From Writhe’s journal:
I get to Salzburg and I get some money out of the ATM for a bus ticket to the youth hostel. I think I was supposed to buy another ticket when I transferred, but it didn’t look like the bus driver was checking tickets or even cared. It was a really big bus with four different exits. I’ve been riding the bus acting like I know where I’m going. I finally get to the youth hostel and there are only about 5 people there, which is a lot less than all the other hostels I’ve been to. I check in and get my bed assignment. I receive a pillowcase and two sheets, one of which looks like a large sleeping bag. I have no idea how to make my bed so I’ll wait for some other backpackers and see how they make theirs.
I went down to the lobby to get some information about the city or things to do and places to go, but they have almost none. I was lucky to find a city map! Even that didn’t have all the streets labelled. I catch a bus back to the way I came and get off at Mozartsteg, which is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Salzach River, and wandered around the closing shops. This city seems like a nice place, but it has a thin layer of filth about it. I don’t know why it felt like that. Maybe because it’s old and tired. Maybe because it’s been doing it’s thing for so long that making sure everything is clean for the tourists isn’t on it’s list of top priorities.
I pass by this large group of gutter punks (that surprisingly didn’t have any dogs) sitting next to the river. One of them asks me for some money for the whole group of them, first in German, then in English we I tell him that Ich spreche kein Deutsch. I am proud of the fact that they didn’t take me for a tourist! I tell him I’m low on funds myself. Then he asks me for a cigarette. I show him I only have matches.
I continue walking and find a detailed city map where I can place myself and get a sense of where I am. I find the address of a restaurant in my guide book and walk a few streets over to find it. The outside is crowded. It seems like everyone wants to eat on the patio. Since hardly anyone is inside, I go in, seat myself and wait to be served. Darkwood Pub, small table, intimate. I suppose it’s early. I think I’ll go later to a pub that, what one backpacker told me, “artists like.” Dinner was good. Pork, potatoes, cranberries, a very small coke. They didn’t carry any cider, otherwise I would have had one.
A lot of the time I am wandering around cities, I don’t know exactly what I’m looking at. I suppose I could know if I kept my nose buried in a guide book and I read the history about lots of buildings and locations. But I would rather just meander and look and feel that feeling of being in a completely foreign place and not really knowing which way is which. and what is what. I find things by accident that way. There is not much planning involved. All of this gives me more time to just be in the city I’m visiting. I mean, it’s even better when you have a local guide to take you around and show you things. So when you’re on your own, this is the next best thing.
As I am getting closer and closer to Berlin, I am getting more excited to see Anke. At the same time, I am missing home more and more. I miss my friends and wish that they could experience all of this with me. Then again, I kind of left New Orleans for this trip so that I can get away and reset. Ugh, all of this is confusing. I since I’m here by myself, I’ll enjoy it by myself. When I’m with someone, I’ll enjoy it with them.