Thursday, August 11, 2016

Basic Tips (visit/live in Salzburg)

It has been almost three and a half months since I got here and finally I think I am getting used to the life here. I really love it here and I don’t even want to leave. For HPU students thinking about studying in Salzburg and planning to visit Salzburg, today I would like to introduce some tips to have a good time in Salzburg, Austria.

The barn from Sixteen Going on Seventeen

Old Town at night
Where to go
Salzburg’s must-sees are all in the old town (Salzburg Altstadt in German). They have Mozart’s old house, his born house, Mirabell Platz, Salzburg cathedral, and so on. They are all in a walkable distance. I would say one day is more than enough to go around the old town area. If you are staying a bit longer, I recommend you to go to Hellbrunn Palace. They have the little barn used for the sixteen going on seventeen scene of the Sound of Music. It is very peaceful there and you are going to see a lot of greens and flowers. It is not far from the old town either.

What to Eat
Austria has very good beer and sausages!! You can find them every where and you don't even have to choose the store. All the stands and restaurants have delicious sausages. There is a famous restaurant called Cafe Glockenspiel where you can eat traditional Austrian food such as Schnitzel. Personally I am not a big fan of Austrian food because I don’t really like potatoes, and the restaurant is a bit expensive so I actually have never been there. 
You can have Sachertorte, the traditional Austrian chocolate cake at Hotel Sacher, located outside of the old town. I love Wiener Coffee there and it goes perfectly with the cake.
However during the orientation week our coordinators told us it was the most famous place in Salzburg to eat traditional food. Other than that, around the old town, they have a good pizza restaurant called L’Osteria Salzburg. Their pizza is so good, but huge so you may want to share them with your friend. The price is not that bad either.
Since I am from Japan, and if you live in Hawaii for some years you might be in the same situation as me, I miss Asian food so much. They have some good Asian all-you-can-eat style restaurants, and one of them is near the old town. It is called Asia Kitchen and they have lunch and dinner. Lunchtime is a bit cheaper than dinner time and weekdays are cheaper than weekends. That is why I usually go there for lunch on weekdays. They have good Chinese food, some Sushi, and desserts  like ice creams and cakes.

How to Tip
They do tip in Austria, but not like America. I feel like tipping here is more lenient than in the US especially for students. I know a lot of people who never even tip. They are mostly from some other countries but there is not gonna be a problem, and they tip less than in America. Usually 10% or less. Some people just round up and give the change to waitresses. 
“keep the change” = “Passt schon”

Public Transport
The most popular public transport are train and bus. I have a semester card that I can take any train and bus with in Salzburg. It costs about 140 euros and I think there is no point buying one unless you commute to school by train/bus. If you are under 25, I recommend to get a vorteilscard, which costs only 19 Euros, and with that card you can get all the tickets 50% off. 
You can use vorteilscard card sometimes outside of Austria. When I went to Italy thanks to this card I paid only 29 Euros to Venice from Salzburg.
Usually trains come 2-3 minutes late. Trains are very clean and people would ask you if they can sit next to you. In that occasion you can say “Bitte” (please). 

Cheapest Way to Vienna
(Or you could try Czech Railways called České dráhy to find cheaper tickets but you have to book it earlier, and I have never tried)

Cheapest Way to Munich (Germany)
Bayern ticket
With only one Bayern ticket, you can go to Bayern State in Germany and come back to salzburg. You can also take every public transportation with that ticket within a day in the state. Munich, one of the biggest cities in Germany, is in Bayern state too, so you can go there as well. Munich has pretty buildings, shops,and Bayern Munich soccer stadium, if you like soccer. 

night view from the hill in the old town
I have been to different places but as far as I am concerned, Salzburg is relatively a safe country. I have never been in trouble nor gotten stolen anything. When I went for a drink to the town, I always walked home in the middle of the night but I have never felt unsafe. Of course I was with my friends, so as long as you watch yourself and keep your guy friends around you if you walk home at night, you will be okay. I think you already know every place can be dangerous if you are careless, but I don’t think you have to pay extra attention.

Although their first language in Austria is German, Austrian people, especially students, are good at English. Sometimes you might get to talk with people who do not understand English completely at grocery stores and shops. Besides the fact, I don’t think it is a good idea to expect everyone to speak English because leaning your second language is way harder than you think. I don’t really speak German but I learned some words to communicate with local people.
Most of the time you will find someone who can speak English so you can live there even if you don’t speak German at all, but I want you to at least try to speak some easy words in German.

I will post one more blog about more detailed tips for living in Salzburg soon!

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