travel

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Father and Son Connect Across Thirty Years At A Small Austrian Pub


My older brother and I hopped off the train at 4:00 AM in Salzburg after a nonstop adventurous week in Italy.  My 6-foot frame did not fit well in the 5-foot long bed in the sleeping car.  We were tired, hungry, and lost in this foreign country.

Our hostel opened for check-in at noon, so the gracious pub owner next door allowed us to sleep on the hardwood benches of his establishment.  The sun rose and we set out to conquer as much of the city as we could in our 24-hour time window.

After exploring the giant castle rising above the city, eating as much Austrian food as possible, and finally checking into our hostel, we made our way to a place of family legend.

My dad spent one year in Salzburg as a junior in college exactly 30 years before my arrival to the city.  His stories lit the fire that inspired me to study abroad.

After finding out that I would travel to Europe, he commanded that I stopped in Salzburg. Clearly, I didn’t object.

Nearly every night, my father sat in this renowned pub called the Augustiner-Brau and listened intently to the war stories of old Nazi soldiers over a mug of Austrian beer.  He spent his 21st birthday in this place.  My dad ingrained the power of “Auggie’s” into the minds and hearts of my brothers and me by expressing his passion for its cultural and personal significance.

After searching for hours, my brother and I found the small Augustiner-Brau sign hanging above a tiny door.  Not entirely sure if this was the right spot, we ventured through the portal that instantly connected my family on an entirely different level.

My brother and I strolled through the establishment (looking very out-of-place) and ordered some beverages.  We sampled every piece of bread, meat, and cheese that we could get our hands on.  We spoke with the local Austrian families who frequented Auggie’s and shared stories from each of our respective cultures.

Most importantly, we imagined my father.  Exactly 30 years ago, he sat in the same room.  He felt the same sense of adventure that we felt in that very moment.  Every story he told about Auggie’s became crystal clear in our minds.

After hours of the most meaningful conversations that my brother and I had ever had, we walked through the natural stage of the Sound of Music towards our hostel.  My father’s spirit of adventure and unsurpassed love for life sparked inside me.  A few days later, my brother left for America and I flew to Spain to begin my own study abroad adventure, just like my father did 30 years ago.

_______________

Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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