09 Zurich and Basel, Switzerland and Strasbourg, France – Trip #8 – part 1


For my 8th trip I decided to spice up a bit. It’s about time I have some good company and travel a bit further again! So I decided to do a reunion, but in a city that neither of us lived. The idea was to meet up somewhere and head to our destination! Sounds pretty crazy, but this is so easy if you are in Europe!

In the beginning when we started planning, we thought of meeting up in Switzerland. I lived in Geneva few years ago, so I was hoping to visit Switzerland again. My friend happened to start a summer internship in Geneva so a reunion in another Swiss town all sounded quite lovely and easy. YET, of course, unexpected situations like weather disaster occurs. Just few days before our actual reunion, we were horrified to learn that the weather forecast predicted rain, thunderstorm, and wind that day in Lucarno, Lugano, and Ascona, the area in which we hoped to go. We had this amazing plan to do a cruise and enjoy the Lake…and..Suddenly, all of that didn’t sound exciting anymore..BUT, I was not going to not travel. (Did I make that clear!) So we scrambled up an alternative last-minute..and that was STRASBOURG, France!

If this is your first time hearing Strasbourg, there are few things you should note. First, this is a very atypical French city that is located at the German border. And that is exactly what Strasbourg is famous for! Being a French and a German city. Second, it is quite well-known within Europe and for those who travel within Europe but not so much among those outside of Europe. I believe it could be because its harder to get there if one is doing a mass tour in Europe. I was lucky to hear of this amazing city before-head from some local European friends. So I was excited that our changed destination was going to be a city that I was hoping to go anyway!

Nevertheless, considering how many trips I was doing within a day before, even if the train ride to Strasboug was over 13 hours, I was not planning to be satisfied with going to just one city..So! I decided to add some short stops along the way, yes, as usual! And here is what I decided for my 8th trip on July 7th.

Trip 8: Salzburg-Zurich-Basel-Strasbourg (July 7)

Ok, so the original plan seemed reasonable. It was to take an extra hour or so at both Zurich and Basel in Switzerland because those were two cities that I had to get off to change trains anyway. I just made sure the next train connection was available so that we have enough time to enjoy Strasbourg. I’ve also been to both Zurich and Basel before so for me I just wanted to see it again.

But when I got to Vienna’s train station, Westbahnhof, I was two hours early than my original train. (YES, again.) So I decided to be the spontaneous Kang. I asked the ticket office, made sure my connections were good and ran to the first train that was about to leave. Literally when I took a  seat, I saw the train taking off to Salzburg, a city that I didn’t plan. I smiled with glee at my sudden brave-ness again. This was just too much fun.

Hence my 8th trip journey theme became: midnight at Salzburg, sunrise at Zurich, a reunion at Basel, and a good evening at Strasbourg. Within 48 hours I will be traveling from Austria-Switzerland-France and back. 

The thought of that sentence just made me smile so much that the strangers passing by me looked back with curiosity.

Ah and what a view..!

My spontaneous train ride to Salzburg!

I quickly got distracted again as I let myself drink into this beautiful night view. And before I knew it, I felled asleep…

……….

When I woke up, we were there at Salzburg! I’ve already been to Salzburg before (this was the first trip I did when I came to Vienna) so I was simply here to see how the city looked at midnight. I saw some pictures before how the lights on the building looked beautiful so I was curious.

I walked out of the station. I had about 90 minutes to explore. I figured it should be fine since I have been here before. I just started walking and walking. It took me few minutes to realize I was actually walking the wrong direction! (Lesson when you travel alone – trust your guts. I figured I was lost because the streets were so empty! And that was correct!) So I quickly turned around, found the nearest hotel that was open, and asked for the city center. He pointed the opposite direction that I have walked earlier. So I quickly started making ways to the correct direction.

One thing to add at this point. Because I saw how beautiful Salzburg was during the day time before, I was hoping to see a beautiful night view. The lesson I got from this visit was that no matter how beautiful a city is at daylight it could look completely different at night and so would your impressions be! After walking about 25 minutes, I found the city center…which looked like this!

Salzburg at midnight

Cute, but completely dark! I was really surprised. Or maybe I should not have been, for this was midnight. While I did see more people, most were couples or young teens running around the city hollering at one another with glee to celebrate Friday night. Cars were whizzing by with their musics blasting. This was totally unexpected on my end because I don’t think Vienna would be like this ever late at night. But then again, Vienna is a lot bigger than Salzburg and I’m sure the young ones would want to party in one way or another and would feel frustrated if you aren’t able to. So that was fair.

Salzburg on Friday midnight
Midnight and Full moon at Salzburg: the streets were still empty and it was only crowded when I hit the river area.

After walking around for a bit, I started heading back to the train station. This was a good lesson for me. I was happy this was my second impression of Salzburg. If this was my first, I might not have wanted to come back. The visit made me wonder how different other cities might look late at night. OR how important it is to visit the same city more than once. One’s impression can change totally based on when you visit, who you visit with, and under what condition one is visiting! It’s a very simple fact that we often forget when we travel. (It’s probably a good perspective to keep in mind when we meet people too. No matter how right your first impression of someone may be, don’t rely too much on it because it could surprise you in both good and bad ways as you get to know that person.) It was a sweet midnight lesson – don’t rely on your first impressions!

My train was here and now I was ready for my real destinations..!

Continue reading more..at Part 2 where I arrive in Switzerland!

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