 4th Euro-trip member, Carmen. Despite the fact that I had emailed the hostel beforehand telling them that we would be arriving earlier than their check in time, I had gotten no response and was hoping that they had got the message and would allow us to check in early, seeing as every other hostel had let us do this up till this point and every hostel that we had booked after Vienna said they would allow us to check in early as well. However, after arriving in Vienna after practically no sleep on another couple of night trains early in the morning, navigating our way to the bus that would take us close to our hostel, working out what stop to get off at, walking to our hostel, waiting outside till it opened, we were informed by a really rude receptionist that no, we couldn't and we should have emailed beforehand. Upon informing her that I had done, she shrugged and offered no further help other than telling us to wait around for 2 hours and maybe they'd be able to get us in then. Maybe. So what did we do at 9AM on a Sunday morning in Vienna? Sat on a bench, exhausted, complaining about how hungry and tired we were and not being able to do anything about it because we couldn't get to our beds for another 2 hours and nowhere was open to serve us food because it was a Sunday. When this cafe next to us finally opened up and we went to sit down, they told us that you had to reserve a place for breakfast and we were evicted. Fortunately there was a really cool, hippy cafe across the road that opened up shortly after that, that we managed to get some food in and also managed to get some free wifi. We sat there and ate till it was time to go back to the hostel and see if we could get in early. Thankfully we could, at which point Carmen had joined us (she had flown in that morning), and we all got into our hostel room and collapsed on our beds. 


So far I was not thrilled with Vienna. Although to be fair my only experience of it was one really rude receptionist and the fact that no where opened until really late although it was a Sunday so we should have expected that, so I shouldn't really have judged it that harshly. However, after spending a few days there I sort of fell in love with it. I don't really know why. Not so much as a holiday destination, although it was really cool to visit, but as a place that would be really fun to live in one day. It was a good blend of historic and cultural sights, with the added benefit of also being a modern city that you could envisage youself living and having fun in. It was also that mixture of really Western living but also something foreign and exciting which we hadn't really experienced up until then. Not the foreign part, we had definitely experienced that, but the mix of both cultures. That was something new.


We visited lots of different castles, and museums and gardens and cathederales which were all so beautiful and interesting. The architecture was beautiful there. But we had seen so much of that already. Not that it wasn't still gorgeous but what really got me was that you could live in a place like this and walk around the cbd and go to your job and still walk past a beautiful building with so much history and culture and that would just be your life. And it would be amazing. Everywhere else up till this point had been very touristy, and although they were amazing, they were definitely (in my opinion anyway) places that you visit on holiday but not somewhere that you could realistically live. Zagreb wasn't that touristy to be fair, and neither was Ljubljana but Ljubljana had a very small town feel about it whereas Vienna felt like a big city and was therefore more exciting and Zagreb just felt like a normal city to me, unlike Vienna which still had all this history and culture as well as the city vibe so it was the best of both worlds. 


When we were there we also went to this amusement park called Prater, in Vienna's second district. Its the oldest amusement park in the world and it was so much fun. I highly recommend you go there. When we first arrived it didn't look busy at all and it didn't look like there was much to do, but as you kept on walking you came across more and more rides and more and more people and it was just so much fun. Such a good day out. Its also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can go whenever you want. It was a nice break from seeing all the castles and cathederals etc.

Although, a great historic site to visit is the Schonbrunn Palace - a former residence of the Habsburgs. Ashleigh and I went on an audio-guided tour there and it was great. It was so beautiful inside and there was so much history. If you want to do a day that is both educational and really fun, I suggest doing this tour and then going to the Prater later on in the evening. 


As you can probably tell, I loved Vienna. Although it wasn't my favourite place we visited in terms of our Euro-trip (Venice and Prague were my top destinations), it was definitely somewhere that I could envisage myself living. The only downside was that we never managed to work out the tramlines... they were so complicated! The underground worked just fine for us though.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Zagreb!


I have completely neglected my Europe posts recently because I’ve been back at another internship so I’ve been so tired when I get back home that I can’t muster up the effort to open up my laptop and right a post.

But anyway… on to Zagreb!




Zagreb was actually my least favourite place that we visited… I feel bad saying it because we weren’t there for very long (only about a day and a half) so we didn’t really get to experience it properly so I feel like I’m unfairly judging it. We were also so tired and there was a bit of a mix up with our hostel when we got there which put a bit of a dampener on the experience.  

Not to say that the place wasn’t beautiful but it was just like any normal city… we could easily have been back in Glasgow if it weren’t for the different languages that people were speaking. And for a Euro-trip, you kind of want to go to places that are completely different from where you live and we didn’t get that with Zagreb so it was a bit… boring. If you go out into where the mountains and rivers are, it’s meant to be absolutely beautiful. I’m kind of sad we didn’t get to do that because it was on our list, we just didn’t have time because we were there for such a short period. I’m sure if we had managed to do that, it would have been one of my favourite places we visited, but unfortunately not. 



We did however get to go to the Museum of Broken Relationships, which I absolutely loved. If you are in Zagreb you should definitely check this museum out. Its really cheap and its so different from all your usual museums. There are loads of different items scattered around the place, like t-shirts or shoes or records, and with each object there is a little story or quote attached to it. Getting a little glimpse into people’s lives and their relationships is so special and intimate that it really left a lasting impression on me. My favourite had to be the one with the shortest quote. It was a football jersey framed on the wall and the quote attached to it was: “He was a player.” I loved it. They also had a great quote on their café sign…


I also bought the majority of my souvenirs in Zagreb. I only bought 3 things on the entire trip (souvenir wise) and 2 of those were bought in Zagreb. Firstly I bought a big chunky ring that was handmade and sold in the market in the Old Town. My necklace, which I wear all the time, was bought on the walk up to the Museum of Broken Relationships. There was a little stand on the side of the pathway and a girl about our age was selling different charms and things. You picked your charm and then she got out the chains and you gave her the length you wanted and she would put it all together right there. She was a Fine Art graduate from the University there and she made all the charms herself. It was so impressive. I was torn between the one I bought which looks like the rose from Beauty and the Beast, and this one that had a piece of bacon in it. It sounds really weird but because of the glass, it zoomed in on the bacon and you could just see a really cool pattern. I didn’t even realise it was bacon until she told me. In the end, Beauty and the Beast won however.



We had a meal in this little pub place that was right by our replacement hostel. It was the most ridiculous thing ever. It was just a giant plate of different types of meat. I was starving before we ordered it and I think I over estimated my eating abilities… It was the biggest plate and the most food I have ever seen. As you can probably expect, I did not finish it all. You know the Thanksgiving episode of Friends where Joey has the meat sweats? Yeah that was me after eating this meal. Even though it was ridiculous, it was really good.  
Also, the street that this pub was on was really cool. Maybe not so much for us because we were exhausted and wanted to sleep and the noise from the street came right through the window of the hostel, but for anyone wanting to go on a fun trip away this is definitely a good place to go. There were so many bars and pubs and food places and all the alcohol and food was so cheap. There was live music playing and loads of people walking around and chatting and sitting outside soaking up the sun. If I was to go back to Zagreb I would definitely take advantage of the chill night life atmosphere.

All in all, for us Zagreb was kind of a pointless pit stop. Its pretty cool to say we’ve been to Croatia but we didn’t really get to see much of it and we were too tired and didn’t have enough time to go out and explore and enjoy ourselves. But I still think it would be a really cool place to go for a short holiday if you have the time to go on day trips and enjoy yourselves. Everyone there seemed to be loving it!