he alarm rings loudly, braking my slumber. I lie still for a few moments until the realization of what my day's schedule sinks in. This morning, I am on a day tour to Salzburg (most well known as Mozart's birthplace) some 300 km (184 mi) from Vienna. This day tour involves several hours of a bus ride (with a stop for breakfast and dinner). The bus leaves at 7:15 (and I am supposed to be there 30 minutes before) . This means (with the abbreviated Saturday morning transit schedule) I need to leave the hotel at 6:05 to catch the bus.
I crack open my eyes and peek at the clock on the phone – 5:20, it shines into my barely awake retinas. Ugh…I had better get up before I fall back asleep.
I crawl out of bed, get ready, and head out to catch my bus. Thanks to the precision of the transit system I make good time – beating even the tour bus to the appointed pick up spot. Eventually, the bus arrives as does the tour guide. I climb on board and grab a seat by a window to await adventure.
We zoom along on the bus with our tour guide attempting to point out interesting historical landmarks while the riders sleep. I manage to snap a pic of Melk Abbey as we go by. An hour and a half into the journey, we stop for breakfast at a rest stop.
I order a croissant and a mélange and sit down at a table to eat. The croissant is passable – I have had worse. The coffee, however, that is a different story. The coffee is some of the absolute worst tasting coffee I have had…maybe since the organic/vegan black sludge I had last year at the Kulturelle Landpartie. I try but I am unable to finish it – I will be undercaffeinated until I get to Salzburg. I wander outside to take in the beautiful countryside before climbing back on the bus.
Continuing on, our next respite is the Mondsee (moon lake). It is so named because of its resemblance to the crescent moon. I don’t really see it…it looks a bit more like a pancreas to me…but I suppose “Bauchspeicheldrüsesee” does not quite have the same ring to it as Mondsee. However, despite the lack of crescent shape, it is beautiful especially with the mountains. Soon, the call to get on the bus is made and I am on my way again.
300 km (184 mi) after we begin, we have at long last reached Salzburg – so named after the barges that carried salt along the river that were subject to a toll during the 8th century.
The tour guide will conduct a short tour through the Altstadt then we are on our own for a few hours before having to return to the bus for the return journey. In no time, a group of us are following our guide like ducklings follow a mother duck.