Today we got up to another sun kissed Venetian day, but it's the day of our departure to Salzburg where it's forecasted to be wet and cold. I am glad we got those closed boots for Swati the day before. After a quick breakfast at another roadside cafe we took the local train to the mainland station of mestre. From here our ticket said train to a border village called Villach where we would change for Salzburg. We searched the electronic display for our train no. but in vain. 10 min to departure and still our train no. wouldn't come. Anticipating panic to set in anytime we looked around to ask someone for help. Two overly eager, weird men came straight forward and confidently asked us to board one platform. That's when a Desi alarm went off and both of us smelled rat. Leaving Swati behind with the luggage I sprinted to the platform but luckily came across a train Italia official who told us that we had to board a bus from outside the station which would take us to the village of Villach. Cursing those con men we rushed outside the station to catch our bus just in time. It was a double decker and our seats were on the top giving us awesome advantage of the view. The bus roared off onto the amazing highway and as we settled in we realized that the only transport missing in our entire journey was a bus trip, which now had got included.
We passed mostly farm lands and wineries as we were taking the highway except on one occasion where we entered a small town for pick up which had beautiful houses but seemed devoid of any humans. Within 30 min of leaving that beautiful desolated place we got our first glimpse of the Alps! They looked majestic on the horizon as they slowly came into our view partly hidden in clouds with us driving straight into them. Unlike the arid mountain ranges we are used to seeing in India the Alps were a brilliant green playing hide and seek with the clouds. Patches of green meadows dotted the otherwise full cover of coniferous forests. We passed through many tunnels and bridges as I realized they were no ghats, another difference from our systems. 3 hrs after boarding the bus we finally came to our switch over point at the village of Villach, which my GPS (working on offline mode), showed to be in Austria. Excitedly we boarded the train to Salzburg which had all the comforts and amenities of an airplane. As we sipped on local beer and cheese which came from the pantry the scenery around us started to take a magical turn. For the next 2 hrs we were treated to such visual treats that none of my words would do justice to. Mountains after mountain of lush green coniferous vegetation dotted with meadows with cattle's and traditional wooden chalets decorated with multi colored flowers passed by. Even after watching so many Yash Raj films nothing can prepare you for what we were witnessing. The trip is highly recommended and must be in everybody's bucket list. We had our faces glued on the window the whole time, like how a dog sticks out it's head when you take it for a car ride.
We navigated our way to the hostel in a grey overcast Salzburg. The hostel seemed pretty big compared to the one's we were going to encounter in coming days. Other than the reception the ground floor had a common room where people meet and mingle and on the other side was the kitchen which would serve us free breakfast and a very lively bar. We had booked bed's in a dorm of 4. Raj and Sid were to join us here later today from Munich.
By the time we settled into the hostel it was late evening and we decided to check out the locality. As we were walking it soon started drizzling. With temp around 12C we didn't want to get wet so settled into a nearby cafe. It feels very weird in Europe in summer when the cafes ask you to leave because it's their closing time while there is still lots of daylight outside ,only realizing the time when you doubly check your watch. The watch showed 2100 hrs, as it surprised us it surprised our digestive juices as well which began to flow on overdrive. Tired of having bread throughout, Swati was craving for something different, something hot and spicy and thats when we located this Chinese restaurant. My only concern was to explain Chinese looking people for vegetarian food in a German speaking country! Thankfully there was an Indian origin man serving there which sorted our problems. Delighted at having hot streaming soup and schezwan noodles we headed to our hostel. The bar was in full flow and we decided to be a part of the revelry after we had welcomed Raj and Sid and so went up to the dorm to get some rest. The sudden change in weather and walking in the rain had drained us, soon we were lying in our beds fighting sleep when Raj and Sid barged into the room full of energy and vigor. We greeted each other, each excited to tell her story. After around 20 min we settled down and that's when Raj informed us that tomorrow is going to be Sid's birthday! It was 2345 hrs. We kept chattering till 0000 hrs and wished Sid a very happy birthday. The occasion called for hitting the bar but the long wait had Swati and me made sleepy. Raj and Sid who are childhood friends went in search for some merriment while we dozed off.