In 2002 during my visit to Norway I discovered a Norwegian singer by the name of Thomas Dybdahl. Until this day, I have followed his music and I even purchased an earlier album of his in Oslo because I really love his laidback but ‘sincere’ music. When I went to Europe in 2006, I discovered Spinvis, a one-man band from the Netherlands – it was recommended to me by one of the guys working at the Fame Station, Kalverstraat. His album is on my iPod, to which I used to listen regularly before I left on my trip. This year, my discovery is Odd Norstoga, a Norwegian folk singer with a Telemark accent. His two albums seem to give the soundtrack to my trip …
At the moment, I’m on the way to Salzburg from Vienna, listening to Odd Norstoga singing “Hallo Hallo”. You probably wouldn’t think that he sings in Norsk, because you can be mistaken if he sings with some kind of rough Dutch-Scandinavian accent. Haha. Those who live in the western regions in Norway don’t pronounce the word for I, which is ‘jeg’ as /yay/ but they pronounce it /eg/ almost similar to the Dutch ‘ik’. I know that listening to a Norwegian folk singer in a train across Austria sounds weird, but somehow it fits my mood and fits the easygoing flavour of my trip. My journey this time isn’t as regimented and scheduled as the previous trips. Maybe as I get older, I’m more mellow with my need for schedules. Hahaha.
My last day in Vienna is a flurry of last minute activities. I was awakened up early at 6.30am and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I got a couple of missed calls from Australia, which I returned once I felt human enough. I dilly-dallied a bit on my computer then took a shower and headed downstairs for breakfast. One of the habits that I have picked from my Norwegian travel is my fondness of eggspread on my bread. Yumm yummm.
I then took the underground to Stephansplatz as I wanted to visit Kapuzinerkirche. Kapuzinerkirche has a Royal Crypt (Kaisergruft) which contains the remains of the Habsburg rulers. It wasn’t open when I arrived there so I walked around a bit and saw the sign that the tower for the Domkirche St Stephan was open already. Apparently there are 343 steps up to the top – no lift, no nothing, like the one that I took in Budapest (Apart from watching the impromptu choir, I also climbed up to the top of the church – climbed is incorrect, as they provide a lift up to the top!). I don’t know what possessed me to do it – it was quite a hard slog! It was only 9am but I was pretty sweaty when I reached the top. The ironic thing is that when you reach the top of the stairs, there is no viewing platform, no open air. What awaits you as you’re panting and sweating, is a souvenir store on top of the tower, with three open windows so you can at least take some pictures. Hehe. Climbing down was easier so with my sweaty t-shirt I walked on as far as Albertina to visit the Arts Store nearby. I wanted to buy a print of Paul Klee’s work, if it’s available. They don’t have the print that I want, so I ended up buying 11 Paul Klee postcards that I will frame and hang in my soon-to-be converted spare bedroom into my spare bedroom and gallery. Hehe. I then walked back to Neuer Markt to revisit the Kapuzinerkirche. This time it was open already so I got a good look of the coffins and the elaborate sarcophagi. Something that is a bit bizarre is that apparently, the hearts of the Habsburg rulers are kept in Augustinerkirche that I visited yesterday, their entrails are kept in the catacombs of Stephansdom, and the other remains are stored in Kapuzinerkirche.
It was already past 11am when I finished my visit to Kapuzinerkirche, so I quickly made my way back to the hotel. I had requested a later checkout before I went out. Without hesitation, I locked my luggage and went downstairs to settle the administration before I took the underground from Praterstraße to Stephansplatz and on to Westbahnhof to catch the train from Vienna to Salzburg. I was too late for the 11.40am, so I took the 12.44pm instead. The trip takes about three hours through towns like Amstetten (where Elisabeth Fritzl was imprisoned in her own house by his father for 24 years) and Linz. The view has been pretty charming so far. I’ve passed farmlands and forests. All those greenery is good for the soul!
I should finish this blog entry for now as I’m about to arrive in Salzburg in a short while. Odd Norstoga has accompanied me as I type this blog entry – he’s singing Malene at the moment, a slow song which matches the cloudy sky. The kind of summer afternoon that makes you want to lie down on the grass and do nothing. 🙂