When you visit enough foreign cities, they begin to blend in your mind. Who you are starts to exert itself to the forefront. My desire for the touristy stuff diminishes, and I crave “comfort” activities.
Take Salzburg, Austria and Dublin, Ireland, for instance. These are two perfect cities as far as I’m concerned. They evoke similar emotional responses. If I had disposable cash, a few months to spare, and any city to pick, these two destinations pop up rather quickly on my daydream list.
The pub doors in Dublin are open and music pervades the city streets, especially if you are in the historic district and near the Templeton Bar. In the pedestrian district, streets are cobbled and narrow. As you wander around, after every turn and corner you are greeted with the energy of elbow-rubbing, pint-sloshing, people-communing camaraderie. Yet, there is a quietness about Dublin that I love. The city is back dropped by the Wicklow Mountains. Christ Church. The Book of Kells. Oscar Wilde. The gardens. Jameson and Guinness. The river Liffey divides the north and south of Dublin and multiple bridges intersect the city. It is probably some primordial reaction, but the river calms me and I become introspective and at peace. Gray clouds are the norm and there is a moist sheen covering all surfaces. Embrace the gray and be glad you never need sunglasses; if you hate to sweat, this is the place for you. The gray helps you see the Emerald green. It is brilliant, and the filtered light makes Ireland an awesome spot for photography.
If you get a chance to visit, Salzburg, take it! The Salzach River runs through it. The Austrian Alps are behind. What can be more relaxing than sitting outside people watching with a beer in your hand and the Hohensalzburg Castle for a backdrop while listening to Mozart? If you like to shop, the cobblestone pedestrian streets provide hours of shopping. When the tourists get thick, head to the edge of the things, the pubs, the river, and Mozart follows you wherever you go. It is a moist place with lots of green and clouds. In the summer, there is an outdoor concert series and it’s marvelous to hear symphonies play to you as you mull about window shopping.
There’s a game I play when I travel in the states or abroad. Where ever I go, I have to find the Irish pub. Salzburg has four. I went to the Dubliner and felt right at home. The door is a portal from one strange land into another. One minute it’s Deutsch and Mozart and Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. Walk inside and it’s Celtic and the Irish Fiddle and Guinness. What fun! I’m going to Berlin in 2014, and I will be on the lookout for the Irish pub. Do you know of any?