The temporary, the fleeting, and the momentary

Le sigh. I'm back from my two week getaway and already that all too familiar melancholy is setting in. It was a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle that was the past few months...but alas, all good things must come to an end. C'est la vie, n'est pas?

And though we often express disdain for this rather well known fact, isn't that what makes those times so special? The allure of the temporary, the fleeting, and the momentary...the knowing that it will end, when it will end, and setting your expectations accordingly. There is no dancing on the roofs of hope or thinking about the long term...just enjoying the ride for what it is and relishing in the series of extraordinary (and not so extraordinary) moments we encounter along the way.

We say we wish we could be on vacation everyday...that it could all last "forever" but isn't that the very thing that makes life so mundane? If every getaway, every stolen moment lasted forever (the way we often say we wish they would), wouldn't it lose its very appeal? Isn't that exactly when it becomes the permanent, the expected, the routine...and the everyday? Doesn't it then become the very thing that we so desperately and so often want to escape from?

So though I'm sad to have left Europe, I happily return to my home here in Toronto, not with despair that I won't get those moments back (as I felt last year), but with appreciation and gratitude that I was lucky enough to have experienced it all in the first place...

The Journey vs. The Destination

St. Peter's Cemetery

 Today I took a trip to Salzburg, ready to be charmed by this Austrian city. Unfortunately, my expectations weren't met and I was left rather disappointed. I mean, it wasn't horrible, but I wasn't blown away by the place either. I spent a nice afternoon taking in the main tourist spots in the city. I got to see where Mozart lived and indulged in a super delish ice cream sundae at Cafe Tomaselli, a cafe he frequented during his time. I also walked St. Peter's cemetery, which was seen in one of the last scenes of the Sound of Music. Oh and of course I was amazed by the fact that this was an entire city way up on a mountaintop. Pretty cool stuff, but other than that , it was, for lack of a better word, shmeh.

What I did enjoy, however, was the ride en route to Salzburg. Our tour guide brought us to all the different little villages in the Dachstein Salzkammergut area. And let me tell you...the view was absolutely phenomenal! We stopped at the small towns of Traunkirchen and St. Gilgen and I was simply in awe of the grandness of the Alps and the 20 some lakes that could be found in the region. Now I've mentioned this before...I am not, by any means, a nature or outdoor person but damn...when you're right in the midst of all of it, you just can't help but be captivated. There's a certain calm...a certain serenity that just grabs hold of you. I could've spent all day at Traunkirchen, just sitting by the lakeside doing absolutely nothing. So grateful to have experienced and witnessed that even if each of the stops lasted only a short 15 minutes.

At Traunkirchen

So though I didn't quite fall in love with Salzburg, the journey there made the trip more than worth it. As the Austrian empress Sisi once wrote, "A destination is only desirable because a journey lies in between"...and today could not have been a better lived example. After all, isn't it more often than not that the journey proves even greater, even more fulfilling than the destination itself? Isn't it in the journey where the magic lies?

A Boat, A Bus, and a Train

I can't go without blogging about my travels back to Vienna from Venice. With a combination of boat, bus, and train, my journey encompassed all sorts of landscapes. Starting in Venice, I had to ride the Al Vaporetto, the boat, to get to the bus station. It was a lovely short ride along the Grand Canal, giving me my last glimpse of the palaces, the gondolas, and the island. Bittersweet.

The Grand Canal

From there I took the bus to an Austrian city called Villach. Didn't really know what to expect to see from my window...maybe some small Italian towns, but nothing spectacular. More than anything else, I think I was just upset that I was leaving Venice to enter the world of cars  again.

But my frame of mind changed soon after with views of winding roads, acres of vineyards, and would you believe it, the Swiss Alps. I had no idea that I'd even come across those great mountains during this trip! I had totally forgotten that the Italy, Austria, and Switzerland all neighboured each other! And surrounding the mountains were little streams and a river with the cleanest water I've ever seen in my life. I don't know the name of that river but the woman next to me said it's one of Italy's longest...I'll have to research that later. But anyway, there I was sitting on the bus in awe and I couldn't help but think that the people who live there get to see this scenery every single day. Do they realize how beautiful it is? Do they still appreciate its grandness or is it just there...a backdrop simply ignored?

The Alps

But alas, the journey didn't end there...I had to switch on to the train and enjoy four glorious hours of the Austrian landscape. How could I have forgotten that the Sound of Music took place in Austria? With the vast and rolling hills in sight, I pictured Maria twirling around singing, "the hills are aliiiiiveeeee...". So lovely! Seeing the homes there, I imagined again of how life must be like. Crazy to think how much diversity there is in this world... both in lifestyle and in geography.

The Hills of Austria

I really didn't expect that adventure back to Vienna. I just thought I'd sleep or read much of the way but how could I with scenery like that? Who knew the sights I'd behold on a boat, a bus, and a train would be so breathtaking?

The Travel Bug

At around this time last year, I discovered the thrill of travel. For those of you who know me or for those of you who've been long time readers of this blog, you've certainly heard me talk about my kickass trip countless of times already. But for those of you who don't, let me give you a brief run down. Last year, I decided to go study abroad in Central Europe by myself with people I've never even met before in a country I knew almost nothing about. And let me tell you, it was hands down the single greatest, most exciting thing I've ever done! I won't say too much about it now as I've already written about it extensively here...

But anyway, there's been something in the air in the past few weeks that have been so strongly reminiscent of my time in Europe. I don't know...maybe it's just the change of season but there's this unshakeable feeling inside of me as all of these flashbacks from last year come rushing back. Walking the streets of Brno and stumbling upon that gem of a bookstore, sitting in Rudas Bath til 2AM practically high off fatigue, hiding underneath the Brandenburg Gate waiting for the rain to pass, hanging with random dudes with guitars on the streets of Krakow, getting rejected at the hottest club in Berlin (cuz we're classy like that), and just spending almost every night in the bar annexed to our residence (greatest student accomodations, ever).

Yep. I've been hit with the travel bug, my friends. And the only way I can possibly cure it is to get out there and, well, travel. So with that I'm off to Vienna, Austria tonight to embark on a new adventure and catch up with some friends.
It's funny because I actually started this blog to document my travels and adventures but when I got to the Czech Republic last year, I think I only blogged a whole two times. I got so caught up in the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the people that I just totally forgot about it. But this time around, I'll try to stay true to my word and actually write.

Catch you when I touch down in Vienna! Tschau Toronto!