08/05 Salzburg, Austria

05 Aug 1985, Posted by Scott An Chora in Travelogue, No Comments.

08/05 Salzburg, Austria

First words out of Jim mouth were a story about last night’s kiss and he presented it in such a way as if it was supposed to disturb me.  He had the idea I was interested in a particular lady and as the night wore on, that he had won the war.  I explained first that we are not in a competition, second I had no interest in either of the young women or I wouldn’t have retired alone early and third that he was an asshole to even consider it.We took an early morning bus through the countryside to Lake Wolfgang.  Our hometown choir had scheduled a performance alongside that picturesque lake.  Buckets of rain accompanied our bus ride into the countryside.  By the time we reached the concert site the sky had opened up presenting the sun to the wet green grass.  It was a beautiful day.  I could point my camera in any direction and frame what would be considered post card worthy.  We hung around for a while and in our impatience inquired about the concert at a local gift shop.  The teller explained that it was canceled due to the early rain.  We attempted thumbing our way back to Salzburg but not a single car would slow down enough to even see the expression on our faces.  We decided that since we had already checked out of last night’s hostile, most likely our beds were given to somebody else so we decided to head south into Italy instead of trekking back into Salzburg for another night.

Another beautiful sunset, this time with the Dolomites in the foreground.  As we passed through the Alps toward Venice a young gentleman sat down next to me, still dressed in his climbing gear, with his helmet strapped tightly and rope over his shoulder.  I glanced down and noticed that he was still wearing his spikes.  As I stared at his spikes my mind wandered into reminding me that true mountain climbing is still on list of things to do.

With the sun going down and the coming of darkness, it was time for us to find a place to sleep.  After the long day I wasn’t up to sleeping on the road, so I insisted we try our luck at the next stop, Spittol-Millstattersee.  We ended up in front of a local restaurant, matter of fact I think it was the only restaurant.  At least from where we stood it was the only one in sight.  Jim had gone inside to call the local hostel we had earmarked earlier on the train.  I was standing outside with the guitar over my shoulder, when a pair of elderly nuns approached me.  One of the nuns asked if I would please play them a tune.  I tried to explain that I didn’t know how to play nor could I carry a tune.  I explained that I just carried the guitar around for the conversations it brings to me.  They both smiled “You do know how to feel everything” one of nuns said.  I smiled right back and told her that “That might be true that I feel everything but I’m still trying to figure out what it all means”.  Their smiles changed slightly as if they agreed.  At that moment Jim came through the door in a trot.  The hostel had rooms but their curfew begins in five minutes, so we had to get moving.  Luckily we managed to slip past a locked door, claimed ourselves a bed and then got comfortable in the hostel’s kitchen.  There was a young woman sitting across from me with a stack of post cards at least a hundred thick.  I learned that she was from San Marino California and wanted everybody she knew to know she was seeing the world.  A couple from Malo, Norway joined our conversation.  They suggested I head up to visit them that winter and experience firsthand the beauty of a Norwegian winter.  Seeing the northern lights was an attractive option so I pocketed their address.  Eventually I ended up over in the corner by myself adding pages to my journal.  I began thinking about the nun’s words earlier that evening.

I pray every day (unless I forget) for the same three things.  Forgiveness is first on my list.  I’ve done things in the past that I’m ashamed of and wished I had known then what I understand today, so that I could have avoided those obstacles.  Second, I pray for strength to avoid those pit falls in the future and third, I pray for the opportunity to provide support to others in need.  I believe “I am my brother’s keeper”.  I really dislike the fear factors applied to moral issues. For example, heaven being defined as only for the few righteous, leaving the majority of us sinners on the wrong side of a locked door.  Such a perception must lead to the loss of many hopes and dreams and would leave one to wrestle with regrets and failures.  Everybody seemed to be dived between us and them but I believe we are one.  I began thinking about extremes and recalled images from my past.

I remembered a trip to the county fair in Los Angeles.  There was a blind man, oblivious to the crowd that surrounded him bent down on one knee, embracing his dog.  “I love you”, “I love you” he would repeat as he pet his companion’s head.  His words echoed his sincerity and truth.  Later that same day, I witnessed the other extreme from the blind man’s love of his dog.  It was a horror, a silence like death.  There was a well built man, maybe thirty five or so, obviously retarded, walking alongside a chaperon who could not restrain him.  He would strike himself in the head, very hard, repeating it again and again.  Once the crowd noticed, the once cluttered sounds of conversation would transform into a thick silence that surrounded him like a ring.  That sad image still remains with me and added kindling to the fire of questions that resonated in my head.  Then my mind migrated into reminiscing of youth, past relationships, desires and I crawled off to bed to embrace a dream.

Invisible, in the movements of life, unfelt and unknown, she lies trembling, am I alone
In the distance, stands a lonely heart, as I am, so I see
somewhere out there, someone, tonight she waits for me

A smile in passing, in turning two eyes meet, quick glimpse, a forgotten dream, both wishing to complete

The loneliness did she undress, laying down, her loveliness, into each other, beholding this,
lips drew near and clung to a kiss

Deep within the arms, the rose of beauty burns, tonight, tomorrow’s dream
immortal youth returns

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    Usually behind a cup of coffee waiting for the world around me to wake up I entered today’s thoughts about yesterday’s activities into my travel journal. I’m not a writer, so I’ll apologize in advance if I jump around or seem confused. These are just the thoughts of a young man who left his possessions behind and who believes that getting lost is how one finds oneself.

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