It’s been 10 years since I walked the quaint streets of Salzburg during my study abroad program.
The then 19 year old Megan was rather quiet, timid, and only just tapping into her wanderlust to discover new places and travel.
It was my first trip abroad as an adult without my parents. I grew more in those 6 months than I did my entire university career. And little did I know, I’d move abroad 5 years later, call Europe home for life, and marry a European.
In many ways, the Megan today is black and white different from 2012 Megan.
It’s hard not to walk the streets of Salzburg without seeing myself in these places. It might be seeing me and my Salzburg class in a specific restaurant or me walking down a certain cobblestone street.
We ate at so many restaurants as a group, and it was humorous to see the same restaurants (like they never changed) stuck in time.
Growth is imminent.
The 19 year old me was very different.
I wasn’t as confident, bold, and open minded. I remembered the difficulty of shopping at the supermarket, and how foreign that felt to me—how uncomfortable it was to me.
Young Megan also NEVER took the bus, simply because I had to buy a bus ticket and talk to the bus driver. That’s not a problem when Salzburg has less than 200,000 people, and you can easily walk to places within 20 minutes.
In my recent visit to Salzburg, I noticed that I was more confident, more ease getting around, and actually enjoyed talking to the locals. I almost never talked to locals in 2012, and I realized how much I had missed out on during cultural interactions.
Austrians are super nice people. 😂
It was a very reflective and thrilling solo adventure. It reminded me of that SPARK of adventure that I’ve felt disappearing in the last few years. It also rebuilt my confidence as a solo traveler.
Solo travel is thrilling and something that I love.
5 low key joys in Salzburg
You can surely read a hundred travel guides to Salzburg online, so I will simply share my favorite five joys from my recent travels.
I’m a relaxed traveler that enjoys cafe sitting, people watching, and soaking in the city scenes. If that’s you too, then you will like these low key joys.
- Hike the Kapuzinerberg — This green area in Salzburg was always my favorite. How many places have green nature right in the city? It’s the perfect place for a Sunday walk, which is what I did.
- Sitting by the river — Chill with the university students on a sunny afternoon by playing card games and drinking a beer on the banks of the river.
- Cafe sitting — It’s one of my favorite things to do sitting in a cafe, reading a book, and drinking a coffee. The coffee shops have gotten a bit more hipster since 2012, and Ratio Coffee was by far my favorite.
- Coffee & cake — If you’d like to fit in with the locals, having cake and coffee on a Sunday afternoon is the way to go.
- Walk the Salzach — The river that runs through Salzburg has an awesome biking and walking path. On a sunny afternoon, this is a chill experience to see nature and the Alps towering around you. Stop by the MonkeysCafe for a beer or coffee.
Until next time, Salzburg will never lose its charm. As I went in early spring, I think it was the perfect, low key time to enjoy this city.