Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

On Thursday evening I was attacked by a nasty sinus headache and cold.  I don’t know what any of the words are here (which I feel is especially dangerous when dealing with drugs), so I opted to go without.  Bad idea.  My pounding headache kept me up for until like 3am when I realized I had a bottle of whiskey under my bed.  I took enough to reduce the feeling in my face and then actually slept for a few hours.  The wonders of not-so-modern medicine.Friday I was pretty out of it, waking up late.  I continued to fight my cold with willpower and tea, although I did find some basic aspirin later in the day.  I got some work done, went for a nice evening stroll, and was feeling a bit better towards the end of it.

I put my expert cooking skills to the test, using some leftover spaghetti, sauce, and grilling an eggplant to create a hostel masterpiece.

I made enough for two more meals, but the mean hostel people threw it out (maybe because I used their bowls?).  I was really angry.

Saturday I got up early (feeling much better, plus I had the medicine) to cook breakfast at 7.  I walked into the hostel kitchen to some girl listening to her iPod, drinking a Gösser, and dancing by herself.  I chose to ignore her and go about cooking my breakfast.

As you might guess, she came to talk to me.  Turns out she couldn’t sleep so she got up and that was actually her 3rd Gösser.  This raised a lot of questions that a more foolish person would have asked, but I did not.  Anyways, we had an interesting, fairly pleasant conversation for a bit and then she went on a tour with a couple people she (unsurprisingly) forgot she committed to.

Then I took 3 buses on a 2 1/2 hour ride to Hallstatt, a small town in Austria.  They are famous for being an interesting small town with a lot to see around it, including Salt Mines, Ice Caves, overlooks, hiking, and some other stuff (they have a bone chapel too).

It was a beautiful day, and here are a couple views of the town and the lake surrounding it.

All the houses were well-manicured with flowers and stuff too.
The sun is shiny
I couldn’t see anything because of the annoying sun so I just kind of pointed and clicked.

Ok, I had planned to go the Ice Caves and Salt Mines, but there wasn’t any great signs for transportation and it was unclear on how to get there.  I could have taken a cable car up and seen them, but that would have added to the cost and ran me $50 to see Salt Mines I wasn’t really all that interested in anyways.  So instead I just walked around the town.

I took a wrong turn up some stairs and went on an accidental hike halfway up the mountain.  Whoops.  I call it a “hike” instead of a “walk” because there wasn’t a road there, a lot of trees were around, and the ground was uneven.  Plus, it makes me sound outdoorsy.

Later my French friend Remy (he’s been in my hostel all week since he just moved there to work) and I went out for a drink.  We drank Austrian beer at an Irish pub and did a couple Jägerbombs since we’re near Red Bull headquarters.

Remy and his stupid new hat
Remy and his stupid new hat

So on Sundays a lot of things shut down and transportation gets a lot tougher.  I spent basically the entire day on public transportation (you spend a lot of time getting places regardless).  So like 4 buses and an elevator to the Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) and back was how I started.

In the end, I was only able to spend about an hour up here.  Which was honestly fine.  I mean, I’ve seen an Alp before.  And not to sound trite or unappreciative, but when you’ve seen an Alp you’ve pretty much seen all of them.

Hitler probably peed on these rocks after a night of drinking.
Hitler probably peed on these rocks after a night of drinking.

I do wish I could have had the time to hike down one of them, but I’m not that beat up over it.  The views are great and I’m going to be in a lot of photos of Asian tourists.

Picture of a mountain that I was on, like, yesterday
Picture of a mountain that I was on, like, yesterday

And they’ve mostly converted Hitler’s mountain hideaway into a big restaurant on the top of a mountain.  I guess people just come up for the nice view and then to eat an overpriced meal?  I don’t really get that part of it, but it’s a cool little shack.

And this is the actual eagles nest
I’ve seen actual eagles build better nests

So then I had to go back, pick up my luggage, and get to the main train station and figure out how to get to my next destination.  I really failed myself with lack of planning on this one.

It sort of worked out.  I hopped a train to Munich (2 hours) then transferred to a train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (2 more hours) and made it to the hotel 2 minutes after checkout ended.  Unfortunately, that was a strict time, so I had to call them.  Luckily they were very nice about it and I’ve found a new home for the week.

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