Here I sit, listening to a video I stumbled across while digging into Joe Henderson, who is growing on me more and more every day. This is a clip from the Aurex Jazz Fest ’80 in Japan with Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Randy and Michael Brecker, and Joe Farrell on Homestretch Blues. These are some of my favorite players, and it’s such a pleasant surprise when they just so happen to be together in one place, decorating time in the ways they see fit. Cheers to the invisible groove that sustains these monsters…

Yes, the musical footnotes are a signature. I have my horn now! I traveled to a little place called Floridsdorf, which is the 21st district of Vienna. It took me around 5 hours to get lost, find my way, get my horn and get to class, but it was all worth it. Even though this was still in Vienna, it was so cool to see how different it was in terms of its vibes, suburban/urban areas, and its people. Vienna is an extremely centric country that allows for great access to, well, a lot of beautiful places. I have continued to explore Vienna and all its wonders, but I have also ventured out to other uncharted territories within my reach. I might be eating only cereal for a week, but I will see as much as I possibly can and travel to my heart’s delight! Money returns, time does not. This post will dive into two wonderful little destinations that I have added to my world map.

First stop? Salzburg, Austria.

The city of Salzburg in the background.
The city of Salzburg in the background.

I took a day trip to Salzburg on Sunday, January 26th, with my roommates. Salzburg is German for “Salt Fortress”, which is a name derived from the historic importance of salt mines during the city’s emergence. The historic center of the city was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, which basically means nobody can alter it because of its cultural, political, or social impact and importance. About 10 minutes before we arrived at the station, we were delighted by the amazing view of the snow-capped Eastern Alps. In Vienna, we have our beautifully structured buildings, cathedrals, and museums, but Salzburg has the alps. Winner. These were the very same alps that made a cameo in the classic, The Sound of Music. Yes, that was Salzburg! There were many buses that offer S.O.M sing-a-long tours. The city is also known for its extensive artistry, with amazing artists such as Werner Otto, who I learned about in the Salzburg Museum. He basically served as an ambassador for the arts for his entire life (goals), combining abstract landscapes and musical notation in his artworks. Salzburg was also the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which is emphasized all around the city with little souvenir shops, a museum in the house he was born in, as well as commemorating statues. The city is distributed into two main sections, the Altstadt (Old City) and the Neustadt (New City). We walked around and explored the wonders both sides had to offer, but a particularly cool moment was the visit to the Hohenasalzburg Palace, which is one of the largest fortresses in Europe dating back to the 11th century! I also visited Haus der Natur, which is Salzburg’s science and technology museum, which brought me way back to my childhood. We finished off the day by sitting next to the Salzach river, watching the night lights reflect while we waited for our train…

Second stop? Copenhagen, Denmark.

Oh, don't mind me, just standing in Copenhagen, Denmark!
Oh, don’t mind me, just standing in Copenhagen, Denmark!

Copenhagen was a little weekend (January 31st – February 2nd) trip idea that was whipped up by zooming out on the map of Central Europe and putting our fingers down somewhere. The hype was too real, and we made our travel arrangements and headed out on Friday the 31st. We were welcomed with a cold Danish wind and a whole different society right in front of us. The primary spoken language in Denmark is, of course, Danish. However, the Friday night we arrived, I was mesmerized at how many people spoke English and how well they spoke it. After doing some googling, I found that approximately 86% of Danes learn English as a second language in school, and I found proof of this everywhere. I was not surprised at the number of people, both domestic and international, that inhabited the city. The smells and sounds were similar to those of Vienna, but everything seemed a bit quieter and warmer. The international food markets were present as we indulged ourselves in some Durum and Kebab, as well as in the nightlife, which seemed to never end. The next day, we woke up bright and early to meet up some friends of my roommates who took us to see all the important and memorable places. We saw the Little Mermaid statue, which is a statue by Edvard Eriksen unveiled in 1913, which represents a mermaid becoming human. Hip. We walked around and explored Strøget, which is a famed pedestrian shopping street, as well as walked around its historic district. Another interesting stop was our visit to Freetown Christiana, which is an anarchist commune with a drug-friendly spirit and very artistic in its essence. The Frederik Church, The Round Tower, Tivoli Gardens, and The King’s Garden were some of our many stops on a busy day of exploring. We were able to get into the Salzburg Design Museum for free and we got a chance to explore special Night Club design exhibits and a Danish chair exhibit, (students or young adults, which is younger than 25). Copenhagen is known for its cycling-friendly society, and it was cool to observe the bike lanes that take preference over cars throughout the entire city. The most amazing thing for me, despite all the wonders, was Nyhavn, which is a canal and an entertainment district…København is a MUST.

This was honestly just the tip of the iceberg folks. I have a little note on my phone and in my travel journal labeled Euro-Trips. I recently visited Lecco, Italy – check instagram for those shots @michaeljpmusic. I have plans to hit Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, and MAYBE Switzerland. Switzerland is really expensive guys. I have this feeling that I am obligated to travel now because none of the places where I reside back home are very close to Europe, and vice versa! I think I have sparked an interest to continue exploring and traveling anywhere and everywhere, embodying the spirit of our human nomadic selves. The hard part isn’t necessarily getting there – the hard part is always coming back.

If you enjoy this blog, please sign up for the email list to get notified when I post another one! You can find me on Instagram @michaeljpmusic for some pictures and make sure to follow @friedcenterhopecollege and @hopeoffcampus. I am one of 14 bloggers currently abroad, so be sure to check out their experiences across the globe.

Published by Michael Pineda

Class of 2021 Business, Jazz Studies Co-Director of Hope College Concert Series

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