Woke up freaking early today. About to be late for meet with guys. Showered and changed super-fast into something light and outdoorsy cos I figured, Salzburg, nice and sunny, yeah? The moment I stepped outside the house, I went “Scheiße!”
It was raining!
Screw that, no time to turn around. Met Dona, Maggie and Fabio at Oly. At Hauptbahnhof, we found the rest (Monkey Boy, Shannon and Manuel) sans Useless McGyver.
The train was scheduled to leave at 09:10, we were running out of time, but I was perfectly confident that Mike was gonna make in time. When the clock chimed nine at the platform, I became perfectly confident that he wasn’t gonna make it.
09:09. J-Dawg got on the train at last (we pretty much gave up at that point) and at that exact instant, he spotted Useless McGyver racing around the corner. Reached the train with thirty seconds to spare. Bravo!
Though the train journey had three changes, it went without a hitch, thankfully (unlike nearly every other one of our train rides, if you haven’t noticed already). In conversation, I’m reminded that the only reason I was doing this was to fulfill a promise I made to my friend, Shwu, back home before I came here, that I will visit Mozart’s birthplace, cos she’s such a big fan.
Oh the things I do for you people.
When we reached the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, we took a rather scenic walk to the city centre (river banks, Alps in the background and all that). Shannon was happy she got her mountains at last; she’s just got to figure out how take them back with her to Chicago.
The first thing we saw was Mozarts Geburtshaus, where I finally made good on my promise to Shwu. Here Useless McGyver found and enthralled a troop of Austrian kids that mobbed us like we were celebrities. They even asked Maggie for an autograph.
Guess tourists were the real attraction in this town.
The next place we visited was Dom zu Salzburg, a cathedral dedicated to Saints Rupert and Virgil. No idea who the heck those guys were, but a lady was obviously big enough a fan to get me to take a photo of her with a sign of the year Virgil came from Ireland (774, by the way, if you were wondering).
There was a undergound “room for silence and prayer”. Naturally, we went down without Useless McGvyver. Silence was not his thing, really. Looked like a crypt for Zen worshippers, as Monkey Boy put it, with sterile, modern marble and soft, New Age lighting. Bleah.
Good acoustics though, and when the Italians translated the Latin on the walls, it gave the reading a most ominous tone. Neat.
My favourite wasn’t inside the church at all, but a funky statue in the middle of the courtyard. At least if you like statues of deranged, human-eating monsters, which I do.
Hungry (Shannon was cooing at some toys, and I snapped, “Screw the stuffed animals, I want to stuff myself with some animals!”), we headed to a tourist office for directions and ended up in a typical Austrian tavern for lunch. Stayed there a real LONG time. Mostly to stay out of the rain.
Did I mention the rain? It sucked ass, major ass. But I don’t want to bitch, not right now anyway. More later, I promise.
We had eggs for lunch. Well, Eierknockerl, which was basically Spätzle with eggs. This is of significance only now cos we’re having omelettes with onions and crepes for dinner. Hurray for eggs!
Fabio was immensely tormented by Useless McGvyer giving Italian (the language) a try. Poor guy… he kept saying “Blackout! Blackout!” Much to our collective amusement of course. Torture: the best form of entertainment.
You can’t have excruciating without exciting.
Finally, we managed to haul ass up the hill to the tomb. It was pouring even worse now. Whoopee. Dona was the only smart enough to bring an umbrella. We all wanted to be her friend.
Somehow we spent a great deal of time learning how to count one to ten in Italian and Chinese. I got Manuel to try say forty-four in Mandarin, and he ended up saying something like “Yes, ten died.”
Somehow it described the way I felt at the time, being wetter than a pussy foot.
By the time we got to the top, it was nearly closing time, and half us decided to take a raincheck. Those of us who didn’t go in went back down to the city and entered the Franziskaner Kirche.
The church was delightfully dark and gloomy after the depressing white of the first cathedral earlier. Holy and truly quiet, with some kind of silence from solitude and honest gratitude.
Maggie and I were huddled like a pair of homeless souls over a pan of red, heart-warming candles. This seemed to be the only moment of real sanity I’ve had the whole day.
While Maggie told me more about Saint Francesco, and how despite his religious piety he was shunned by his own family, I just pondered on nothing but the heat of the flame. Her words and the flames just made things right again.
Then it was back to the rain.
By now, I was near rabid, bitching about how cold I was, how wet I was, how sick I was of Salzburg, how everything I was, basically how I hate the whole freakin’ world.
Found the rest hiding behind some columns and began running for the train. Well, some of us did. They were SO sure we would make it. Eventually I just let myself feel beaten and soaked to the core.
Suddenly, the rest of them started running and catching up. Perhaps not so confident after all. I did the countdown, but lied and stole three minutes. We got there with just minutes to spare. I say honesty is highly overrated. Truth never caught anyone a train.
As I sat down, drenching seats, I realised that the only part of me that was dry were my feet, thanks to my thick woolen socks, the only sensible thing I thought to put on today.
Excuse me while I go die now.
Copyright © 2002 Kenny Mah Ying Fye.