This week in Salzburg:
On Sunday I went to the house where Joseph Mohr was born. He wrote the lyrics of the Christmas song, “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” (Silent Night). It was opened for anyone to come in as a part of “Tag des Denkmals,” a day in Austria where certain historical places were open to the public that usually aren’t. The tour was supposed to begin at 2 pm, so I showed up a bit early to meet up with a couple of my new friends. We waited outside the house in the narrow alleyway until the doors opened. It’s completely under construction, and one of the architects and another person working on the renovation were there to tell us a bit about the current state of the house. It seems like a tough job to take care of the buildings on that street (Steingasse) because they are built right up against the Kapuzinerberg. The Kapuzinerberg has a lot of water runoff, and it can cause all sorts of problems with the structural integrity of the buildings. Before we were allowed to go in, we had to sign a liability release form from the construction company… We got to walk around the whole house on our own, and it was empty except for all of the dust. Looking around was interesting to a certain extent. The main thing I took away from visiting that house, though, was how much I wouldn’t want to be in charge of renovating it.
Sunday evening was the last day of the St. Rupert’s festival. The Salzburgers call this festival their “little Oktoberfest.” It lasts just five days, and it’s set up in the main old town squares. There are a few carnival rides, and all sorts of different stands selling food, beer, sweets, wine, souvenirs, and other random things. There are a couple beer tents, much smaller than the ones at Oktoberfest, but they’re still crowded. So Sunday was the last day of the festival, and there were fireworks after sundown. We went to one of the main squares and got a great view of the fireworks going off from the top of the hill right next to the Festung Hohensalzburg.
A view of the St. Rupert’s Festival from the Festung
Now that I’ve pretty much settled into Salzburg and my normal classes have been in session for a couple weeks, I’m getting an idea of what a typical week will look like for me. The number one thing I’m excited about this semester is that fact that I don’t have class on Friday. This will makes traveling on the weekends is so much easier. Compared to my classes at Iowa State, I’ll be spending a lot less time in class each week. I have six 90-minute class periods each week and I’m taking 4 classes. There is still a lot of work to be done outside of class considering the fact that I have to write two 6000 word papers for two of my classes. I’m getting the hang of things in this city, though.
Ultimate Frisbee in Salzburg:
Back in Ames ultimate Frisbee takes up a lot of my time. I figure that since I recovered from my broken leg and started playing again last fall, I didn’t go a single week without practicing, throwing, or working out for ten straight months. I’ve been in Europe for six weeks now, and I’ve played ultimate all but three times. It’s strange going from spending such a great deal of time practicing, throwing, working out, and traveling to tournaments to not even picking up a Frisbee for a whole month.
I started playing again two weeks ago when I went to a practice for the local Salzburg coed team, Schleudertraum. Regarding their team name, Schleudertrauma means whiplash in German. Schleuder means spin and Traum means dream… So I guess their name means something like “spin dream.” I should really ask one of the team members where it came from. That’s the thing with ultimate Frisbee team names, though. They usually only make sense to the team and sometimes that’s not even true. I found their website online and sent a message to see when and where the team practices. Right away their captain, Alex, replied with the time, place, and day.
This week I went to my third practice so far, and I’m really starting to enjoy practices. I’ve never played ultimate with people from so many different countries. Most people on the team are from Austria, but the guy who runs the practices (he’s not the coach or the captain, he just runs practice) played on the Spanish national team! There was one guy from Greece, another from Brazil, one from Poland and three other Americans. And after just three practices, I’m already feeling like a part of their team. That, I guess, is the amazing thing about ultimate: I’m in a completely new country, but the ultimate Frisbee community is ever present.