Thursday, January 05, 2012

Mozart & Mountains: Part 1 - 5

I love you & I missed you dearly.
Honey, I'm hoooome! In Rome, that is! And I'm so excited to talk about the past two weeks I've had. But before I go into the juicy details of the beginning of my trip, let me tell you how good it feels to be back in the Eternal City. I ran around the whole city and said 'bonjourno' to everyone and of course had lunch at my favourite pizza shop. Then I ventured over to Frigidarium for dessert (for a mix of raspberry, coconut and sour cherry gelato with hot nutella on top, of course). The family is still away on their vacation and won't be back until Saturday, which gives me a few days to do whatever my exhausted little heart desires. They went to the mountains for Christmas, but its the dad's 50th birthday, so they decided to extend their vacation and go to Paris. He loves Paris, and they have an endless cash flow, so why not?
This would've been me last night
if I attempted to update my blog.
By the way, when I say 'exhausted', I really mean it. Travelling takes a lot out of a person, and when I came back to Rome, all I wanted to do was curl up under the covers into my fresh bedsheets and have a 12 hour long snooze fest. But, no... Go-getter that I am decided to do my laundry and unpack first. And then I went to bed. So if you're wondering why I didn't update my blog right away, it wasn't because I didn't miss you all. I did! I've just been super tired, and now here I am, sitting at an internet café, pouring my heart out to you. Its just the Filipinos and myself at home, which is lovely. Last night we had a delicious dinner consisting of fresh bread, grilled vegetables, rice, and a banana souflée for dessert while I told them about my latest adventures.
So... Have you guys missed me, or what?! Have you been checking my site and wondering when I'll finally post something and give you all the fix you've been waiting for? This episode, if you will, will only be about Münich and Salzburg, and tomorrow I promise to write a big post about Vienna. And then, the day after that, I'll tell you all about Prague. I feel that there's too much to talk about for me to squeeze so much information into just one post. Besides - I have a life here in Italy too, you know. While I was away, I jotted down notes and details 
about what I did each day so that I wouldn't forget anything I wanted to tell you guys. Of course now that I have the freedom to type and give my little fingers a workout, I'll explain in full what I did each day. Enjoy!
Day 1 - Wednesday, December 21st:
I got a taxi to the Ciampino airport with a driver who appeared to be the long lost twin brother of Albert Einstein. Which was quite fitting, considering I was on my way to Germany. I've always liked flying, but ever since I had to do everything on my own, airports are no longer my friend. It used to be like this - my sister and I would poke around in the souvenir shops and have fun while my mom organized our documents, us, and even our dad, who has never taken any part in planning for a trip.
I'm old now. It doesn't quite work the same way, and when I got to the airport, I had a teensy tiny little panic attack. I guess it was a little obvious because the poor Italian woman who had to deal with me at the check in asked, "Are you ok, miss?" I just nodded, because I was so nervous that words weren't coming out in any of the languages I've ever studied before. What was wrong with me?! Then she handed over my passport and boarding pass and said,
"Enjoy Germany". Huh. That's it? Why so worried, MichElle? I celebrated this by ordering a small plate of pasta and a tall bottle of cold beer before my flight. A weird combination, even for me, but I wanted something Italian and German. If I had a box of Timbits, I would've felt right at home.
When I got on the plane, I fell in love with this flight attendant whose name tag said "Joao". He looked like a mix between Jim from The Office and my lovely ex boyfriend Devan. If you think I'm being sarcastic about my ex, I'm not. This Devan kid really was a sweetheart. The flight was fine, and when we landed I was very excited to see that Germany was blanketed in snow. And when it was time to collect our luggage, guess whose bag was the first to pop out? Mine! Oh, happy day! After that I was able to go find Magda, and we played 21 questions on the drive home. I asked her a favourite question of mine - "what's your favourite food?" and she responded by saying 
'wuggatubles.' Pronounced like wudge-ah-tub-les. Hmm... We don't have this in Canada or Italy, I thought. It turns out that she actually meant vegetables. I don't know what was more confusing to me - her pronouncing of the word 'vegetables', or the fact that its her favourite food.
Her house is roughly half the size of my old high school with cedar wood interior design and a view of the mountains. My bedroom was a big beautiful art loft with a huge bed and a bright orange blanket. I felt happy and energized just looking at it. I had a window right above my bed where I was able to watch the fresh snowflakes fall.
Day 2 - Thursday, December 22nd:
Salzburg is a really classy little city filled with perfectly preserved sculptures and houses literally built into mountains. Being there made me want to break into song and run around
Mozart's birthplace!
the city singing The Hills Are Alive like Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music. Austria is famous for their Christmas markets, and I got to eat so many tasty Christmas treats. Mini apple cookies, hot cider, and don't even get me started on the fudge... One of my favourite things that I got to do in Salzburg was see the house where Mozart was born. A lot of very famous classical musicians are from Austria, and because I live with crazy rich Italians, they feel its necessary to pour classical music through the house to feel more intelligent, I suppose. So I went to the birthplace of Mozart knowing some ballads, which was pleasant. I got to see the building where chocolate cake was invented, and when I told my mom about this on the phone, she was so jealous that I think she almost hung up on me. Later that night we came home and drank mulled wine, which is hot wine with cinnamon. Her mom has a bunch of travel albums that we leafed through, including ROME!
Side notes:
* Salzburg is German for Salt Castle
* Tell Sarah her last name means fortress
* Tell Kara her last name means wall
Day 3 - Friday, December 23rd:
We went to the Christmas markets again. I had another pretzel. It was a good day.
Day 4 - Saturday, December 24th:
Today we took the dog, Ella, for a walk by the mountains and lake. I think I've definitely become accustomed to the weather in Rome, because I was freezing. I guess I forgot what a real December is supposed to feel like. Magda and I attempted to make a pizza, which was a terrible fail. It was way too thin and the tomato sauce came from a tube, so it was really hopeless from the beginning. But we still ate every bit of it. I really missed the pizza bianca and pizza rosa from Forno's that day.
We drank delicious vanilla alcohol after and watched a really weird version of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. It was hilarious, German, and completely overly sexualised. Everyone opened presents, and I was really surprised because the family gave me some gifts, which was so sweet of them. They gave me money for my train ticket to Vienna, enough Ferrero Rocher's to last me until Easter, and this bottle of cinnamon alcohol that comes from Salzburg in a fancy bottle with a little red bow. Its so cute and special that I can't decide if I should actually drink it, or if I should keep it as a keepsake.
Day 5 - Sunday, December 25th:
I write this in present day, because I was too busy and too drunk to document properly what happened. I, MichElle Pressé, solemnly swear to never again get as drunk as I did on 
I really needed this. Belated Christmas present, anyone?!
Christmas. We drove to Upper Austria to celebrate with the family and it was so much fun. I especially loved Magda's opa (grandfather), and this man really loved me back. He kept telling Magda that he thought I was so sweet, and he reminded me a bit of my own papa at home in Canada who I'm extremely close to. Magda's uncle and his long time girlfriend recently did some travelling through the U.S and also went to Toronto and Niagara Falls, and brought their photo album along which was really exciting for me.
After we all had dinner, we went over to Magda's friends' house who owns a small bar built in. All these Upper Austrians kept pouring into the 'bar' and giving me free drinks. On the one hand, this was great, because I drank so much alcohol without having to pay a thing. But on the other hand... This was very, very bad. Never in my life have I consumed so much free alcohol. Everyone kept hugging me and asking me silly questions in broken English. Well... Almost everyone, aside from these two snobs who kept giving me dirty looks the whole night.
I mentioned it to Magda and she said, "Yeah, I don't think they like me either. Don't worry 
about it." So - I didn't. For the rest of the night they continued to disapprove of me, especially when we went to Lust House, the club we all went to. Apparently Austria has their own version of Jersey Shore who were there that night. I didn't see any Snooki lookalikes, but when I have some free time later I'll google them and see what I can find. Anyway, of all the clubs I've ever been to, Lust House was the best. This isn't good considering it wasn't in a big city and I'm over here living in Rome. I'll have to talk to Alfredo about that.
I felt out of place at first because I didn't know we were going clubbing, and so I just wore a pair of jeans, black ballet flats, and a rumpled pinstriped long sleeve polo while all the other girls were wearing 5 inch heels and painfully tight dresses. I made a joke about my 'fancy' outfit to the guys and they actually thought I was cool because I didn't have to try hard to look good and didn't have to wear something uncomfortable to impress them. I got more free drinks and was pulled up on top of a stage and danced with these lovely blonde people. I got really hot because 1) I was dancing, 2) I was smushed between 2,000 other sweaty people's bodies and 3) I was wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt. A bad combination in a sweaty setting. So, I kicked off my shoes and tied the bottom of my top and tucked it into the top Western style. Those two Austrian girls lost it, and pulled Magda aside and asked her if 'this was normal in Canada'. Magda defended me and told them this was normal all over world. So, while they were sitting miserably in their uncomfortable dresses, I was having the time of my life in a pair of jeans and an unironed collared shirt. 
The next morning I woke up feeling like someone had hit me in the head with a hammer and then drove over my body with a truck. My throat was dryer than the Sahara, my muscles were sore, and my stomach was trying to twist itself up inside my body and trying to escape from one of the worst hangovers I've ever had. This may have been ok if I was laying on my couch in Canada with a bottle of Advil, some ginger ale, and a deep sleep. But here I was in Upper Austria with 3 hours of sleep and a 2 and a half hour train ride to Vienna. At the train station I kept running to the bathroom to throw up. I was kneeling in front of the toilet shaking because I was cold, but hot from the sickness. My ribs hurt so much from heaving my insides out, but finally, I felt good enough to get on the train and head on over to one of the world's most beautiful cities. But you'll hear all about that tomorrow.

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