13th November 2016
I intended this blog as an exhibition of all that is great in Europe. It increasingly feels like a record of Europe’s retreat.
On Sunday, Bulgaria elected an anti-migrant, pro-Russian president prompting the PM’s resignation the following day. At the same time, Moldova elected their own president on a campaign to reverse the rapprochement with the EU and turn back to Moscow.
We’ll continue this journey and see where we end up:
Germany suffered four attacks within seven days at the end of July. I flew in to Frankfurt the night of a shooting in Munich and changed trains there the following morning.
We traveled further south, crossed the border and on to Salzburg. My friend managed to sleep a little but I sat up restless. Once we had found an open café in one of the narrow streets decorated with olde wooden signs hanging from ornate ironwork (announcing Starbucks or McDonald’s in gothic script), we were offered Kaffee, but ordered beer.
The views from atop the city’s precariously steep cliff were worth the climb. (But then I generally find looking out from a height over a new place to be my favourite part of any trip). The city is one of solid but elegant buildings of white stone, boxed in by black cliffs on three sides. The river cuts through two of these steep peaks and carries the town along the edge of its sheerest cliff.
We didn’t climb up to the castle but we did wander through a graveyard replete with angels. In the afternoon it began to rain, heavily and we sheltered in a Bierkeller for an early dinner of Schnitzel and Apfelstrudeln.
The was a music festival that night (and not a Mozart one!), which managed to attract quite a crowd considering the downpour. We sheltered under the terrace of a café to watch some kind of musical play be interrupted by a 8m-high puppet and then headed for a drink.
After scouting out the two Irish bars, we finally found a non-Irish one open past 9 on the Saturday. Afro Café served hipster cocktails (strawberry and basil; orange and rosemary) on a cosy terrace (despite the rain) perfect for people watching.
Now I hadn’t planned to write so much about Salzburg so I’ll end now by noting that the next day we were on a train again, Vienna-bound.
And in cartesian fashion, I think it’s time for a little pause.