Europe Day 1: Off to Salzburg

Megan and I are off in Europe for a 10-day tour with the Sacramento Youth Symphony Premiere Orchestra. There are 75 of us tromping around the streets of Salzburg!

My time’s a bit messed up because of the 9-hour time difference. It took us about 24 hours just to travel from Davis to here. So our bodies are a bit out of sync. Although, most people were so exhausted from traveling and getting very little sleep that it sounds like a lot of people slept well last night. But there were some of us that went to sleep around 11 pm and woke up at 4am and could sleep!

June 20 – Sunday

We met at the Davis Park and Ride. Actually, most people met in Sacramento and the handful of us Davisites got to meet up an hour later. Then we all rode into Sacramento. Lots of blue shirts – we wear our SYS shirts when we travel. We happened to match the seats too.

One thing about traveling with such a large group – there’s sure a lot of waiting involved!

We waited to get luggage and get off the bus. Then we went into the Lufthansa line and waited to get checked in.

Except there was a slight problem.

If you can’t see, the monitors all say, “Counter closed.” We had to wait a long time for them to show up and check us in. (The picture above also shows Wendy Miller, the leader who has done a fantastic job getting us all organized for the trip!)

Here’s Megan, sporting her new hat. It was nice she had the hat. She was pretty easy to find that way.

Checked in luggage. More waiting until rest of the group could check in. Then to the gate. More waiting for the plane. But I didn’t mind. It was way better to be early with plenty of time than to be late!

We took a 10-hour flight out to Frankfurt. Then… guess what…

Yup. More waiting. They had two people stamping passports to check all of us in (and other people as well). The passport people went through every page in my passport. No idea if that’s standard or not in all countries but he was quite thorough. Fortunately all my pages were just about blank so that was quick.

I know you will totally be shocked to hear that we had to wait again. While we did, I admired Megan’s friend Josephine’s artwork. Josephine is 15 years old and an amazing artist. She likes to draw Japanese anime characters. She does them from her imagination! I couldn’t believe it. That picture below was done with a mechanical pencil.

Here’s a closer shot but it doesn’t do the drawing justice. They were all gorgeous!

I tried to take a shot of everyone to stitch into a panoramic view but since I don’t have my laptop with me, I will have to wait until we get home. There sure was a lot of blue around as we invaded the entire gate waiting area. This photo is only one of three pictures stretching across the gate!

It was funny being in Germany. It felt just like being in America (even American ads were playing on the monitors), except people walked around speaking German! Oh yeah, and the words on the signs were a lot longer…

35 minute flight to Munich where we picked up our baggage. You know you’re in Germany when you see this:

It was interactive. If you stepped on the lit circle on the right, the lights would go on and the sound of a car engine starting would come on.

We had to wait a long time. Two pieces of luggage and an instrument didn’t make it. They ended up somewhere else. Once that got straightened out, it was time to hop into the bus for the two-and-a-half hour bus ride to Salzburg, Austria.

While we drove, our tour guide, Chris, told us interesting tidbits about Salzburg.

My first impression of this place – it’s so green! Especially coming from desert-ish California where everything is dead and brown much of the year. (“Golden, dear, golden,” my husband says.)

It’s been overcast since we arrived. The grass is a beautiful rich green color. Not even our golf courses in California look that nice! And everything here looks like that.

The town is very old-style. Got lots of character. Here’s the street from where our hotel is.

But here’s the back view from my hotel room.

The room is small and simple. Here’s Megan’s bed. Not a fancy place but very clean and nice, and though the bed is firm, it is not uncomfortable. The comforter is so heavy that I overheated while sleeping (probably why I woke up). But there were no other blankets so I had to plunder the lighter duvet cover from the third bed in our room and use that instead. Good thing we don’t have a third roommate or she would’ve gotten really cold in the middle of the night.

For dinner we went to a restaurant with a really cute courtyard. By this time it was Monday evening, about 22 hours after we had left Davis.

A very nice looking place! Too bad we didn’t sit there. (Well, actually it was good. It was getting a bit chilly out.) We went upstairs and had a dinner of meat with a cream sauce and a cake-like dessert with apricots on it. Obviously I am not up on my Austrian cuisine. I don’t know what it was called but it was pretty good. The dessert must be a common one because we also had the same thing for lunch today (Tuesday the 22nd).

After dinner, Chris our tour guide gave us instructions for the evening and next day.

Chris is a part-time tour guide and also part-time actor. He is British and has a wonderful accent. He said things like, “Don’t come down to breakfast in your jim-jams,” and “Bring a snack so you don’t get peckish,” and my favorite, “bits and bobs.” He was a linguistics student so he educates us on English and German and makes us repeat phrases back to him and guess what the English equivalent of the American word is.

Because he speaks languages, he was in the movie Band of Brothers as one of the main German soldiers. Wow, he’s famous! He’s also in TV and theater plays.

After dinner we all went back to our rooms and collapsed in our beds!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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  1. Glen Nielsen - June 22, 2010

    Wow!!! Thanks for the guided tour! This is FABULOUS! Love the pics and all the descriptions … keep ’em coming!

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