I noticed an interesting phenomenon as I was traveling through Switzerland, Austria, and Slovakia. Whether voluntarily or not, I began associating certain points of interest with songs as I hopped from place to place. Sometimes a very obviously related song would automatically pop into my head while sometimes the connection came later, as I reflected. Some even become stuck in my head for a while. I noted these songs and the respective landmarks each one is linked to, and I thought I’d share them here.
Song: Johann Strauss II – The Blue Danube
Location: Danube river, Vienna and Bratislava
Whenever I passed by the Danube, whether it was in Vienna or Bratislava, the orchestral masterpiece by Strauss sounded in my head. My dad loved this piece and he would always ask me where in Europe the river is located, so when I actually got to see it, the song immediately began to ring. The gentle flow of the Danube accompanied by the light, fluttering beats of the dancing instruments…with a majestic sunset over the river, seen from the Novy Most in Bratislava – perfection at its best!
Song: O Come O Come Emmanuel
Location: Statue of Jesus on the cross in St. Marx cemetery, Vienna
Out of the impossibly countless hymns that could have been associated with any statue of Jesus, I don’t know why “O Come O Come Emmanuel” triumphed over all the others. The holiness and serenity of the song must have won me over at that moment, especially alone in a cemetery on a cloudy, pale, chilly morning. Perhaps the atmosphere also added a sense of eerieness to it, but Emmanuel will come as promised, so there was peace…
Song: W. A. Mozart – Eine kleine nachtmusik
Location: Grave of Mozart, St. Marx cemetery, Vienna
I went to St. Marx just to see Mozart’s final place of rest. Again, many songs could have played, yet the little tune of “Eine kleine nachtmusik” was the one that appeared over and over. This must be one of the most universally recognized tunes ever.
Song: 蔣大為 – 敢問路在何方 (Dare to Ask Where the Road Leads)
Location: Hiking trails in Hallstatt, Austria
As a kid growing up in China in the 90s, you’d have to know this theme song of the most well-known TV adaptation (1986 version) of “Journey to the West” (西遊記), one of the four greatest novels in classical Chinese literature. This song was perfect for the situation at the time as I was “hiking” without any pre-arranged plans. I was simply following whatever roads that appeared in front of me, eventually climbing higher and higher into the unknown. Most of the time I didn’t know where I was going, which made it all the more exciting. With a title like “Dare to Ask Where the Road Leads”, it doesn’t get much more appropriate than that.
Song: Seal/Angela Aki – Kiss From A Rose
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ateQQc-AgEM / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRkyeIqBhas
Location: Rose Garden, Bern
I actually didn’t go to the garden for the roses, since in January, they wouldn’t be in bloom anyway. Rather, I climbed the hill to the Rose Garden for the spectacular view of Bern’s old town. Yet, as soon as I saw the photos of roses, the song kicked in. I liked the original version, but Angela Aki’s cover is also one of my favourites. This is the second time that I missed roses, the first time being Keukenhof in April 2011. Imagine a garden of roses just like the one with 5000 flowers in The Little Prince…
Song: Eiffel 65 – Blue
Location: Various places in Bratislava
This is the only song that became associated from an after-observation. There was of course the “Blue Church” in Bratislava, but what made it even better was the blue sky that conquered the clouds that day. Blue on blue, beautiful! Then, a friend noticed from my photos that there were a few other “blue” things that I photographed in Bratislava, such as one of the trams and of course, the “Blue” Danube. Amusingly, Bratislava (I did love it) gave me an overall impression of being a melancholic city, with a bit sadness (my chef would say that’s my style). Perhaps that’s why…it was so “blue”?
Song: Robbie Williams – She’s Madonna
Location: McDonald’s in Bratislava
There really isn’t any correlation here. I heard the song for the first time and it promptly became stuck in my head for 3 days in a row. Now I will think of that McDonald’s visit every time I hear this song. Thanks, Bratislava. The things you did to me…